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Warm-season grasses

by The Dream Lawn (Mantis)

If you live in a part of the country where summers are hot and winters are mild, consider planting a warm-season grass. They make active growth during the hot months and go dormant, often turning brown, in fall and winter.

Listed below are some common warm-season grasses you may want to research.

Bermuda Grass. This grass thrives in warm, humid climates and stays green most of the year. It requires less water and more fertilizer than most grasses. It handles traffic well but has a low tolerance for shade. "Improved" Bermuda grass, grown from sprigs, has a finer texture and a shorter dormant period.

Centipedegrass is highly adaptable in its growing region. This low-maintenance grass resists many insects and lawn diseases, grows in sun or shade, and needs more water but less fertilizer than other grasses. Its light green color and coarse texture make it less desirable aesthetically.

St. Augustine Grass. Grown from sod or sprigs, this fast-growing, shade-tolerant grass isn't bothered by salty soil and is often used in warm coastal areas. It requires a lot of water and is susceptible to chinch bugs. Bahiagrass has coarse blades but its dense root system makes it suitable for erosion control. It adapts well to coastal areas and to shade. Zoysiagrass, grown from plugs, is a dense turf that crowds out other grasses and weeds. It needs little mowing and is quite insect- and disease-resistant, but won't grow in shade.

If you're not sure what kinds of grass grow best in your region, ask at a local garden center or call your County Extension Agent.

Copyright © 2008 LAF/C.R.S., Inc. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission
from The Dream Lawn, © 1996 Mantis, 1028 Street Road, Southampton, PA 18966.

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