ASK A QUICK TURF QUESTION, BUT DON’T EXPECT A QUICK ANSWER

kidsA local magazine writer in Sarasota emailed me last week to say she had a quick question: “I’m trying to find which are the five most common types of grass planted for landscaping. Which of these five would be great for houses with a few kids (that would end up getting a lot of foot traffic) or are better suitable for coastal areas?”

I wished I could have given her a cut-and-dried answer, but there’s no such thing in the landscape business (unless you’re asking about herbs). But here’s my reply:

There’s no one perfect grass when it comes to choosing what’s best. It all depends on a host of variables including watering, shade rotation/tolerance, traffic conditions, thatch and soil conditions. That said, my responses follow.

Which of these five would be great for houses with a few kids, and receive a lot of foot traffic? If the kids are smaller, then I’d recommend Zoysia. It’s a ‘softer’ surface for kids to roll around and play on, and is managed at two inches. If the kids are middle-schoolers or older, then I’d go with the coarser St. Augustine. It’s managed well at four inches and regenerates growth quicker, making it a superior, damage-resistant choice compared to other grasses. If the turf is going to be used for primarily athletics (baseball, football, kickball, etc.), then Bermuda grass would be your best choice due to its ability to regenerate quickly and take extensive amounts of wear and tear

Which are the five most planted types of grass for landscaping? St.Augustine, Zoysia, Bermuda, Bahia and Paspalum.

What turf is the best suited for coastal areas? If you go by what’s most salt-tolerant, than the preferred grass would be Paspalum. Although this holds up well to salty conditions, if damage occurs due to insects or fungus, regeneration is the slowest of all types of turf (which explains why it’s seldom used). Another choice would be Bermuda grass, which does fairly well in these conditions since it’s a native grass (weed) to Florida.

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