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Turfgrass 101

By Stephanie Schupska
University of Georgia

Georgia's plant hardiness zones cover a wide range, from the balmy climate of Savannah to the exhausting heat of Valdosta to the frigid temperatures of Blairsville. Because of Georgia's climate extremes, a grass like St. Augustinegrass that grows great in Tifton will have trouble surviving in Rome.

University of Georgia Cooperative Extension experts have taken the guesswork out of picking a good grass for your lawn. Use the guide below as you head to the lawn and garden store or before you call a sod company.

Warm-season grasses grow best during the warm months when temperatures reach 80-95 degrees in the spring, summer and early fall. They grow vigorously during this time and become brown and dormant in the winter.

Warm-season grasses:

  • Prefer warm to hot temperatures (80 to 95 degrees).
  • Grow best in summer.
  • Have extended winter dormancy.
  • Have poor shade and winter tolerance.
These types of grass include bermudagrass, St. Augustinegrass, centipedegrass, zoysiagrass and seashore paspalum.

Cool-season grasses grow well during the cool months of spring and fall when temperatures average 60-75 degrees. They may undergo stress, become dormant or be injured during the hot months of summer and may require significantly more water than the warm-season grasses.

Cool-season grasses:

  • Prefer cool to warm temperatures (65 to 75 degrees).
  • Grow best in the spring and fall.
  • Have limited winter dormancy.
  • Have good winter tolerance and adequate shade tolerance.
These grasses include annual rye, poa trivialis, creeping bentgrass, tall fescue and perennial rye.

For more research-based information on turfgrass, visit www.georgiaturf.com or contact your local UGA Cooperative Extension agent at 1-800-ASK-UGA1.

(Stephanie Schupska is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)

(Stephanie Schupska is a news editor with the University of Georgia Public Affairs Office.)

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