Help selecting best turf variety

Discussion in 'Florida Lawn Care Forum' started by hilde123, Sep 29, 2011.

  1. hilde123

    hilde123 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 12

    Im replacing my turf (well 75% of my turf) and am having trouble selecting the best variety for my needs. About 50% of my area gets 6-8 hrs of sun and the rest gets between 3-5, except for obviously right below low trees. I would like stick with one type of turf for replacement. I do currently have chinch bug issues and am looking for a species that is tolerant (I am having it treated to slow them down). As far as drought tolerance, I really dont care as I am on a shallow well and can water as much as needed. I have a fair amount of Seville and like it but where it is in full sun it is real thatchy. I am leaning towards Floratam or Palmetto. I like what I hear about the Palmetto variety but havent heard much from people that have had it down for years. Any opinions would be greatly appreciated.
  2. unkownfl

    unkownfl LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,837

    Bitter Blue or Seville IMHO. Just treat your yard right and you won't have bug/water issues. Also, don't mow it like a golf course.
  3. Landscape Poet

    Landscape Poet LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,638

    They all have there good attributes and there bad. Palmetto is what I use now after the last few winters. It has a better cold tolerance as well as being able to tolerate more shade. It still will not live in pure shade - but better than say Floratam. The University says that it has a lighter green color. It has been my experience that is dependent on how it is cared for. I am including a picture of the sod we use for you to get a example of thick it can be as well as a picture of it installed next to floratam in a lawn we did this week. I think you will see that the Floratam is much lighter green than the new sod that has been installed. So again it dependents on your tech and how good of a job he is doing of feeding your lawn if you ask me.
    The main thing for you going forward is having a tech that takes care of your lawn properly. I hear you are going with Heron. They will do that and insect damage is not a issue for you as they offer sod replacement from insect damage. :weightlifter:

    Any of the St. Augustine cultivators can make a attractive lawn - when properly cared for and when they are installed in the correct conditions ie: not installing floratam in a lawn which get partial sun.


  4. Landscape Poet

    Landscape Poet LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,638

    Here is another of that same install - again please note that the palmetto is not a lighter green but rather a much darker green than the existing floratam. The palmetto will adapt and blend with the other lawn as it will be getting the same care from now on - but at this point the Palmetto appears to be much better feed.

  5. Keith

    Keith LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,979

    I still like Bitter Blue for most lawns that have some shade. They all have their pros and cons, but I think it is less prone to problems than some of the semi-dwarfs. Floratam would absolutely not be a good choice for what you describe.
  6. jvanvliet

    jvanvliet LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,944

    Bitter Blue and Palmeto are good St. Augustine cultivars. I'd go with the Palmeto since it is one of the most versatile and hardiest strain available. It stands up to a wide range of temperature variations (important in Orlando), develops a massive and deep root system (reducing irrigation requirements) and is able to adapt to changing conditions on the planting site, like maturing trees providing more shade. Both have a proven track record.

    Seville is a slow growing dwarf variety with moderate shade resistance and is not as cold or insect resistant as the Bitter Blue or Palmeto.

    The one not mentioned is Captiva. Captiva is a newer strain (to me) and I don't have first hand experience with it. People have posted regarding Captiva and I do not remember negative reports other than cost and availability. Captiva is a dwarf variety, slow growing, has moderate shade resistance as well as resistance to southern cinch bug & plant hoppers. It too is not as cold tolerant as the other two.

    I'll be doing a lot of sod installations and lawn repairs following our extremely wet rainy season (mostly root rot & fungus and several lawns in St Augustine decline). If available, I'll be looking at all four cultivars and make a decision based on 1. availability 2. performance and 3. price.

    Good luck with your installation :waving:
  7. Keith

    Keith LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,979

    I can't recommend Captiva. It's done ok in partial shade, but it has really struggled in my yard in full sun areas.
  8. bugsNbows

    bugsNbows LawnSite Member
    Messages: 170

    I'd also say Palmetto. Mind the chinch bug issues...we've got some resistant strains that can be difficult to get a handle on...sometimes.
  9. fobaum

    fobaum LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 365

    Anybody have any expedience w/ sapphire SA? I personalty don't like palmetto it seems way more vulnerable to insect & fungus than flora tam or classic SA. I'm getting my first house Nov. 1st!! and i need to SOD the whole property about 10,000 sq ft. and i was thinking of using sapphire SA for the front yard..
  10. Patriot Services

    Patriot Services LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,506

    Oddly enough the HD by me had Sapphire plugs and pieces. Looks nice, broad blades, dense and lower growing than other strains. I'm going to check with my suppliers tomorrow for cost and volume availability. I'm getting less impressed with Floratam for the reasons described. Too many yards with variable light and thinning in partial shade.
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