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Old 01-20-2010, 12:14 PM
 
Location: Tampa, FLorida
7 posts, read 12,980 times
Reputation: 20

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Hi everyone,

I have lived in my current home about 10 years.

I am looking to replace the grass in my back and side yards.

Currently my lawn consists of the following areas:

1. St. Augustine in front yard only, under oak trees. - This section of my lawn is my "prized" small patch of lawn which I regularly keep watered and mowed. (Not saying it always looks "prized" though. Some areas of the front yard may be TOO shaded, as in a very tall Viburnum hedge.)

2. Creeping Jasmine - (Front yard next to driveway) I have another area on the other side of the driveway in the front yard made up of Jasmine. This is a good alternative as it keeps the soil from eroding. It is also protected by oak tree shade.

3. Bahia in back and side yards - Currently I have bahia in my back and side yards which receive a LOT of brutal Florida sunlight. I have almost no trees in my back yard. I do have some fruit trees on the west side which cast a small bit of shade at certain times of day. I have a newly planted Viburnum hedge between me and my neighbor along the fence line which I hope will grow tall and provide some shade relief.

I am looking to replace the grass in the back and side yards. Originally I was thinking Bahia, as it is extremely drought tolerant. I don't mind the brown dormant stage in the winter. I love that I don't have to baby it.

However, I recently read that bahia is not a shade tolerant grass. Right now, there isn't much shade back there. But once the Viburnum hedge gets around 8 feet high, as I plan to use it as a privacy fence and keep it high, there will definitely be shade in part of the back yard. I plan to do the same thing on the other side of the house. There is just too much sun back there! But hopefully, over time, I can add more plants to shade the back yard.

~~~~

I looked at alternative grasses that would be shade tolerant.

Bermuda - I can't stand this grass and the roots grow 24 inches deep. My neighbors have it and it is constantly invading my yard. It (thankfully) does not grow at all well in shade.

St. Augustine varieties 'Seville', 'Delmar', 'Floraverde', and 'Captiva', all of which have shade tolerance. These grass cultivars need about 5-6 hours of sunlight a day.

St. Augustine variety Floratam - Relatively poor shade tolerance. Needs 6-8 hours of sunlight a day.

Zoysia - A cultivar called Empire has about the same poor shade tolerance as St. Augustine Floratam.

Centipede grass - Don't know if it is available in Tampa but supposedly will tolerate moderate shade.

~~~~

So, for a mixed back yard, with both sun and shade, I wonder what grass to use.

I will be hiring someone professionally to lay the sod, and I don't want to pay for grass that is going to die. They are also going to install an in-ground irrigation system.

The back/side yards will start out being extremely sunny, but over time more shade will take over the yard with the tall hedges on each side and as I (may) plant trees. I don't know what my longterm landscape plan is for my back yard, but I know at least the fence lines will have tall Viburnum hedges along them. My oak trees in the front yard although they provide beautiful shade require a fair amount of maintenace/trimming and I don't know if I want that maintenance in the backyard.

Bahia is still my first choice as it is relatively bullet-proof. Perhaps I should just lay Bahia and over time as areas of the yard become shaded I replace just those shaded areas with a St. Augustine cultivar like Captiva.

Can anyone give me a hardy grass recommendation that can handle sun to shade transitions? Does anyone have any good/bad points about the above grasses? I have no real experience with any of the grasses above. I am not keen to plant a grass I have to coddle too much, yet prefer that over one that is going to die.

Thanks for any suggestions!
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Old 01-20-2010, 05:03 PM
 
Location: Lincoln County Road or Armageddon
4,329 posts, read 6,017,600 times
Reputation: 5953
I would love to have a lawn of dollar weed-emerald green, no stickers and never needs mowing. I have no idea what my grass is, but I consider St. Augustine to be a public menace for all the water and chemicals that are dumped on it.
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Old 01-21-2010, 04:55 PM
 
Location: Beautiful Pinellas County
1,447 posts, read 2,662,294 times
Reputation: 1036
totally agree - I now have a nice brown lawn and it's all weeds. the bugs and drought have finally done for it. I have no idea where to start and what to do next, but I know on a 1/4 acres its not going to be cheap! suggestions anyone?
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Old 01-23-2010, 02:54 PM
 
357 posts, read 726,031 times
Reputation: 343
You could always get the lawn spray painted green like half of my neighbors obsessed with out-doing each other do!
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Old 01-23-2010, 05:12 PM
 
515 posts, read 1,204,184 times
Reputation: 560
Quote:
Originally Posted by onmywayhome View Post
I will be hiring someone professionally to lay the sod, and I don't want to pay for grass that is going to die. They are also going to install an in-ground irrigation system.
Not sure where you are, but the codes in most places are prohibiting new irrigation systems from being installed in backyards unless they are hooked up to reclaimed water. You might want to make sure that your city/county code allows for this so you don't end up getting fined and/or having to rip it out in the future.
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Old 01-24-2010, 02:54 PM
 
68 posts, read 236,494 times
Reputation: 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by onmywayhome View Post

Bermuda - I can't stand this grass and the roots grow 24 inches deep. My neighbors have it and it is constantly invading my yard. It (thankfully) does not grow at all well in shade.

St. Augustine varieties 'Seville', 'Delmar', 'Floraverde', and 'Captiva', all of which have shade tolerance. These grass cultivars need about 5-6 hours of sunlight a day.

St. Augustine variety Floratam - Relatively poor shade tolerance. Needs 6-8 hours of sunlight a day.

Zoysia - A cultivar called Empire has about the same poor shade tolerance as St. Augustine Floratam.

Centipede grass - Don't know if it is available in Tampa but supposedly will tolerate moderate shade.

We replaced our bahia with St. Augustine Floratam 4 years ago and it did wonderful in the shade. If we had a sprinkler system it would probably still look wonderful. We're now in desperate need of a new lawn and I think I'm going with Empire Zoysia. From what I've read it's much more drought/traffic tolerant than St. Augustine, and it has the nice soft look and feel of normal (read: not St. Augustine) grass.

I'd really love to fill the whole thing in with pea gravel like they do in Arizona but I don't think that would go over so well with the HOA.
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Old 01-25-2010, 08:12 AM
 
Location: Tampa, FL
150 posts, read 429,705 times
Reputation: 111
I heard something about artificial turf. Maybe you could try that (no need to water or fertilize).
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Old 01-25-2010, 11:31 AM
 
1,500 posts, read 2,928,097 times
Reputation: 1228
Hate to rain on your parading lawn gnomes. Just posting as the timing of this article was perfect with your post.

Lawns May Contribute to Global Warming | LiveScience

"Lush green lawns may not be as good for the environment as you might think.

A new study suggests that, in certain parts of the country, total emissions would actually be lower if there weren't any lawns."

I think lawns can look great but I'd never have one. For my last house I got rid of the lawn entirely and planted a jungle with trails going through it. I get compliments on it all the time. In my new house I've three times the property and had to buy a tractor to cut the lawn but will eventually eat away at the size of the lawn until it no longer exists as I plant a new jungle there. I'll handle the open areas with mulch instead of lawn which makes for a good way to recycle the garden as it ages.
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Old 01-25-2010, 05:08 PM
 
254 posts, read 536,687 times
Reputation: 82
What you want are weeds and a reliable lawn service. The service will mow and edge whatever grows. Unless you have unlimited time, patience and money, I would not recommned sod.

I had gorgeous sod when I first bought my house ten years ago. But a decade of drought, chinch bugs, watering restrictions, fungus, and who knows what else have taken their toll. Would I love to have that spongey, lush, St. Augustine lawn back - in a heart beat. Would I want to ever fund and toil for that lush lawn - no effing way.

St. Augustine sod must've been developed by the laboratories of Scott and ChemLawn. It's completely unsustainable without 100% total attention to perfect chemicals and watering.
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Old 01-30-2010, 05:11 PM
 
Location: Naperville, IL by necessity; Pinellas by choice
214 posts, read 619,517 times
Reputation: 78
Try a Google on xeriscaping & Florida? Here's a UF extension site:

Xeriscaping - Landscaping in the Southeast - Living Green - UF/IFAS Extension

People around here insist on having Kentucky bluegrass lawns. The problem is that we do not have a Kentucky climate. Some people are going to buffalo grass which can handle Illinois weather much better but it's not "pretty" so they continue to dump tons of water and chemicals on their lawns.
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