4 Best Grass Types for Augusta

Downtown Augusta, Georgia as seen across the Savannah River, on the Fifth Street Bridge

Is your Augusta lawn turning brown in summer when the neighbors’ lawns are thick and green? You might be growing the wrong kind of grass for your climate. 

Warm-season grasses make the best lawns here in Augusta. They prefer the southern climate, which has long summers and mild winters. These grasses green up in spring, grow most actively in summer, and enter winter dormancy in late autumn. 

Cool-season grasses grow well up North, with short summers and frigid winters. They actively grow in spring and fall and enter dormancy in summer. Many homeowners will overseed their warm-season lawns with cool-season grass to achieve color in late autumn and early spring.

The following best grass types for Augusta are all warm-season grasses. 

  • Bermudagrass
  • Zoysiagrass
  • Centipedegrass
  • St. Augustinegrass

1. Bermudagrass

Bermudagrass is a popular warm-season grass covering Georgia yards, golf courses, sports fields, and other high-traffic areas. 

The grass spreads by rhizomes (underground stems) and stolons (aboveground stems), forming a dense lawn that crowds out weeds and heals quickly after heavy foot traffic. On the other hand, its fast-growing habit can prove a nuisance along walkways or flower bed edges where the grass will creep in and become weedy. 

Bermudagrass also tolerates heat, drought, a wide range of soil pH, and salty water. But be prepared to care for this high-maintenance lawn if you wish to enjoy its benefits. 

  • Classification: Warm-season grass
  • Spreads by: Stolons and rhizomes
  • Shade tolerance: Low
  • Drought tolerance: High
  • Foot traffic tolerance: High
  • Maintenance: High
  • Recommended mowing height: 1.5-2.5 inches

2. Zoysiagrass

Zoysiagrass is another resilient warm-season turf for Augusta lawns. Its rhizomes and stolons enable fast healing after heavy foot traffic. It also tolerates light shade and short periods of drought. 

Zoysiagrass cultivars are among the most cold-tolerant of the warm-season grasses. A zoysiagrass lawn is among the last warm-season grasses to turn brown in fall and the first to green up in spring. 

This grass is a slow grower, and many homeowners prefer to grow it from plugs or sod. Once established, it provides a thick, dense lawn that’s good at keeping the weeds at bay. 

  • Classification: Warm-season grass
  • Spreads by: Stolons and rhizomes
  • Shade tolerance: Moderate
  • Drought tolerance: Moderate to high
  • Foot traffic tolerance: High
  • Maintenance needs: Low to moderate
  • Recommended mowing height: 1-2 inches

3. Centipedegrass

Are you looking for low-maintenance grass? As long as you don’t mind its low traffic tolerance, then centipedegrass might be the grass for you. It’s well adapted to the sandy, acidic soils of the Southeastern United States and tolerates infertile soils. 

Similar to Zoysiagrass, centipedegrass is a slow-growing turf that can take years to establish when growing from seed. For the best success with your centipedegrass lawn, grow it from sod or plugs. 

Centipedegrass lawns are yellow-green. It might be tempting to apply nitrogen fertilizer to encourage a darker green, but over-fertilization usually increases the grass’s maintenance, reduces its cold tolerance, and encourages thatch

If you want to enjoy winter green, centipedegrass might not be the best choice. It doesn’t tolerate being overseeded for winter color and is not very cold tolerant. 

Centipedegrass is fairly drought tolerant, but you’ll need to be vigilant with your watering, given its shallow root system. 

  • Classification: Warm-season grass
  • Spreads by: Stolons
  • Shade tolerance: Moderate
  • Drought tolerance: Moderate
  • Foot traffic tolerance: Low
  • Maintenance needs: Low
  • Recommended mowing height: 1-2 inches

4. St. Augustinegrass

St. Augustinegrass is a coarse-textured turf with thick, broad leaves. It creates a dense, cushioned lawn from sod or plugs. You won’t find St. Augustine grass seed at your local garden store –– it doesn’t produce enough viable seeds for commercialization. 

The grass has a good salt tolerance and tolerates shade better than most warm-season turfgrasses. It thrives in various well-drained soil types and can tolerate extreme heat. On the other hand, it’s the least cold-tolerant of the warm-season grasses, which means it’s the last to green up in spring. 

Keep in mind that St. Augustine grass has low foot-traffic tolerance. If your family loves outdoor activities, you might prefer Zoysiagrass or bermudagrass. 

  • Classification: Warm-season grass
  • Spreads by: Stolons
  • Shade tolerance: Moderate
  • Drought tolerance: Moderate 
  • Foot traffic tolerance: Low 
  • Maintenance needs: High
  • Recommended mowing height: 2.5-3 inches

Selecting the best grass for your Augusta lawn

Taking cool-season grasses out of the running for your Augusta lawn is an easy way to narrow your choices. The next step is to consider how the above warm-season grasses meet your specific needs. 

Asking yourself the following questions can you help you get closer to finding the best grass for your lawn: 

  • Do you want to enjoy a green lawn in late fall and early spring? 
    • Thanks to its excellent cold tolerance, Zoysiagrass will remain green longer than most warm-season grasses. Avoid centipedegrass, which has a low cold tolerance and doesn’t tolerate overseeding with cool-season grass.
  • Do you want to use your lawn for outdoor activities?
    • Grow a grass with a high foot-traffic tolerance, such as Zoysiagrass or bermudagrass. 
  • Do you have the time and energy for a high-maintenance lawn?
    • If you prefer a low-maintenance turf, consider centipedegrass.
  • Do you want a drought-tolerant lawn?
    • Bermudagrass and Zoysiagrass tolerate drought, bermudagrass more so.
  • Does your lawn have shady areas?
    • You may want to avoid bermudagrass, as it grows very poorly in the shade.

Eager for a new lawn but don’t have time to install sod? Want to enjoy a bermudagrass lawn without the maintenance? Hire an Augusta lawn care professional to maintain or establish your new grass. Mowing, seeding, sodding –– a local lawn care expert has got you covered. 

Main Photo Credit: c_live_lee | Flickr | public domain

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