Growing grass on the barrier island successfully is sometimes a challenge. There are many factors working against having the perfect lawn. For this week, we are just going to talk about the 4 major types of grass in the Low country.
We service Mount Pleasant, Isle of Palms, Charleston, Kiawah Island, Seabrook Island, Summerville, Sullivans Island, Johns Island, James Island, West Ashley, North Charleston, Moncks Corner, Goose Creek and neighboring cities.
Issues with Growing Grass
One of the major obstacles to growing grass is the high PH rating that naturally occurs in our soil. As the homes become farther back from the coast line, the PH levels will become closer to the normal level. For example, Kiawah Island's front beach lots have extremely high PH's, but as you move to the backside of the island, the PH seems to decrease. We apply sulfur treatments to the lawn to help the rating become neutral. Another major obstacle in turf development is high sodium content in the well and city waters. The occasional ocean spray can also be blamed. Salt is often built up over years and it is hard to remove from the soil.
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Centipede grass is not a good choice of grass for the islands. First of all, it loves relatively low PH or acidic soils, which are hard to come by on the island unless you have an abundance of live oaks and pine trees using their leaves to eat up the acidity in the ground. Most centipede grass seems to die off in 3-4 years on the Kiawah and Seabrook Island yards.
St Augustine Grass for Higher PH Levels
St. Augustine grass can handle the higher PH levels and salt, but must be cut higher at 3-4 inches tall. It is a tendency for people to cut their St. Augustine below this 3-4 inch recommendation. This stresses the grass. Its longer cutting height makes it the most shade tolerant grass and gives plenty of room to bring in the filtered sunlight. St. Augustine may be able to grow in some shade, but no grass will grow in full shade. While it can also provide a beautiful lawn, it is somewhat prone to funguses and cinch bug invasions in the fall.
Zoysia Grass can Tolerate Shade
Zoysia grass can handle light shade, tolerate the PH, and has the ability to get cut very low, like a putting green. The negative part about Zoysia is that it is a relatively slow grower. If you have any kind of turf damage, it does take a while for it to repair itself.
Bermuda Grass is More Durable
Bermuda grass is sometimes thought of as a weed. It is actually one of the toughest and most resilient grasses here in the Low country. There is probably even just a little bit of Bermuda in everybody's yard just as a natural occurrence. Unlike the first 3 types of grass, we see wild Bermuda grass growing on our beach paths and lawns with no irrigation systems and it still seems to live year after year.
Bermuda grass will not tolerate any shade; therefore if you have trees in your yard, Bermuda grass may not be for you. I find it to be one of the most durable that I have worked with over the years. All golf courses are Bermuda and are often lush, with bright green color. Bermuda has to be one of the easiest lawns to grow.
Call us now. 843-886-9314.
Questions about Grass
I would like to start answering some questions from our readers out there. If you have any questions about your grass or know of any issues that we can help resolve, please let us know and it may just get published in our next article as part of a new question and answer program that we are implementing! As we see in our own business, if one person has a question, it usually applies to everybody. If you have any questions contact us.