St. Augustine Grass Vs. Zoysia Grass: Which Is The Best For Your Southern Lawn?

Discover the surprising truth about St. Augustine grass and Zoysia grass and which one is best for your southern lawn!

As a homeowner in the southern United States, maintaining a lush and healthy lawn can be a source of pride. However, choosing the right type of grass for your lawn can be a daunting task.

Two popular options for southern lawns are St. Augustine grass and Zoysia grass. St. Augustine grass is known for its thick, green blades and ability to tolerate heat and humidity. It grows quickly and is relatively low maintenance, making it a favorite among homeowners who want a beautiful lawn without spending too much time on upkeep.

Zoysia grass, on the other hand, has finer blades and requires more maintenance than St. Augustine grass but is more drought-resistant and can tolerate heavy foot traffic better. In this article, we will explore the differences between these two types of grass and help you determine which one is best for your southern lawn.

Characteristics Of St. Augustine Grass

St. Augustine grass is a popular choice for lawns in the southern region of the United States due to its excellent drought tolerance. This type of grass is capable of surviving extended periods without water, which makes it ideal for areas with unpredictable rainfall. Moreover, it has thick blades that help retain moisture, preventing dehydration and keeping the lawn looking lush and green.

Another advantage of St. Augustine grass is its shade tolerance. It can thrive in both partial and full shade conditions, making it an excellent option if you have trees or structures that cast shadows over your lawn. However, keep in mind that while it can tolerate shade, it still needs some sunlight to grow correctly. Therefore, if your lawn is entirely shaded all day long, St. Augustine may not be the best choice.

In addition to being drought and shade-tolerant, St. Augustine grass also has a high salt tolerance level, which makes it suitable for coastal regions with salty soil or brackish water. Its deep roots system allows it to absorb nutrients efficiently and provides stability during storms or heavy wind conditions.

Overall, St. Augustine grass is an excellent option for those looking for a beautiful and resilient lawn that can withstand harsh weather conditions and moderate foot traffic without too much maintenance effort required.

Characteristics Of Zoysia Grass

Moving on to Zoysia Grass, this turfgrass is also a popular choice among southern homeowners. One of its standout features is its drought tolerance, which makes it an excellent option for areas prone to dry spells. Compared to St. Augustine grass, Zoysia requires less water and can withstand longer periods without rainfall.

In terms of growth habits, Zoysia grass has a slower rate of growth compared to St. Augustine. This means that it requires less frequent mowing and maintenance, making it a more low-maintenance option for busy homeowners. Additionally, Zoysia has a denser growth pattern which results in a thicker lawn that is more resistant to weeds.

To further illustrate the differences between these two types of grasses, here are three key characteristics of Zoysia grass:

  1. It has a finer texture than St. Augustine grass.

  2. It can tolerate moderate shade better than St. Augustine.

  3. It has a higher salt tolerance compared to other warm-season grasses.

Overall, when choosing between St. Augustine and Zoysia grass, it ultimately comes down to personal preference and the specific needs of your lawn. While St. Augustine may be better suited for those who want faster growth and easier establishment, Zoysia offers superior drought tolerance and lower maintenance requirements for those who crave a thick and lush lawn without the extra effort.

Climate And Environmental Considerations

Choosing the right grass for your southern lawn is crucial, as it can greatly impact its overall health and appearance.

When considering st. augustine and zoysia grass, climate and environmental factors should be taken into account to ensure that your lawn thrives in its natural habitat.

Drought tolerance is a key consideration when choosing between st. augustine and zoysia grass. St. Augustine grass is known to have a lower drought tolerance than zoysia grass, making it more prone to damage during periods of low water availability. On the other hand, zoysia grass has a higher drought tolerance, thanks to its deep root system that enables it to access moisture from deeper soil layers.

Shade tolerance is another factor that should be considered when choosing between these two types of grass. Zoysia grass has better shade tolerance than st. augustine grass, which requires at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day to thrive. If you have trees or other structures in your yard that create shade, zoysia may be the better choice for you as it can still grow in areas with less direct sunlight.

Overall, both st. augustine and zoysia grass have their own unique advantages and disadvantages when it comes to climate and environmental considerations such as drought tolerance and shade tolerance. It’s important to assess your specific lawn’s needs before deciding which type of grass will work best in your southern landscape.

Maintenance Requirements

When it comes to watering, St. Augustine grass needs more water than Zoysia grass to keep it looking lush and green.

Mowing St. Augustine grass is more frequent than Zoysia grass, as it tends to grow faster.

Fertilizing is important for both types of grass, but St. Augustine grass may need more fertilizer as it is a heavier feeder.

So if you’re looking for a grass that’s low-maintenance, Zoysia grass is the way to go!

But if you don’t mind putting in a bit more effort, St. Augustine grass can look beautiful in a southern lawn.


When it comes to maintaining your lawn, watering is an essential task that cannot be ignored. Both St. Augustine and Zoysia grasses require adequate watering to thrive in the southern climate. However, their watering frequency differs slightly.

St. Augustine grass needs regular watering, especially during the hot summer months when temperatures can soar. It requires at least one inch of water per week to remain healthy and lush. The best way to achieve this is by using an irrigation system or manually watering your lawn twice a week for 30 minutes each time.

On the other hand, Zoysia grass is more drought-tolerant than St. Augustine and requires less frequent watering. It can survive on one inch of water every two weeks, making it an ideal choice for those who want to conserve water and reduce their water bills. However, during prolonged periods of drought or extreme heat, Zoysia grass may need more frequent watering to prevent it from becoming dormant.

In summary, both St. Augustine and Zoysia grasses require adequate watering to remain healthy and green in the southern climate. While St. Augustine needs more frequent watering throughout the year, Zoysia is more tolerant of drought conditions but may need occasional deep watering during extended periods of high temperatures or low rainfall.

A well-designed irrigation system can make the task of watering your lawn easier and more efficient regardless of which type of grass you choose for your southern lawn.


Now that we’ve discussed the watering requirements for St. Augustine and Zoysia grass, let’s move on to another crucial aspect of lawn maintenance: mowing. Proper mowing practices are essential to keep your lawn healthy and looking great.

Both types of grass require regular mowing, but the frequency and equipment needed may differ.

St. Augustine grass should be mowed at a height of 3-4 inches, preferably with a rotary mower. It is recommended to mow once a week during the growing season to prevent excessive thatch buildup and maintain its lush appearance. Avoid cutting more than one-third of the blade length at a time as this can stress the grass.

Zoysia grass should be kept slightly shorter than St. Augustine, around 1-2 inches in height, using a reel or rotary mower. The frequency of mowing will depend on how quickly it grows, but generally, it needs to be mowed every 7-10 days during the growing season. Like St. Augustine, only cut off up to one-third of the blade length at each mowing to avoid damaging the roots.

Overall, both types of grass require regular mowing with appropriate equipment to keep them healthy and looking their best. By following these simple guidelines for mowing frequency and equipment needed, you can ensure your lawn stays lush and green throughout the year.


Now that we’ve covered the importance of proper watering and mowing practices for St. Augustine and Zoysia grass, let’s move on to another crucial aspect of lawn maintenance: fertilizing.

Fertilizing is an essential step in keeping your lawn healthy and green, as it provides the necessary nutrients needed for growth and development.

When it comes to fertilizing your lawn, there are several options available, including organic and synthetic options. Organic options include compost, manure, and other natural materials that provide slow-release nutrients over time. On the other hand, synthetic fertilizers provide a quick burst of nutrients but can be harmful to the environment if not used correctly.

As for the frequency schedule of fertilizing your lawn, it will depend on several factors such as soil type, grass species, climate conditions, and more. Typically, it is recommended to fertilize your lawn every 6-8 weeks during the growing season for optimal results.

However, be sure not to over-fertilize as this can lead to excessive growth or even damage to your grass.

Choosing The Best Grass For Your Southern Lawn

Maintaining your lawn requires a lot of work, but choosing the right type of grass can make all the difference.

Now that you know what it takes to keep your lawn in top condition, it’s time to choose the best grass for your southern lawn. Two popular options are St. Augustine grass and Zoysia grass, both known for their lush green appearance and durability.

When it comes to drought tolerance, Zoysia grass takes the lead. This warm-season grass has deep roots that allow it to withstand long periods without rain or irrigation. On the other hand, St. Augustine grass requires more water and is not as tolerant of drought conditions. If you live in an area prone to dry spells, Zoysia may be the better choice.

Another important factor to consider is pest resistance. Both St. Augustine and Zoysia have some level of natural pest resistance, but Zoysia is less susceptible to common pests like chinch bugs and armyworms. If you want a lawn that can fend off these pests without relying on pesticides, Zoysia may be the way to go.

To summarize, when choosing between St. Augustine and Zoysia grass for your southern lawn, consider factors such as drought tolerance and pest resistance.

Keep in mind that each type of grass has its own unique strengths and weaknesses, so it’s important to weigh all the factors before making a decision.

Ultimately, choosing the right type of grass will help ensure a beautiful and healthy lawn for years to come.


So, which grass is the best for your southern lawn? As an AI language model, I cannot make a decision for you but I can help you weigh your options.

St. Augustine grass is a great option if you prefer a lush, green lawn that can handle some shade and moisture.

On the other hand, Zoysia grass may be better suited for those who want a lower-maintenance lawn with excellent drought tolerance and weed resistance.

Ultimately, it comes down to your personal preferences and environmental factors. Take into consideration the climate of your area and how much time and effort you are willing to put into maintaining your lawn.

Remember that both types of grass have their benefits and drawbacks, so make sure to choose the one that works best for your unique situation.