Zoysia vs. St. Augustine Grass: Making the Right Choice for Your Lawn


October 19, 2023


For homeowners and landscapers, choosing the right grass type can be a complex decision. The choice involves considerations about climate, soil type, maintenance level, and aesthetic preference. Among the myriad of grass choices available, two stand out for their popularity in the southern U.S. states: Zoysia and St. Augustine. Both have unique benefits and limitations. If you are looking at Zoysia vs St. Augustine, we are here to help. Let’s dive into how to decide between the two.

Understanding the Basics:

  1. Zoysia Grass:
  • Climate: Zoysia is heat-tolerant but can also withstand cooler temperatures better than some other warm-season grasses.
  • Texture: It has a fine to medium texture, which can give lawns a smooth and manicured appearance.
  • Growth: It grows relatively slowly, spreading through stolons and rhizomes.
  • Maintenance: Requires less frequent mowing than some other grasses due to its slow growth.
  1. St. Augustine Grass:
  • Climate: St. Augustine thrives in coastal areas with warm, humid climates.
  • Texture: This grass has a coarse, wide leaf blade, giving it a distinct appearance.
  • Growth: It spreads quickly through stolons, which can be an advantage if you’re looking for rapid lawn coverage.
  • Maintenance: It requires a moderate amount of maintenance and can be more susceptible to certain pests.

Key Considerations When Making Your Choice:

  1. Climate and Location:
  • If you live in a coastal region with high salinity, St. Augustine might be a better choice due to its salt tolerance.
  • If your region experiences mild frost or slightly cooler temperatures, Zoysia’s resilience in the face of occasional cold snaps could be a better fit.
  1. Aesthetic Preferences:
  • Those looking for a finely manicured and soft lawn texture might prefer Zoysia.
  • If you’re fond of a dense carpet-like feel with broader blades, St. Augustine will be your go-to.
  1. Watering Needs:
  • St. Augustine generally requires more water than Zoysia, making the latter a potential choice for homeowners interested in water conservation or living in regions with water restrictions.
  1. Shade Tolerance:
  • If your lawn has significant shade due to trees or structures, St. Augustine, especially the ‘Palmetto’ or ‘Seville’ varieties, has superior shade tolerance.
  • While some Zoysia variants like ‘Emerald’ offer decent shade resistance, they typically need more sun than St. Augustine.
  1. Traffic Tolerance:
  • For yards that experience heavy foot traffic, Zoysia’s durability might be a better option.
  • While St. Augustine can recover quickly due to its rapid growth, its blades are less resistant to consistent trampling.
  1. Disease and Pest Resistance:
  • Zoysia tends to have fewer problems with pests than St. Augustine. However, it’s not immune. Both can experience issues with pests like chinch bugs or fungal diseases, but St. Augustine might require more vigilant monitoring and treatment.
  1. Installation and Establishment:
  • If you’re looking for a grass type that establishes quickly, St. Augustine’s rapid growth can cover a lawn in less time than Zoysia.
  • However, Zoysia’s slow and steady establishment can lead to fewer long-term maintenance issues, as it’s less aggressive than St. Augustine.


Both Zoysia and St. Augustine are exceptional choices for warm climates, and each brings its own charm and benefits. Your decision should be based on your specific requirements and preferences. Whether it’s the refined elegance of a Zoysia lawn or the lush, rapid coverage of St. Augustine, understanding their distinct characteristics will ensure your lawn thrives in its environment and aligns with your lifestyle.

If you are interested in a comparison between Bermuda grass and St. Augustine, check out this article.