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The Best Grass to Plant in South Carolina


There is no secret to a lush lawn and growing grass in the low-country of South Carolina. The climate is conducive to a thick, green landscape but there are some tips to make it easier. Basically, you need to recognize and know that there are two different types of grass in the southeastern US: cooler season grass and warm weather grass.  

Cool or Warm?

Basically, there are two types of grass in South Carolina: Cool-season grasses, like Tall Fescue and Ryegrass, and warm-season grasses, like Bermuda grass, Centipede grass, and St. Augustine. Warm-season grass thrives in the heat, while cool-season grasses are more vulnerable and typically dormant during dry conditions. Reseed in the fall.

Tall Fescue Grass

Tall Fescue grass is a common sight in the Foothills across the state, and the newer, pasture species of this grass is finer and darker than typical Kentucky 31 Fescue grass. Fescue lawns and yards have a tendency to thin out and become sparse in appearance over time and dry periods, so plan to reseed each autumn or fall.  

Rye Grass

During the hottest part of summer when most grass and lawns are turning brown, your perennial or annual Ryegrass will be green and lush. This variety of grass makes a fantastic and effective cover for your landscape during the driest times of the year, though you should know that it can be vulnerable to disease in extreme heat.

Bermuda Grass

If you want a warm-season grass that will come in quickly from seed, consider Bermuda grass. This grass does well in drought conditions and loves heat. It is resilient to traffic but also can tolerate salt so it is fine to use in coastal yards and gardens. Bermuda grass doesn’t do well in shade, however, so use in your sunny green spaces for best results. It also warrants mention that Bermuda grass can be invasive and aggressive in terms of growth. Be ready to maintain, mow, and weed your Bermuda grass lawn regularly.

Centipede Grass

If you are not up for a lawn or landscape that requires a lot of maintenance or effort, go with Centipede grass. This is a very common grass in the state and works well for people that want both an aesthetically appealing lawn and little labor or mowing. Centipede grass thrives in both sunny or shady conditions and makes a great border or edging for beds.

St. Augustine Grass

St. Augustine grass is so resilient and tolerant to salt that it has been given the moniker, “Charleston grass”, for its ability to thrive in coastal conditions. St. Augustine also does well in shady conditions. It grows quickly but is easy to control and manage.  This variety of grass is often seen on golf courses across the state.

You should know that the difference between the two main types of grass is how they react to prolonged periods of hot, dry weather, not uncommon in this region of the country. Warm-season grass typically can survive drought-like conditions, while cool-season grass may not fare as well. Year-round curb appeal and a lush landscape depends on a pairing of both types of grass; talk to your landscape professional to learn more. Ready to implement warm and cold season turf in your yard or landscape? Talk to a Commercial Landscaping and Ground Services, Carolina Services Grounds Division, a division of Carolina Services Inc. in Charleston, to learn more today!