4 Best Grass Types for Baton Rouge

Aerial view of downtown Baton Rouge, LA alongside the Mississippi River

Take your Louisiana lawn from house cat to tiger with our picks for the best grass types for Baton Rouge. With these tips, your yard will be the perfect spot to display those famous pink flamingos from Spanish Town. 

Sitting in USDA Hardiness Zone 9 with hot summers and mild winters, you’ll need turf that can take the heat.

Our top choices for turfgrass in Baton Rouge are:

  1. St. Augustinegrass
  2. Zoysiagrass
  3. Centipedegrass
  4. Bermudagrass
St. Augustinegrass
St. Augustinegrass
Michelle Selzer | Lawn Love

1. St. Augustinegrass

This warm-season grass has a medium to dark green color, wide blades, and a coarse texture. It’s a thick, fast-growing grass that thrives along the Southeastern U.S. coastline. It’s a team player: It tolerates nearly all soil types as well as shade, heat, and salt. 

To keep your St. Augustinegrass happy during the colder months, raise the mowing height 0.5 inch in the fall. This will allow the grass to accumulate more energy reserves. You also can fertilize in late fall with 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet.

  • Classification: Warm-season
  • Spreads by: Above-ground stolons
  • Shade tolerance: Moderate
  • Drought tolerance: Moderate
  • Foot traffic tolerance: Moderate
  • Maintenance needs: Moderate to high
  • Mowing height: 2.5-3 inches for sunny spots; 3.0-3.5 inches in shade
  • Potential for disease: Moderate; chinch bugs are a common problem. Preventative application of fungicide can help curb brown patch and gray leaf spot.
  • Soil pH: 5.0-8.5

Other notes: Regular dethatching will help control pests

Grass Plug Options:
Seed Ranch St Augustine Seville Grass Plugs (2 Trays)
Seed Ranch St Augustine Floratam Grass Plugs (2 Trays)

Zoysiagrass
Zoysiagrass
Forest and Kim Starr | Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

2. Zoysiagrass

Zoysiagrass is an attractive, dense turf that comes in fine and coarse-bladed varieties. It takes a while for this grass to establish but once it does, the thick growth prevents weeds from taking root. Zoysiagrass is great for families that have lots of paws and feet running around the backyard because it can handle a lot of foot traffic. It’s also versatile and can thrive in a variety of soil types.

To prevent diseases like large patch and dollar spot, proper water management is key. Grass prefers deep but infrequent waterings, and during the growing season needs 1-1.5 inches of water per week. Zoysia can accumulate thick thatch buildup that needs core aeration every one or two years. This will improve air circulation between leaf blades.

  • Classification: Warm-season grass
  • Spreads by: Stolons and rhizomes
  • Shade tolerance: Low to moderate
  • Drought tolerance: Moderate to high
  • Foot traffic tolerance: High
  • Maintenance needs: Moderate
  • Mowing height: 1-2.5 inches
  • Potential for disease: Low
  • Soil pH: 6-6.5

Other notes: Because of its tough leaf blades, a reel mower (as opposed to a rotary mower) will give the best results. Regardless of mower type, the blades should be sharpened about once a month. 

Grass Plug and Seed Options:
Zoysia Plugs (50 Large Grass Plugs)
Zoysia Plugs (50 Full & Lush Grass Plugs)
Zoysia Plugs (100 Plugs)
– Zoysia Emerald Grass Seeds (1/8 lb. of seeds)
Zenith Zenith Grass Seeds (1/8 lb. of seeds)

centipedegrass
Centipedegrass
Pxhere

3. Centipedegrass

Centipedegrass is a medium textured, slow-growing turfgrass. With proper care, it can develop a dense turf free of weeds. This is a great choice for homeowners who want a low-maintenance yard. It can grow in infertile soil and has few pest and disease issues.

Centipedegrass doesn’t require much fertilizer; 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet is usually more than enough. If you want to avoid over-fertilization problems, break up your fertilization into four applications throughout the year. 

  • Classification: Warm-season grass
  • Spreads by: Stolons
  • Shade tolerance: Moderate
  • Drought tolerance: Low to moderate
  • Foot traffic tolerance: Low
  • Maintenance needs: Low; over fertilizing can hurt it
  • Mowing height: 1.5-2 inches
  • Potential for disease: Low
  • Soil pH: 4.5-6.0

Other notes: The preferred pH is lower than for other types of grasses. If the pH is too high, the grass can be sensitive to iron deficiencies (you’ll notice the leaf blades turning light yellow). In the event of iron deficiency, apply 1 tablespoon per 3 gallons of water to cover 1,000 square feet of grass.

Grass Seed Options:
Gulf Kist Coated Centipedegrass Seeds (1 lb.)
Scotts EZ Seed Patch and Repair Centipedegrass (3.75 lbs.)
TifBlair Centipedegrass (5-lb. bag)
– Pennington Centipedegrass and Mulch (5-lb. bag)

Well Maintained Bermudagrass
Bermudagrass
Gilba Solutions Pty Ltd | Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 4.0

4. Bermudagrass

Bermudagrass sports a gray-green color. Its blades have a rough edge and purple stems that provide a thick cover that will withstand lots of traffic. If you’re the house everyone comes to for barbecues, this grass is for you.

Bermudagrass is adapted to most soils in the South and will tolerate drought and salt. It’s quick to establish and can help prevent erosion on your property. Its aggressive growth is a double edged sword, though; it can compete with weeds, but it also can invade your flower beds. 

  • Classification: Warm-season grass
  • Spreads by: Rhizomes and stolons
  • Shade tolerance: Low
  • Drought tolerance: High
  • Foot traffic tolerance: High
  • Maintenance needs: Moderate; needs weekly or bi-weekly mowing as well as fertilization during the growing season
  • Mowing height: 1-1.5 inches
  • Potential for disease: Moderate
  • Soil pH: 5.8-7.0

Other notes: Use a power rake or regular rake to remove excess thatch.

Grass Seed Options:
Pennington Bermudagrass Bare Spot (5 lb. bag)
– Pennington Smart Seed Bermudagrass Mix (8.75-lb. bag)
Scotts Turf Builder Bermudagrass (10-lb. bag)
Hancock Seed Co. Bermudagrass (50-lb. bag)

What to consider when choosing your Baton Rouge lawn

All of these warm-season grasses can thrive in your Baton Rouge backyard, but some are better suited to your particular lifestyle and property.

  • Are there big trees in your backyard?
    • St. Augustine grass is the most shade-tolerant type.
  • Do you prefer a low-maintenance grass?
    • Centipedegrass doesn’t require much fertilizer or frequent mowing. 
  • Is your yard a high-traffic area?
    • Bermudagrass will bounce back from foot traffic.
  • Are you looking for a dense turf you won’t have to weed?
    • Zoysiagrass can produce a thick ground cover. 

Caring for your lawn year-round

Because of Louisiana’s humid subtropical climate, disease poses a threat to your yard’s health. Dethatching and balanced application of fertilizer will help defend your grass against disease. A soil test can help you determine how much nitrogen is needed to avoid overfertilization. 

A good watering schedule helps too. Always water as early in the morning as possible (before 10 a.m.), and pay attention to rainfall to prevent over watering. With proper care, your yard will be as green as the Louisiana State Capitol lawn. 

If your to-do list is already full, contact a Lawn Love lawn care pro in the Baton Rouge area. He or she will mow, fertilize and maintain your lush lawn. 

Main Photo Credit: Downtown Baton Rouge | Spatms | Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 4.0

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Rachel Abrams

Born and raised in Gainesville, Florida, Rachel Abrams studied creative writing at the University of Virginia. She enjoys volunteering at her neighborhood community garden and growing herbs in her New York City apartment.