Rain or Pain: Selecting the Most Tolerant Sod for Your Climate

Your climate says a lot more about your grass than you think. While most grasses are classified into “cool season” (better for Northern climates) or “warm season” (better for Southern gardens) there are many other factors that can effect the growth including seasonal conditions and sun tolerance. It all starts with knowing your zone to determine the best sod for your climate.

Sod Plug in child's hand

Zoning Matters

Harmony Brands can help you determine the best and most tolerant grass for your zone, especially with many zones heading into the rainy season. Every grass type has strengths and weaknesses to evaluate to best meet the conditions of your zone.

Southern Climate Zone – The southern climate zone experiences hot summers with moderate to non-existent winter seasons making warm-season grasses the best choice. Some common varieties of grass for this climate are St. Augustine, Zoysia, and Bermuda grasses.

Northern Climate Zone – The northern zone has both moderately warm summer seasons and cold winters. While the climate variety can present challenges, it is often best to utilize a cool-season grass. A couple of the best choices are Kentucky Bluegrass or fescue grasses.

Transition Zone – As the name would suggest, the transition zone experiences both hot summers and cold winters presenting many challenges and frustrations for lawn maintenance. Because cool-season grasses are not tolerant of summer heat and warm-season grasses struggle in areas with harsher winters it is important to know the most tolerant grasses that fit your zone. Tall Fescue grass is the most tolerant of both hot and cold, which makes it the best choice; however Kentucky Bluegrass and Zoysia are often used in the Transition Zone.

Shade, Sun, Salt – Know Your Conditions

While some say that location is everything that is not the case when it comes to planning the best sod or seed for your yard. It is extremely important to consider the conditions of your yard to make sure that you are finding the best grass to adapt to your soils. From shaded sites to water wastelands, Harmony Brands can help you navigate what works best.

Navigating Traffic – When it comes to driving, traffic can cause headaches. It can be the same for your yard if you don’t choose grass that can stand up to high traffic conditions. Northern climates use Kentucky bluegrass or ryegrass because of its ability to withstand heavy traffic while the Southern climates prefer Bermuda grass not only for its high-traffic capabilities but also because of its tolerance for water as well. Because in the South its not just foot traffic but rain traffic as well, especially during the summer months.

Shaded Areas and Coastal Cooperation – We all know the sun doesn’t always shine when you need it to and for your shaded spots that is all too true. For these areas a shade-tolerate grass such as fine-leaf fescues or most St. Augustine varieties work best. For those coastal cottages or areas where salt water irrigation is used, paspalum is very salt-tolerant and a great choice for those beachside spaces.

Alternative Solutions – Sometimes it is great to have a beautiful yard but with little maintenance and Centipede grass and fescues are perfect for these types of areas depending on your climate. Additionally, there are ares that are hard to reach or not as utilized for which a hardier grass such as Buffalo is the perfect choice.

Choosing the Right Option

When researching the best options for your yard there are so many things to consider including pests, weather, texture, growth rate, and so much more. It is extremely important to stick to recognized brands, like Harmony Brands, for optimal, proven performance. We’ve greatest grass mixes for the best performances that take all of those factors into consideration. Learn more about the pros and cons of cool and warm season grasses.

Cool-Season Grass Varieties

Kentucky Bluegrass
• Pros: Winter weather and traffic tolerant, repairs bare spots
• Cons: Intolerant of heat and shade, prone to pests, especially grubs
• Texture: Medium

Fine-leaf Fescue
• Pros: Low maintenance, good for minimal traffic areas, tolerant for drought and shade
• Cons: Prone to color loss, over-spreading
• Texture: Fine

Tall Fescue
• Pros: Not prone to thatching or pests, tolerant of drought and heat
• Cons: Can appear clumpy as it does not spread well
• Texture: Medium-Coarse

Ryegrass
• Pros: Extremely traffic tolerant, establishes quickly
• Cons: Intolerance of extreme temperature changes, does not spread well
• Texture: Fine-coarse

Warm-Season Grass Varieties

Bermuda
• Pros: Established quickly, extremely traffic and drought tolerant
• Cons: Intolerant of shade, Over-spreading
• Texture: Fine-coarse

St. Augustine
• Pros: Moderate maintenance needs, tolerant of shade
• Cons: Intolerant of pests, diseases, droughts and cold weather
• Texture: Coarse

Zoysia
• Pros: Tolerant of shade and droughts, effective at choking out weeds
• Cons: Requires annual scalping, slow to establish, intolerant of winter, discoloration
• Texture: Medium

Buffalo
• Pros: Tolerant of extreme climates, low maintenance
• Cons: Intolerant of traffic, constant irrigation required
• Texture: Fine

Centipede
• Pros: Low maintenance, not prone to pests or diseases
• Cons: Intolerant of freezing weather and traffic, slow recovery process
• Texture: Medium-coarse

Harmony Outdoor Brands offers a variety of turf grasses that can fit your lifestyle. To join us on our journey and find out more about why we do what we love, follow us on Facebook and Instagram!

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