4 Best Grass Types for Columbia

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skyline of Governor's Hill in Columbia, South Carolina

Dreaming of a lush, green lawn for your Columbia home? Make sure you’re growing the right type of grass to suit your home and your lifestyle. 

Here are the four best grass types for Columbia homeowners: 

  • Bermudagrass
  • Zoysiagrass
  • Centipedegrass 
  • Tall fescue

While both cool- and warm-season grass types can thrive in South Carolina, warm-season grasses tend to fare better in the central region of the state. Read on to learn more about which grasses are best for your home in the state capital.

1. Bermudagrass

Bermudagrass is a great all-around choice for southern yards. It is drought-resistant, heat tolerant and extremely durable — no wonder it is one of the top grass types in Columbia. Bermudagrass is a great option for busy homeowners, especially those with pets or kids. 

Bermudagrass will make your yard look lovely, in colors ranging from blue-green to dark green. Drought will lead to dormancy, but it will quickly revive once watered. 

  • Classification: Warm-season grass 
  • Spreads by: Stolons and rhizomes
  • Shade tolerance: Low; prefers full sun
  • Drought tolerance: High
  • Foot traffic tolerance: High; can be a bit fragile in cold weather 
  • Maintenance needs: High; follow a monthly fertilization schedule during the summer; hybrids tend to be higher-maintenance
  • Mowing height: Mow weekly between ¾ – 1½  inches
  • Potential for disease: Low; few pest problems; weeds may invade during the winter
  • Soil pH: 5.8-7.0

Other Notes: Bermudagrass and its hybrids won’t produce allergenic pollen. It grows quickly, so watch out for thatch buildup. It can be invasive to gardens.

2. Zoysiagrass

Have any budding athletes in your household? Zoysiagrass is an extremely dense, hardy grass type. It stands up to high levels of activity from rambunctious kids and pets. Its texture ranges from fine to medium, and colors range from light to medium green. 

While Zoysiagrass is a strong, reliable grass type, it does require a higher amount of maintenance than other warm-season turfgrasses. If you’re a busy homeowner, you can get a hand managing your Zoysiagrass from a local lawn care professional

  • Classification: Warm-season grass
  • Spreads by: Rhizomes and stolons
  • Shade tolerance: Moderate; prefers full sun and will thin in large areas of shade
  • Drought tolerance: High
  • Foot Traffic tolerance: High
  • Maintenance needs: High; needs to be dethatched and aerated more frequently than other grass types
  • Mowing height: Mow weekly between ¾ – 2 inches 
  • Potential for disease: High; vulnerable to insects and to large patch disease 
  • Soil pH: 5.8-7.0

Other Notes: Zoysiagrass is resistant to weeds and should be aerated every year or two to get rid of thatch buildup. 

3. Centipedegrass

If you’ve got a busy schedule, you might be interested in a low-maintenance grass type such as centipedegrass. It’s a warm-season grass that requires less frequent watering. However, it is a bit more sensitive to the cold compared to other warm-season grasses like Zoysia and bermuda. 

Centipedegrass is light green in color and coarse in texture. If it’s deficient in iron it will turn light yellow. Centipedegrass is not tolerant of high levels of foot traffic and is recommended for busy homeowners who don’t have a lot of activity in their yards. 

  • Classification: Warm-season grass
  • Spreads by: Stolons 
  • Shade tolerance: Moderate; prefers full sun
  • Drought tolerance: High; recovers quickly from drought; overwatering can cause weeds
  • Foot traffic tolerance: Low
  • Maintenance needs: Low; avoid overfertilizing
  • Mowing height: Mow weekly or every other week between 1½ – 2 inches
  • Potential for disease: Moderate; nematodes can become an issue
  • Soil pH: 5.0-6.0

Other Notes: Does not create as much thatch as other warm-season grass types.

4. Tall fescue

While tall fescue is a cool-season grass type, it can still thrive in Columbia’s climate. Tall fescue is a great option for homeowners in South Carolina because it has a better heat tolerance than other cool-season grasses, and a better cold tolerance than most warm-season grass types. If you have a shaded yard or live at a higher elevation, tall fescue may be your match. 

Tall fescue is drought-tolerant and durable, with low mowing, watering, and fertilization. 

While tall fescue can survive a drought, it still requires more water than the warm-season grasses listed above. Tall fescue ranges in color from medium to dark green and is coarse in texture. 

  • Classification: Cool-season grass
  • Spreads by: Bunch-type
  • Shade tolerance: High
  • Drought tolerance: Moderate
  • Foot traffic tolerance: Moderate to high
  • Maintenance needs: Low; can grow in low-nutrient soil
  • Mowing height: Mow weekly from 2½ – 3½ inches
  • Potential for disease: Low; high tolerance against disease and pests
  • Soil pH: 5.5-7.0

Other Notes: Thatch is rarely an issue with tall fescue. Stays green through the summer.

Picking the best grass type for your Columbia home

You have a lot to keep in mind when deciding which grass type is best for your backyard. Bermudagrass, Zoysiagrass, centipedegrass, and tall fescue can all be great choices for your home in Columbia. Use the following questions to help determine which best suits your home and lifestyle:

  • How active is your household?
    • Zoysiagrass can handle high levels of outdoor activity, while centipedegrass cannot. 
  • Are you limiting your water usage? 
    • Bermudagrass and Zoysiagrass require less frequent watering than other grass types.
  • How much time are you willing to spend on yard chores? 
    • If you’re looking to reduce time spent on yard work, look into planting centipedegrass or tall fescue.
  • How shady is your lawn?
    • Tall fescue would best fit a shaded lawn, while Bermudagrass would suit a yard that gets a lot of direct sunlight.

Want a hand with your lawn chores? There are plenty of local experts waiting to help. Contact a Columbia lawn care professional to give you a hand with all of your landscape maintenance needs.

Main Photo Credit: Akhenaton06 | Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 3.0

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