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Memphis Grasses

The main grasses in Memphis are Bermuda grass, Zoysia, and Fescue. All three have special characteristics and require special care. Here at Herbi-Systems we are the experts on these grass treatments in Memphis and have been for more than 30 years. We know communication is the key to a great relationship, that is why we will faithfully provide information on growing these grasses, the best grass seed for Memphis, Tennessee, and more. The more you know about your lawn, the better prepared you will be in making the right decision.

Bermuda Grass in Memphis

Taking good care of your Bermuda grass is worth the effort and does not require long hours. A lawn that is properly mowed, fertilized, and watered has far fewer problems with weeds, diseases, and insects. A well-kept lawn also remains dense and attractive, providing more enjoyment with environmental benefits.

Mowing Bermuda Grass

In the spring, Herbi-Systems recommends a “buzz cut” for Bermuda. A buzz cut means lowering the mower blade as low as it will go, and then removing the clippings. After that, Herbi-Systems suggests a mowing height of 2.5 to 3.5-inches through the growing season. Slow growth equals less mowing. Mow regularly with a sharp rotary or reel mower, and allow the clippings from frequent mowing to remain on the lawn. Leave the grass taller in fall and winter so that the dormant blade will act as a protective blanket during the coldest months. We recommend the following heights for fall and winter:

  • Common Bermuda grass – 3.0 to 3.5-inches
  • Hybrid Bermuda grass – 2.5 to 3.0-inches

Watering Bermuda Grass

Watering Bermuda grass is not as imperative as watering other grasses. Bermuda grasses in Memphis love the sunlight and are fairly drought resistant. Watering is more important after dry fertilizer has been applied. The granular pellets will need to be watered down into the soil for the best results. As a basic rule, we recommend 1.5-inches of water, two or three times a week. Avoid frequent, shallow watering that results in underdeveloped roots, permitting weed germination and growth. Always water Bermuda thoroughly after fertilization. Bermuda grass can be seeded or sodded in the spring. Many factors can hinder the germination of the seed, and can take longer to establish than sod. Within one growing season, however, it should be fully established.

Interesting Bermuda Grass Facts

Bermuda grass is considered the “South’s Grass,” a favorite in texture and color for all areas of usage. The downside to Bermuda grass is the aggressive quality that also makes it so popular. Flower beds or other adjacent areas can be overrun if not kept in check by constant edging or applications of herbicides. Known as one of the most persistent and aggressive grasses grown, it is very hard to kill after establishment. Bermuda grass is one of the grasses that can “return from the dead” if not completely killed the first time due to its extensive root system. Just digging it up without getting rid of the roots will not solve the problem.

Bermuda Grass vs Fescue Grass

Bermuda grass is coarser in texture, making it better for warmer climates. Whereas Fescue grass is a cool-season grass. The Bermuda grass also has an invasive growth habit and will take over other grasses, unlike Fescue grass.

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Zoysia Grass in Memphis

Zoysia grass, an eco-friendly grass, is popular in the South for its resiliency. The resiliency comes from the Zoysia turf that forms a dense sod by growing stolons or “runners” thus offering more protection against weeds and insects than other grasses. It has fine to medium textured leaves, which provide a thick, cushiony feel of lush carpet.

Mowing Zoysia Grass

Spring is the time to buzz cut Zoysia grass. Mow the lawn as low as the mower will permit and remove the clippings before a cold spell. This action will allow the sun to warm the ground and encourages a green lawn in a shorter amount of time. We then recommend a mowing height for Zoysia of 1.5 to 2-inches. Periodically, mowing in a different direction may be needed to control thatch accumulation.

Watering Zoysia Grass

Watering your Zoysia lawn is similar to watering a Bermuda grass lawn. We recommend .75-inches of water for a deep soaking every four to seven days. Deep watering encourages a deep, healthy root system during dry or hot periods. Avoid frequent, shallow watering that results in underdeveloped roots, permitting weed germination and growth. Always water Zoysia grass thoroughly after fertilization.

Seeding or Sodding Zoysia Grass

Varieties of Zoysia grass have different textures ranging from coarse to fine. Newer varieties can now be planted from seed, which in the past were only propagated through Zoysia sod, sprigs, and plugs. Lawns planted with sprigs or plugs may take up to two years to fully develop into the thick density that a Zoysia grass lawn is capable of producing. Lawns with Zoysia sod in Memphis will be quicker to establish than sprigs or plugs and under ideal conditions can be established in five months. After Zoysia grass becomes established, the aggressive, dense growth will crowd out weeds and other grasses. In the South, Zoysia grass has good shade tolerance, making it well-suited for areas with at least six hours of sun. Herbi-Systems generally uses Zoysia sod in April.

Interesting Zoysia Grass Facts

The growth pattern of the Zoysia grass leaves makes it suited for higher traffic locations but is sometimes uncomfortable for bare feet. Zoysia grass withstands heavy usage after full establishment. High-density Zoysia sodding makes this grass well-suited for use on lawns during summer growth months. Zoysia grass can form thatch but doesn’t attract as much disease and insect damage as some of the other warm-season grasses. It has good drought resistance once established and becomes a dense, thick turf that crowds out weeds after several mowings. With the onset of the first cold snap, it will go dormant, turning golden brown. Zoysia grass makes one of the most beautiful, carpeted lawns when fully established.

Zoysia vs Bermuda Grass

Zoysia grass grows best when in light to medium sunlight, whereas Bermuda grass prefers direct sunlight. Another difference is that Zoysia grass holds its color better than Bermuda grass does. While Bermuda grass is more drought-resistant, Zoysia will hold onto its gorgeous green color longer.

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Fescue Grass in Memphis

Fescue is a popular grass to remedy stunted growth in shaded areas. As a cool-season grass, it has a completely different maintenance plan from Bermuda grass or Zoysia grass. Fescue requires about four hours of sunlight per day.

Mowing Fescue Grass

Fescue grass should be mowed to a height of about 4-inches. This particular grass will continue to grow throughout the fall and winter and should remain green.

Watering Fescue Grass

Watering your Fescue grass is very important for longevity. As a general rule, Fescue grass needs to be watered at least two times a week. In the hotter months, you will need to water more frequently. Fescue grass can enter summer dormancy if no water is available. If you have recently seeded Fescue grass, you will need to water it two times daily until the seeds germinate.

Seeding or Sodding Fescue Grass

Fescue grass seeding is usually scheduled in September and October. It is not advisable to seed Fescue grass in the spring. Being a cool-season grass, the Fescue would struggle to survive a hot summer. You may over-seed areas in early spring, but it is more cost-effective to seed in the fall. Fescue sod in Memphis is also available for immediate results. Herbi-Systems recommends re-seeding thin or bare areas each year. Call our office for a free manager inspection and price quote for Fescue seeding. Although Fescue grass is shade tolerant, it still needs at least four to six hours of sunlight to survive. Fescue grass could possibly become heat-stressed or drought-stricken in full sun (seven to 12 hours). Also, Fescue grass does not grow well under building shade.

Interesting Fescue Grass Facts

Fescue grass does not repair itself easily or spread on its own. Weeds will need to be controlled with completely different products, as compared to Bermuda grass or Zoysia grass, to protect it from damage. Also, Fescue grass needs to be fertilized at different times of the year. Herbi-Systems has developed an Exclusive Fescue Program to maintain the health and appearance of your Fescue grass. Call 901.382.LAWN or email us at for more details.

Fescue Grass vs Zoysia Grass

Fescue grass can tolerate more shade than Zoysia grass can and does better in cooler temperatures. However, Zoysia can handle more wear and drought conditions than Fescue grass can. 

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Helpful Hints on Mowing

Mowing properly is just as important as watering and fertilizing. Proper mowing practices can greatly enhance your turf.

Mowing Schedule

Your mowing schedule should be based on the growth rate of the grass, not on the calendar. Mowing on a 5-day schedule will reduce the need for bagging or raking and help your lawn retain its color.

Mowing Procedure

It is recommended to change direction with each mowing.

Mower Blade

The single most important requirement for proper mowing is to make sure your mower blade is sharp. Sharpen your mower blade once each month. You’ll really notice the difference.


Bagging is not recommended because valuable nitrogen in the grass clippings will be lost. If you mow on a proper schedule and at proper heights, bagging should not be necessary. If your lawn has balanced nutrients and the proper pH, thatch buildup should not occur in most lawns, although some thatch buildup could occur in Zoysia lawns.

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Helpful Hints on Watering

Early Spring

Generally, we receive enough rain this time of the year to take care of any watering that is necessary. But if it does not rain within one week after your application is done, your lawn will need to be watered.


Should it not rain, you will need to water your lawn within one week after your application. Water infrequently, but deeply. The water needs to soak 4 to 6-inches into the ground to encourage a deep root system. Too much water can cause problems, such as increasing the chance of fungus, or runoff, and leaching of nutrients. Morning to midday is the best time to water.


Deep watering to a soil depth of at least 6-inches is recommended. Light watering is of little benefit and can actually harm your lawn.


Your lawn needs water during the winter months for the roots to remain healthy. Adequate watering will protect the roots from drying out and becoming damaged during a hard freeze (which is known as “winter kill”). Your lawn will need water if it has not rained in two to three weeks.

Lawn Care Memberships & Associations

National Association of Landscape Professionals
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