Last Updated on August 30, 2021 by Mark Brian
Lawn care is a tricky job. It depends on a lot of factors such as environment, soil type, climate, fertilization and grass type, etc. Most homeowners in the U.S. are presented with the option of either Bermuda grass or St. Augustine grass for their lawns. Since these are two of the best grasses available after passing the test of time.
So, what about mixing Bermuda grass and St. Augustine grass? Is it a good idea or are you setting yourself up for a messy lawn? Well, the answer lies in your preference and factors as mentioned above.
Both are warm season grasses with drastically different traits, but can they coexist? Yes, they can.
A popular choice, Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon), is coveted for its grey green color and thick turf. Even though it grows invasively, it has thin leaves that can grow up to 13 cm. It is usually planted in parks, golf courses, and open areas with a lot of sunlight.
Bermuda grass has a coarse texture with shoots inverse to each other. It has a beautiful green color that blooms in the spring and summer seasons. Additionally, its fine stolons give a silky smooth texture, perfect for landscaping and even playgrounds.
Types of Bermuda Grass
Seeds are the most common way to propagate Bermuda grass. It is a low maintenance grass with a rather short germination period, so you can choose between various types.
Common Bermuda Grass
With comparatively cheaper seeds and thick turf, common Bermuda grass is a popular option. While sporting a light green hue, this grass can withstand high foot traffic.
Hybrid Bermuda Grass
Sods, plugs, and sprigging are the usual plantation techniques for hybrid Bermuda grass. What makes it so great and rightfully expensive is its thick, dense carpet like feel with a finer texture and dark green color.
St. Augustine Grass
Coastal areas or sandy regions with enough humidity are best suited for St. Augustine grass (Stenotaphrum secundatum). Also known as Buffalo grass, it has flat, broad leaves that can grow quickly and form a sturdy turf. Due to its exponential growth, it acts as natural weed control.
Flat, broad leaves with close spacing are a hallmark of St. Augustine grass. Emerald colored thick grass blades are round at the tip, giving it a manicured look. Its stolons run thick and wide on the ground, making the turf thick and dense.
Types of St. Augustine Grass
Various types of St. Augustine grass are available in the market. Some of the popular types grown are:
Frequently planted in warm regions, it is one of the best sod of St. Augustine grass. Due to its versatile nature, it can be planted in various climate and soil conditions.
Florida and Texas are home to this grass. You can find it planted in backyards and lawns with beautiful wide blades and a plushy look.
Sporting a deep blue green color, CitraBlue has the best shade tolerance among all other types of St. Augustine grass. It flourishes well in shaded areas with trees.
For your ease, we have also listed below the proper lawn care when mixing Bermuda grass with St. Augustine grass.
Things to Consider While Mixing Bermuda Grass with St. Augustine Grass
Planting grass in a certain way greatly affects its spread, turf density, and expense. It is preferable to plant Bermuda grass through sod, seeds, or turf. While St. Augustine grass spreads well when planted as plugs or sods.
Deep roots allow Bermuda grass to consume less water. It can grow fine with less watering. In contrast, St. Augustine grass loves humidity and needs to be watered often. Watering it 3 times a week is recommended.
To develop a thick turf, Bermuda grass spreads through stolons and rhizomes. Whereas, St. Augustine grass spreads mainly through above ground stolons. If you are planning on mixing Bermuda grass with St. Augustine grass, plant Bermuda grass first. It takes quite a while for it to establish deep roots.
Nitrogen fertilizer is one of the essentials when it comes to growing grass. Bermuda grass is quite self sufficient and needs 1 to 2 pounds of nitrogen, often once a season. While St. Augustine grass is a little high maintenance in comparison. It requires 3 to 5 pounds per 1000 sq. ft. nitrogen fertilizer at least three times in a season. You can leave some mulching in it too to level the need.
St. Augustine grass flourishes well even in sandy soil. This is why it is popular in coastal areas especially Florida. On the other hand, Bermuda grass can manage a variety of topsoils from heavy clays to sandy textures. Backyards with sandy sidewalks or shade on the corners are the perfect places for mixing Bermuda grass with St. Augustine grass.
As both are warmth loving grasses, Bermuda grass grows well in the summer season. Whereas, St. Augustine grass thrives in humid conditions. The state you live in (zone 7 to 10) is the first clue for the preferable grass. The United States Department of Agriculture zones provide an in depth insight on grass types according to your location.
Used in golf courses and football grounds, Bermuda grass loves to be mown short between 1.5 to 2 inches. In complete contrast to it, St. Augustine grass needs to be mowed high between 3 to 3.5 inches. Lawn mowers with multiple cutting heights can make your job way easier for mowing after mixing both types of grass.
Shade works as kryptonite for most types of grass, but not so much for St. Augustine grass. It is the best shade tolerant grass out there and needs minimum sunlight of 3 to 4 hours. On the flip side, Bermuda grass is extremely allergic to shade. It cannot tolerate any shade, even of its grass blades, and needs a full day of sunlight.
Known for its deep root system, Bermuda grass is quite a drought resistant. It can go on without water for as long as two weeks. However, St. Augustine grass can wilt in the absence of water for long periods. It needs frequent watering, often twice a week.
With its small blades and well established roots, Bermuda grass is ideal for withstanding high foot traffic. It can resist running and walking easily. On the other hand, St. Augustine grass is good for landscaping with the least foot traffic tolerance.
Tips for Mixing Bermuda grass with St. Augustine grass
- To prefer a certain type of grass, choose the mowing, watering, fertilizing setting according to it.
- Bermuda grass should be planted in the middle of open spaces, with St. Augustine grass on the fringes with shade on it.
- To avoid a rough texture where the two types of grass meet, you can place some garden stones to separate them.
- St. Augustine grass should be planted under trees, whereas Bermuda grass can be planted in open lawns.
- Do not use any non selective herbicide like glyphosate for weeds, it can potentially kill both Bermuda and St. Augustine grass.
Comparison of Lawn Care Tips for Two Grass Types
|Lawn care Tips||Bermuda Grass||St. Augustine Grass|
|Nitrogen Fertilizer lb/1000 sq.ft.||1 to 2 pounds, every season||3 to 5 pounds, 3x a season|
|Mowing Height||1.5 in. to 2 in. 2x a week||3 in. to 3.5 in. once a week|
|Watering||After 2-3 weeks||3x a week|
|Foot traffic tolerance||High||Low|
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Will St. Augustine fertilizer kill Bermuda grass?
Most fertilizers including Milorganite and Scott’s turf builder products used for St. Augustine grass, are safe to use with Bermuda grass as well. It will not kill the Bermuda grass.
What month should I fertilize St. Augustine grass?
St. Augustine grass should be fertilized when its blades are green. Spring season i.e. March, April, and May are preferable months for the fertilization of St. Augustine grass.
Will Bermuda grass choke out weeds?
The thick turf of Bermuda grass chokes out any weed that is present. It grows aggressively, thus giving no space and time for weeds to grow.
Is St. Augustine grass more aggressive than Bermuda grass?
Bermuda grass spreads fast, but St. Augustine grass once established grows equally. Due to its high mowing and stolon spreading, St. Augustine grass is more aggressive than Bermuda grass when mixing them both.
Will Bermuda grass choke out St. Augustine grass?
Overseeding lawn with Bermuda seeds in St. Augustine grass patch with low mowing presents a possibility of choking out St. Augustine grass. It can be avoided by proper seeding and suitable mowing for both kinds of grass.
It is time taking to maintain a lawn with mixed grass types. However, with a few tips up your sleeves regarding mowing, fertilizing, sunlight, and watering you can master it. For your ease, we have brought you a detailed overview of “mixing Bermuda grass with St. Augustine grass.“
If you have any queries, feel free to ask. We will be glad to help.
Happy Mowing To You!