The Best Type of Sod in Georgia
I just typed in “the best type of sod in Georgia” Google gave me 77.5 million results. Then I typed in “the best type of sod in Fayette County Ga.” I still got 2 million results from google. The vast majority of these results are marketing based web sites. Let’s cut through the millions of advertisers for a moment. The most popular is T419 hybrid Bermuda sod (non licensed) because it is least expensive and used on nearly all new construction projects. The most popular & preferred is Emerald Zoysia Sod. Ultimately, the best type and the most popular (favorite) will always be one in the same if we are surveying people who love their lawns. Choosing the best sod is very simple but the sod growing industry complicates it with marketing claims. I am referring to hybrid grasses or name brand sod types.
After nearly 30 years in industry, I can make one absolute statement about the “best type” of sod. The best type of sod is properly managed sod. In real world conditions, how well a lawn is cared for is far more important than what name brand grass you have. I have 6 different Zoysia sod types in my personal lawn but my favorites are the standard Myers and Emerald Zoysia sod. They cost less and provide the best density in all light conditions. I even prefer their color the most.
There are only 4 warm season (goes dormant in winter) sod types or families for our area. Bermuda, Centipede, Zoysia, St. Augustine are our choices and are priced low-high in the same order. Price is based on how long it takes to grow the crop of grass. The labor for installing them should be the same for all types. The least expensive sod is Bermuda. Centipede has traditionally offered the least maintenance requirements with its soil ph flexibility and slow growing drought resistant nature. Over the last decade I have seen a drastic increase in fungus problems that wipe out Centipede in large patches during the dormant season. This forced me to remove the centipede from my own lawn and replace it with Zoysia. St Augustine is the best choice for wide blade and shady organic soil area. It has a slightly yellowish tint to its color and will be damaged by our seldom temperature drops into single digits every ten years or so.
Choosing your sod can get complicated because each of the types of grass have patented (licensed) varieties. Most of the farms only carry one or two of each so comparing price between different varieties at different farms and all of the associated “claims” of why one is better than the other becomes almost impossible. Don’t forget about seasonal availability too. Researching this on the internet will simply provide results from website spending the most money to advertise.
Sun conditions in your lawn areas should be your first consideration. You will need 4 hours or more for long term success with a Zoysia sod lawn. Bermuda will require 6 hours or more. Centipede need about the same as Bermuda and St Augustine will do well in filtered light like tall pine trees that allow patches of sun throughout the day. Read our other article Sod vs. Trees for more info.
There are two basic types of Zoysia if we leave out the name brands for a moment. Emerald Zoysia is a small blade, super dense grass with an “emerald” color. It can be planted next to Bermuda and look very similar (density not withstanding). Myers Zoysia is a wider blade slightly less dense grass that looks like a thinner bladed and slightly less dark green fescue. The colors can vary from sight conditions, (ie. Moisture, nutrients, sun and season)
Maintain your investment with all the right TLC and everyone will love your yard. Neglect it and it will not matter what grass you chose. I hope this has been helpful.