It’s the question that plagues homeowners across the United States every year-St. Augustine or Torpedo grass?
Both are widely considered to be top-tier choices when it comes to lawns, but you need to do your research before deciding which one is right for you and your family’s needs.
Let’s take a look at the strengths and weaknesses of each grass type to see how they measure up against each other so you can make an informed decision.
An Overview Of Torpedo Grass
What is torpedo grass, you ask? How about a faster-growing, tougher version of its cousin, st. Augustine? Also called giant feather grass and gulf cordgrass, torpedo grass grows in clumps with thicker leaves and wider blades than st. Augustine grass.
While it’s best suited for warmer climates and can tolerate saltwater better than any other common turfgrass species, torpedo grass can be planted in virtually any area as long as you water it well during its first growing season (st. Augustine needs time to get acclimated).
It also produces more sand-based thatch than st. Augustine does – so while st. Here are a few more fun facts about the king of lawns:
- Torpedograss is salt-tolerant grass that can withstand periods of drought without browning out like other lawn grasses. In fact, it’s more resistant to drought than st. Augustine is – but it’s not a good choice for areas with consistently high rainfall, as it tends to get muddy and clumpy when it gets too much water. It also has a higher tolerance for saltwater than st.
- Torpedograss is a warm-weather grass that grows best in USDA zones 8 to 11 (coastal areas), but it can be grown as far north as zone 5 with proper care. It also has a higher tolerance for heat than st. Augustine does, so it’s a good choice for warmer climates and areas that tend to experience more extreme temperatures during certain times of the year.
- Torpedograss is not a good choice for areas that see a lot of foot traffic, as it’s not as soft underfoot as st. Augustine is – which means it can be uncomfortable to walk on when it’s wet and cold outside.
An Overview On St. Augustine Grass
If you’re familiar with warm-season turf grasses, then chances are you’ve heard of St. Augustine grass before-it’s one of our favorites.
This type of lawn is highly versatile and adaptable to a wide range of growing conditions, making it an ideal choice for many homeowners across America.
Easy to care for and low-maintenance, it also thrives in warmer climates and produces some truly fantastic-looking lawns. Here are a few more fun facts about the king of lawns:
- It’s actually a warm-season grass, meaning it grows best in warmer temperatures (65-85 degrees Fahrenheit). If you live in an area that experiences cooler winters, you might want to consider another type of grass, like Bermuda.
- It’s a hybrid between two types of Bermuda grasses-Cynodon dactylon and C. transvaalensis-and was created in Florida by Dr. Wooten Wells around 1900. The name St. Augustine is a tribute to its birthplace-the city of St. Augustine, Florida.
- It has a finer texture than most other types of grass, which means it won’t get as hot during those long summer days and will be more comfortable to walk on barefoot. It also holds up well against foot traffic and is known for its excellent wear resistance.
- It’s not a good choice for shady areas, but if you live in an area that gets plenty of sunlight throughout the day, then you should consider planting some St. Augustine grass. If you do choose to plant it, make sure to keep it well-watered-it needs plenty of water to thrive.
Talk About Difficulty of Each Type to Grow
Before you decide to plant either type of grass, make sure you have a full understanding of how long each variety takes to grow and how difficult it is to maintain it. For instance, a common misconception about torpedo grass is that it grows from seed, which isn’t true.
Instead, torpedo grass spreads through rhizomes – underground stems – and can take three years to fully spread throughout your lawn. In contrast, st. Augustine grass spreads through seeds, making it much easier to establish in your yard than torpedo grass.
In addition, st. Augustine is hardier than torpedo; while both varieties are considered warm-season plants, st. Augustine will survive colder temperatures better than a torpedo. Because of these factors, many homeowners choose to plant st. Augustine over torpedo grass for their yards.
How Long Will It Take For Results To Show?
It depends on a variety of factors, but we found that it took about two to three weeks for both types of grass to be noticeable when planted along existing turf in a 20-by-20 foot area.
When you’re considering a whole lawn (between 5,000 and 7,500 square feet), you should expect to wait about one month for results-though, of course, it will vary depending on weather conditions and other variables like sunlight and water frequency.
Final Thought On What Is the Best Option For You
Well, that depends on your location, budget, and needs for lawn care. If you have sandy soil or live in a region with extreme temperatures, such as Arizona or Florida, then it would be a good idea to go with torpedo grass (Stenotaphrum secundatum) because of its resilience in heat and drought conditions.
However, if you’re looking for a lush green lawn year-round or want an option that requires less maintenance, then St. Augustine is likely your best bet. Both options are great choices when compared to traditional turfgrass varieties; they require less water and fertilizer while still providing color throughout much of the year.