Bermuda Grass vs. St. Augustine Grass

What's the Difference?

Bermuda Grass and St. Augustine Grass are two popular types of warm-season grasses commonly used for lawns. Bermuda Grass is known for its excellent heat and drought tolerance, making it a popular choice in hot and arid regions. It has a fine texture and spreads aggressively through above-ground runners, allowing it to quickly fill in bare spots. On the other hand, St. Augustine Grass is known for its shade tolerance and ability to thrive in humid climates. It has a coarser texture and spreads through both above-ground runners and below-ground stolons. While Bermuda Grass requires more maintenance, including regular mowing and fertilization, St. Augustine Grass is more susceptible to diseases and pests. Ultimately, the choice between the two depends on the specific climate, soil conditions, and desired lawn characteristics.


AttributeBermuda GrassSt. Augustine Grass
Growth HabitCreepingStoloniferous
Drought ToleranceHighModerate
Shade ToleranceLowHigh
Mowing Height0.5-1.5 inches2-4 inches
Leaf TextureFineCoarse
Winter HardinessGoodPoor
Water RequirementsLow to ModerateModerate to High

Further Detail


When it comes to choosing the right type of grass for your lawn, there are several factors to consider. Two popular options are Bermuda grass and St. Augustine grass. Both of these warm-season grasses have their own unique attributes that make them suitable for different environments and preferences. In this article, we will compare the attributes of Bermuda grass and St. Augustine grass to help you make an informed decision for your lawn.

Appearance and Texture

Bermuda grass, scientifically known as Cynodon dactylon, is a fine-textured grass that forms a dense, lush carpet-like appearance. It has a medium to dark green color and a soft texture. The leaves of Bermuda grass are narrow and pointed, giving it a distinct look. On the other hand, St. Augustine grass, scientifically known as Stenotaphrum secundatum, has a broader leaf blade and a coarser texture compared to Bermuda grass. It has a vibrant green color and a dense growth pattern, providing a lush and tropical appearance to the lawn.

Growth Habits

Bermuda grass is known for its aggressive growth habit. It spreads through above-ground stolons and below-ground rhizomes, allowing it to quickly fill in bare spots and recover from damage. This makes Bermuda grass an excellent choice for high-traffic areas and lawns that experience heavy use. St. Augustine grass, on the other hand, spreads through above-ground stolons only. While it may not recover as quickly from damage as Bermuda grass, it still has a good ability to repair itself and fill in bare areas over time.

Drought Tolerance

When it comes to drought tolerance, Bermuda grass has the upper hand. It is highly drought-resistant and can survive extended periods of dry weather without irrigation. Bermuda grass has deep roots that allow it to access water from deeper soil layers, making it more resilient during drought conditions. St. Augustine grass, on the other hand, is less drought-tolerant and requires regular watering to maintain its lush appearance. It has a shallow root system, which makes it more susceptible to drought stress.

Tolerance to Heat and Sunlight

Both Bermuda grass and St. Augustine grass thrive in full sun and warm climates. However, Bermuda grass has a higher tolerance to heat and sunlight compared to St. Augustine grass. Bermuda grass can withstand intense heat and direct sunlight without significant damage, making it an ideal choice for areas with long, hot summers. St. Augustine grass, on the other hand, may struggle in extreme heat and can develop brown patches if exposed to prolonged periods of intense sunlight. It prefers partial shade and performs best in areas with milder summers.

Tolerance to Cold and Frost

When it comes to cold tolerance, St. Augustine grass has the advantage. It can withstand colder temperatures and light frosts better than Bermuda grass. St. Augustine grass can remain green during mild winters, while Bermuda grass tends to go dormant and turn brown. However, it's important to note that St. Augustine grass is still not as cold-tolerant as cool-season grasses, and severe freezes can damage it. If you live in an area with harsh winters, Bermuda grass may be a better choice as it can recover more quickly in the spring.

Maintenance Requirements

In terms of maintenance, both Bermuda grass and St. Augustine grass have their own specific needs. Bermuda grass requires regular mowing to keep it at an optimal height of around 1-2 inches. It has a rapid growth rate during the summer months, necessitating more frequent mowing. St. Augustine grass, on the other hand, has a slower growth rate and requires less frequent mowing. It is typically maintained at a height of 2-4 inches. Both grasses benefit from regular fertilization and proper irrigation to promote healthy growth and prevent weed invasion.

Adaptability and Soil Preferences

Bermuda grass is highly adaptable and can thrive in a wide range of soil types, including sandy, loamy, and clay soils. It has good salt tolerance, making it suitable for coastal areas. St. Augustine grass, on the other hand, prefers well-draining soils with a slightly acidic pH. It can tolerate some salt spray but is less salt-tolerant than Bermuda grass. St. Augustine grass is also more sensitive to soil compaction and may struggle in heavy clay soils.

Invasive Potential

One aspect to consider when choosing between Bermuda grass and St. Augustine grass is their invasive potential. Bermuda grass has a more aggressive growth habit and can quickly invade flower beds, gardens, and other areas where it is not desired. It requires regular maintenance and edging to prevent it from spreading beyond its designated area. St. Augustine grass, on the other hand, has a less invasive nature and is generally easier to control. However, it can still spread into adjacent areas if not properly maintained.


In conclusion, both Bermuda grass and St. Augustine grass have their own unique attributes that make them suitable for different lawn environments. Bermuda grass is known for its aggressive growth, drought tolerance, and heat resistance, making it ideal for high-traffic areas and hot climates. St. Augustine grass, on the other hand, offers a lush and tropical appearance, better cold tolerance, and is less invasive. Consider the specific characteristics of your lawn, climate, and maintenance preferences to make an informed decision on which grass type will best suit your needs.

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