What Type of Grass Do I have and How do I Take Care of it?
We love talking to customers about their yards. Many people ask us which type of grass they even have and how they can get their grass to green up and look healthier.
There are different warm and cool weather grasses common in the Metro Atlanta area, throughout the great state of Georgia, and across the South. There are a few different common and popular warm weather grasses you are most likely to have in your yard and each requires different types of care depended on the grass and how you want it to look.
Sometimes, it can be confusing and tricky, but we’re here to help.
Warm Season Grasses
Bermuda Grass – This turf type grass is the most popular in the Metro Atlanta Area. It has a finer blade than most varieties of zoysia. Like all warm season grasses, it goes dormant in the winter and generally begins to green up around the beginning of April in the Georgia latitudes. All warm season grasses do well in the dry months and are very heat tolerant.
Zoysia – This is the second most popular grass found in yards and common areas around the Metro Area. With Bermuda grass, these two types make up 90 – 95% of the grasses we see. Zoysia does well in sunny areas with low, premium cuts of a 1/2 inch and with a good fertilizer can get a head start on greening up.
Centipede – Seen less often in the Atlanta Metro Area and north, this type of grass is more common in southern Georgia. This grass should only be watered if you see wilting or a greyish color seeping into the green. This grass requires less nitrogen than other varieties. It has minimal upkeep compared to other varieties. Above two inches, this grass starts to thatch and becomes more difficult to mow.
Cool Season Grasses
Fescues – When we talk about cool season grasses, that will be your fescues. These do well with shade as they are very sensitive to heat and drought conditions. These grasses stay green year-round without the dormant phase of warm season grasses, but they can struggle in the hot summer months and require consistent irrigation to keep from simply dying out.
Reel Mowers vs. Rotary Mowers
You might be surprised how heated the discussions can become on which type of mower is best. This is another debate we’d love to help you settle for yourself. The short answer is that it depends on what you want and what best serves the conditions of your yard and the type of grass you have.
Reel mowers cut with an up and over motion. They can be powered or pushed by an individual. The reel snips each blade of grass like a pair of scissors. It will give a much closer premium cut and can achieve a golf course look and consistency. Most Reel Mowers have fine tune height adjustments where as rotary mowers are larger jumps between heights. Reel mowers can be more expensive to purchase and to maintain, but the results are possibly the best achieved. Typically, if you're using a reel mower, you're going to cut multiple times a week. These mowers struggle if the grass is tall. Once the yard is under control, these mowers do a fine job maintaining that close cut.
Rotary mowers often have a single spinning blade that cuts grass laterally. These mowers cut all the blades of grass at once in a chopping or tearing motion. It creates a higher cut, but these mowers can better handle grass when it has become a little unruly.
Going to some specific examples, Emerald Zoysia in a sunny front yard can look really great when cut by a reel mower to that 1/2 inch length for a golf course quality look. If you had a Zeon Zoysia in a backyard with a lot of shade, then it might be healthy to keep the grass a little longer with a rotary mower.
Warm season grasses struggle a little in the shade and will develop dead spots if cut too close under those conditions.
It’s about Your Lawn
The most important thing is to do what is ideal for your lawn and your preferences. The best way to figure that out is to have someone who knows to take a look at your specific lawn and needs. As we mentioned earlier, the friendly experts at Howard Brothers love talking lawns and love helping make your lawn look great.
Please, send us pictures or video of your yard with any questions we can help you answer. Or better yet, bring your pictures and/or videos into one of our Howard Brothers locations so one of our folks can help you in person.