St. Augustine grass is a popular choice for lawns in the Southern United States. Two of the most common cultivars are Floratam and Palmetto. While they share many similarities, there are some key differences that homeowners should be aware of when deciding which one to plant in their yard.
Floratam is a taller St. Augustine grass with a wider blade than Palmetto. It is known for its high tolerance to heat and drought, making it a popular choice for areas with hot and dry climates.
However, Floratam requires more frequent mowing than Palmetto and is more susceptible to chinch bugs and fungus. Palmetto, on the other hand, is a semi-dwarf grass that doesn’t grow as tall as most St. Augustine varieties.
This means less mowing is required, and it is more resistant to chinch bugs and fungus. Palmetto also has a higher shade tolerance than Floratam, making it a good choice for yards with lots of trees or other shade-providing structures.
St Augustine Floratam Vs Palmetto: Overview
St. Augustine grass is a popular turfgrass that is commonly used in sub-tropical and tropical regions, including Africa. It is a warm-season grass that is known for its thick, lush appearance and ability to grow in a wide range of soil types.
There are several varieties of St. Augustine grass, each with its own unique characteristics. Floratam and Palmetto are two of the most popular varieties used in the Southern US. Floratam is the most common
St. Augustine grass in Florida and is known for its durability and disease resistance. Palmetto, on the other hand, is known for its shade tolerance and deep green color.
St. Augustine grass is best suited for sub-tropical and tropical climates, where it can thrive in warm temperatures and high humidity. It is a low-maintenance grass that requires regular watering and fertilization to maintain its health and appearance.
Floratam Vs Palmetto: A Comparison
Floratam and Palmetto are two popular cultivars of St. Augustine grass that are commonly used in lawns and landscapes. Both of these grasses have their unique characteristics that make them suitable for different environments.
One of the most noticeable differences between Floratam and Palmetto is their appearance. Floratam has a lighter green color, while Palmetto is darker and more emerald-green.
Another difference is that Floratam’s stolons, which are above-ground runners that cover the soil’s surface, are purplish-red in color, while Palmetto’s stolons are green.
Palmetto is known for its excellent shade tolerance, making it an ideal choice for lawns with trees or other structures that block sunlight. Floratam, on the other hand, is less tolerant of shade and requires more sunlight to thrive.
Both Floratam and Palmetto have good drought tolerance, but Floratam is slightly more drought-resistant than Palmetto. Floratam also has a deeper root system, which helps it access water and nutrients from deeper in the soil.
Floratam has a reputation for being more disease-resistant than Palmetto, which makes it a good choice for lawns in areas with high disease pressure.
However, both grasses can be susceptible to certain diseases, such as brown patch and gray leaf spot.
Appearance and Texture
Floratam and Palmetto are two of the most popular cultivars of St. Augustine grass in the Southern US. While they have many similarities, they also have a few key differences in their appearance and texture.
One of the most noticeable differences between Floratam and Palmetto is their color. Palmetto is often described as having an emerald-green color, while Floratam is lighter green.
Floratam has a darker yet subdued green color that almost borders on gray-green. Both cultivars have good color retention, but Palmetto may be slightly better in this regard.
Another difference between Floratam and Palmetto is their blade width. Floratam has broader and longer leaves compared to Palmetto. Floratam also has a coarser texture, while Palmetto grass has a softer and finer texture.
In terms of appearance, Palmetto grass has a more vibrant hue, while Floratam has a darker yet subdued green color that almost borders on gray-green.
Read Also: How To Get Rid of St Augustine Grass
Climate and Soil Requirements
Both Floratam and Palmetto St. Augustine grasses require warm temperatures and full sun to grow well. They are both adapted to the warm and humid climate of the southern United States, making them popular choices for lawns in Florida and other southern states.
When it comes to soil, Floratam is more tolerant of alkaline soil than Palmetto. Floratam can grow in soil with a pH range of 5.0 to 8.5, while Palmetto prefers a pH range of 6.0 to 7.5. Floratam also prefers well-drained soil with good fertility, while Palmetto can tolerate a wider range of soil conditions, including clay soil.
In terms of climatic conditions, Floratam is more susceptible to cold temperatures and frost damage than Palmetto. Palmetto can tolerate colder temperatures and is more resistant to frost damage, making it a better choice for areas with colder winters.
Overall, both Floratam and Palmetto St. Augustine grasses are great choices for lawns in warm and humid climates with full sun exposure. Floratam is more sensitive to soil pH and colder temperatures, while Palmetto is more adaptable to a wider range of soil and climatic conditions.
Maintenance and Care
Maintaining and caring for St. Augustine grass is essential for keeping it healthy and looking its best. Regular maintenance includes mowing, watering, and fertilizing.
Mowing should be done at a height of 2-3 inches for both Floratam and Palmetto varieties. Mowing too short can damage the grass and make it more susceptible to pests and diseases. It is recommended to mow the grass every 7-10 days during the growing season.
Watering is important for St. Augustine grass, but overwatering can cause problems. Both Floratam and Palmetto require about 1 inch of water per week, either from rainfall or irrigation. It is best to water deeply and infrequently, rather than shallowly and frequently, to encourage deep root growth.
Fertilization is also important for maintaining healthy St. Augustine grass. Both Floratam and Palmetto require regular applications of nitrogen fertilizer, typically every 6-8 weeks during the growing season. It is important not to over-fertilize, as this can lead to excessive growth and thatch buildup.
Disease and Pest Resistance
Both Floratam and Palmetto St. Augustine grasses are known for their excellent disease and pest resistance. Floratam is particularly resistant to chinch bugs, while Palmetto is known for its resistance to fungal diseases such as brown patch.
In addition, both grasses are resistant to the SAD virus, a common problem in St. Augustine grasses. Floratam has also been found to be resistant to lethal viral necrosis (LVN), a disease that affects many other St. Augustine grasses.
While both Floratam and Palmetto are relatively resistant to pests and diseases, they may still be susceptible to sod webworms and glyphosate herbicides. It is important to properly care for and maintain both grasses to ensure optimal health and resistance to pests and diseases.
Tolerance and Resistance
In terms of shade tolerance, Palmetto is known to perform better than Floratam. Palmetto has been specifically designed to thrive in shaded areas, making it an ideal choice for homeowners with yards that have many trees or other structures that block sunlight. Floratam, on the other hand, requires at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day to grow well.
When it comes to drought tolerance, Floratam is the better choice. This grass is more resistant to drought than Palmetto, meaning that it requires less water to maintain its health.
Floratam’s stolons, which are above-ground runners that cover the soil’s surface, are also more resistant to drying out than Palmetto’s stolons.
In terms of wear tolerance, Palmetto is the clear winner. This grass can withstand heavy foot traffic and other forms of wear and tear better than Floratam. Palmetto’s leaves are also broader and thicker, which gives it a more robust appearance and makes it more resistant to damage.
Both Floratam and Palmetto have good cold tolerance, making them suitable for use in most regions of the United States. However, Palmetto is slightly more cold-tolerant than Floratam, making it a better choice for homeowners in areas with harsh winters.
In conclusion, Floratam and Palmetto are two popular varieties of St. Augustine grass that are widely used in Florida. While Floratam is more resistant to St. Augustine Decline (SAD) and has a darker green color, Palmetto has finer blades and is more resistant to cold, frost, heat, and drought.
Both varieties have their own unique characteristics and are suitable for different environments and preferences. Ultimately, the choice between Floratam and Palmetto will depend on factors such as climate, soil type, maintenance requirements, and aesthetic preferences.