Which Grass works best?

Archer/Bronson, FL(Zone 8b)

I have spent so many years in S Florida, I have come to believe St Augustine sod was the only way to go with grass. You cannot buy this stuff from seed, but sod or plugs only.

It's not the softess or neatest grass, but it takes a lot of neglect. It will come back after a very dry spell with only minimal promise of water. When it's thick and healthy, fireants do not dare to set up housekeeping.

Now YOU know everything I know about grass. There is no grass on my property in Levy County, zone 9. Some of the property I'm keeping tall pines on it, but have cleared an area from 1 to 2 acres for the house, gardens and lawn.

What kind of grass grows best in this area? Remember, lots of sand with a limerock base. One of our very good friends here at Dave's works at a seed company and has offered me some seeds to start.


Thumbnail by MollyMc
Fort Lauderdale, FL(Zone 10b)

Molly, I would FUHGEDDABOUTIT and go with mulch, except for the smallest possible patch in your front yard. Why create more trouble for yourself. With minimal grass you can devote more time to a substantial garden. The kind of garden you have always wanted at your own "place".


South Florida, FL(Zone 10b)

Molly, I agree with Art. I'm not at all for grass. Mulch is much better solution. You'll have plenty of pine needles that are really good for acidifying the soil, but most importantly they are FREE.
If you want to have a grassy area why not look into some really low ground covers that will take the tear and wear.
You can have a really great garden with beds that lead from one to another through paths. You can make garden rooms, secret gardens etc. There is so much you can do with that piece of land, boy I always dream of owning some land. I would never use grass though, it is just too time consuming and hard to keep neat.


Archer/Bronson, FL(Zone 8b)

So Val and Art, you are telling me I should sell that brand new lawn mower my landlord conned me into buying and using......huh?

As for the pine mulch, a lot of it was chopped up along with all the scrub brushes and trees during the clearing. But there are some properties around me with a lot more pines than I have with a lot of needles.

I need a bigger wagon, one with sides on it.

Okey dokey.


mid central, FL(Zone 9a)

molly, on the other hand, that is a big area to mulch and mulch means fire ants and eventually weeds. i would try bahia grass. it's more like a pasture grass. the argentine type is pretty flat growing and doesn't have the tall seed heads like the pensacola type. use scarified seeds if you can find them because they will sprout faster. just don't leave them sitting around or the whole bag sprouts. bahia is hard on blades, dulls them pretty fast, but it has a nice looking drought tolerant pasture look to it. debi

Lake City, FL(Zone 8b)

Molly - now that you have the pine trees cut down - it will probably be easier for ground covers and grass to grow. I understand where you are coming from as you can see at our place - tracking in sand is terrible. If I were you I would get a bag of rye seed and spread it around for the winter months - as debi said earlier the best grass to get is probably bahia - but it is pricey. I've had St. Augustine when I lived in the burbs and spent more money taking care of it (cinch bugs, fungus, etc.). Right now I just want green to cover the sand - I don't care if it is weeds as long as it is green and covering the sand/clay.

I know you are anxious, but you probably don't want to spend alot of money on it right now till they get everything moved in as they are going to really tear up your yard (trucks) till everything is set-up.

I disagree with the fact that mulch draws fire ants - I've got fire ants all over my yard that I am having a terrible time controlling this year. As for weeds popping up in my mulched area I just have a bottle of roundup handy and when I see green - I hit with the roundup and things have worked out for me so far.

(Zone 9a)

Molly, I don't have many garden beds and mulched areas, but I have serious problems with fireants. My neighbor has St. Augustine grass, but he is retired and dotes on it all day, everyday. He still has problems, such as juja described, with it. As debi says, the bahia is good. My bahia is weed ridden because I didn't have an irrigation system for several years and drought to a toll on it.

As for rye grass, we used that in one of our church parking lots. We put paved paths with rye grass on the sides for the cars. The grass always looks green and attractive even with cars pulling on and off it. Plus we don't get sand on our shoes.

I like Val's ideas about garden beds and paths. When the builder put lawn in my yard, he didn't put any lawn on the back half of the backyard, which looked like the backside of the moon for a couple of years. Now, it's green, but it's all weeds. Eventually, I want to take a section at a time to put in garden beds.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

FYI: As far as I know, Molly is still without power in Ft. Lauderdale.

(Zone 9a)

Yes, I am sure she is. I thought I would post it for when her life returns somewhat to normal, which will probably be a while. My brother was without electricity for three weeks with Charley but not quite as long with the other two. He also had no running water, so I know the situation is pretty upsetting. A year after Charley, his house still needs finishing, so I know that whole area will be under rough circumstances for many, many months to come.

Archer/Bronson, FL(Zone 8b)

Hi Nancy and Darius,

I'm back on with generator power. Just tring to catch up a bit.

I think I will try some grass in the house area. It will help to keep the sand from tracking into the house. There is a lot of area to put paths, beds and secret hidden places. I will have so much fun doing that. But a little grass around the house, I feel, will keep the dirt back and keep some of the heat off in the summer. Grass is cooler than sand/dirt any time.

I'll check in again in a bit.

Wesley Chapel, FL(Zone 9a)


I live in zone 9, Pasco County. I have St. Augustine in the front yard, and I love it. It's so easy to keep up, hardly no maintenance at all. Everybody in the neighborhood has it (same builder). We can water only once a week here, and everybody's lawn looks great.

I did have one area that had cinch bugs. I bought some stuff at HD and spread it on the area. The cinch bugs were gone, and haven't come back, so far. I've read that they only infest lawns that are stressed to begin with - the area in my lawn had poor drainage. If the lawn is healthy, you shouldn't have a problem with them.

St. Augustine is very invasive, so you plant the plugs quite a distance apart - I seem to remember a foot, but don't quote me on it, it may be more - and the grass will fill in, eventually. If you can afford it, you can lay down sod, and don't have to wait for it to fill in.

We can't water our back yards - county ordinance - so everybody grows Bahia out back. It's more drought tolerant. It's OK,but it's more weedy than the St. Augustine - it's not as invasive. In fact, a lawn care guy told me that eventually, the St. Augustine will take over my back yard, too. There seem to be more fire ants in the Bahia lawn - I've hardly seen any at all in the St. Augustine part. I think that the St. Augustine looks a lot nicer than the Bahia.

I hope this helps.


Archer/Bronson, FL(Zone 8b)

Thanks Steve,

St Aug does grow well, is drought tolerant even and when you buy it buy the pallet, it's not terribly expensive. Admittedly, I have only laid sod on a S Florida lawn which is measured in feet and inches, not acres.

I still have a lot of digging to do before I actually put in a lawn. I have to dig trenches from the septic site, well site and power pole for those utilities to be put underground to the trailer, so I have time to contemplate the options.


(Zone 9a)

Steve's right, the St. Augustine is superior to the Bahia. Once it is estabished, it doesn't seem to be as difficult to care for. My neighbor used plugs, which is probably why he had to dote on it so much. It took two years, but it filled in well with only a couple of problem spots left for him to baby along.

I am glad you have a generator and are safe.

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