Picking out the right grass variety for a lawn is not easy. There is a myriad of options available to choose from that have an equal number of pros.
So which option do you go for? When you start looking at options to make a choice, you can become overwhelmed within seconds.
If you wish to make your decision-making process convenient, you need to learn about the most basic grass categories and then move on to the in-depth classes of grass.
- 1 Geographical Locations
- 2 Warm Season Grasses
- 3 Cool Season Grasses
- 4 Transition Zone Grasses
- 5 Winter Grass (cool-season grasses)
- 6 Summer Grass (Warm Season Grasses)
- 7 All Year Grass
- 8 Best types of lawn by location
- 9 What kind of grass is used for golf terrains?
- 10 Conclusion On The Best Grass For Your Lawn
There are most two broad and basic categories of grass, which are based on the climate.
- Warm Season Grasses
- Cool Season Grasses
Apart from these two categories, there is a third category as well. However, there are not a lot of choices in the third category, which is transitional zone grass.
Warm Season Grasses
Also known as southern grasses, warm-season grasses are best suited for more temperate regions. They don’t have the hardiness that winter grasses have, which is why they don’t grow well during frosty weather.
Warm grasses grow relentlessly from mid to late spring, through summer, and well into fall.
As the warm breeze starts changing into chilly winds, southern grasses start losing their vigor. They turn brown and become dormant.
Warm grasses cannot be fertilized until they have grown enough. This is why landscape professionals recommend that you don’t add manure to your grass until you have mowed it at least twice since the seedlings emerged.
Signs of active growth are essential before you set out to fertilize your lawn grass.
Some common examples of warm-season grasses are Bermuda grass, St. Augustine grass, Centipede grass, Zoysia grass, Bahia grass, and Carpet grass.
Cool Season Grasses
Cool-season grasses are suitable for colder environments.
They have the hardiness to stand the chilly climate. Cool-season grasses are also referred to as northern grasses. Cool-season grasses actively grow during the winter season. Their growth slows down when the chilly weather starts to shift to icy cold weather.
In areas where the winter season is extreme, and the soil freezes up, northern grasses become dormant. They start to take on brown hues too in extremely low temperatures. In considerably low temperatures, in which the ground doesn’t freeze up, northern grasses stay thriving and green all year long.
The most native cool-season grasses are Kentucky bluegrass, Fescues, Bentgrass, and Ryegrasses.
Transition Zone Grasses
The transition zone doesn’t have a grass type that’s exclusively assigned to it. A mix and match of warm and cool grasses work well for this zone.
Since this zone encounters a variety of climates and shifting weather conditions, the ground greens grown in this region need to have the qualities of both types of grasses.
When you plant a mixture of warm grass seeds and cold grass seeds, you are ensuring that some of them would survive in a particular climate at some point in time.
The unpredictability of the transitional zone is the reason why there is no specific grass type in this category. However, some landscape experts may put all-year grasses in the transition zone category.
Now that we have discussed the basic traits of the three types of grass, let’s go through the different varieties in each category in detail.
Winter Grass (cool-season grasses)
The most common types of winter grasses are.
1) Fescue Grass
Fescue grass is known for its resilience. It’s not just shade or drought-tolerant; but it is capable of bearing a spectrum of harsh environmental conditions.
It has sharp, thin blades; however, its texture is similar to that of hair. Some species of fescue grass stay green throughout the year. And even though it belongs to the category of cool-season grasses, it can survive in warm temperatures too.
Fescue grass has multiple subtypes.
Tall fescue is a bunch type grass that sprouts from seeds. It’s super dense and coarsely bladed. It’s the perfect pick for shady lawns. Tall fescue comes with a deeply penetrating root system, which makes it resilient to drought.
It stays green all year long and can endure intense wear and tear. For lawns that get heavy foot traffic, tall fescue is one of the leading options.
Creeping Red Fescue
Creeping red fescue requires relatively cooler temperatures than other fescue species to survive. It comes with long narrow blades that run deep into the soil.
It works well in shady spaces in colder areas, but it is used in combination with other grass species. The most well-known partners of red fescue are tall fescue, bluegrass, and perennial ryegrass.
It’s a low maintenance option and the best variety to overseed lawns. It spreads through the empty spaces between already existing grass and takes up soil space to penetrate the ground.
Even if you don’t want to have it as the main grass in your lawn, you can still use it, give your grass filed a fuller look.
Chewings fescue greatly resembles tall fescue, but it is different from the latter in some aspects. It has a fine texture and grows upright, unlike the chewing red fescue variety.
It’s a bunch type grass like the tall fescue, but its ability to thrive in low fertility soils is off the charts.
Chewings fescue cannot stand wear and tear, even though it is drought and shade resilient. For lawns with heavy foot traffic, chewings fescue is not the ideal choice.
However, it works well when established with other grass species. And that is why people like to grow chewings fescue with other grass seeds.
The best aspect of growing chewings fescue is that you can trim it down to shallow heights. With a sharp mower, chewings fescue can be easily mown into short, clipped grass hedges.
Hard fescue is the toughest of the fescue lot. It’s the most droughts and disease resilient of them all. It grows in clumps and can withstand the atrocities of extreme weather. It can conveniently grow inside shady spaces.
Hard fescue is colored in bluish-green hues, and it stays green all year long. One drawback of growing hard fescue is that it cannot be cut as lower as other fescue varieties.
Even so, it’s a low maintenance grass type, and the only fescue that’s salt tolerant.
2) Kentucky bluegrass
Kentucky bluegrass is found in the northern regions of America. It cannot endure harsh climatic conditions; however, in moderate temperatures, it thrives. It needs a mixture of sunlight and cold winds to grow.
It has a deep greenish appearance, but sometimes it can come in blue shades as well. It has a dry texture, and the blades of Kentucky bluegrass are coarse.
The root system of Kentucky bluegrass is well spread under the ground. An intense root system is what makes this variety of grass durable and thick. Even though Kentucky bluegrass is not tolerant of harsh temperatures, it can stand wear and heavy foot traffic.
Ryegrass bears a shiny texture, and its blades are long with visible veins. It is not too high maintenance. However, you need to trim them with sharp leaf edges.
Otherwise, ryegrass starts to shred on its own. It’s typically used in combination with other grass species.
The most common ryegrass species is Perennial ryegrass.
Perennial ryegrass is a cool-season grass and can only adapt to mild temperatures. It doesn’t sustain in freezing temperatures. It’s a bunch grass and exhibits little ability to spread far and wide.
Summer Grass (Warm Season Grasses)
The most common summer grasses are.
1. Bermuda grass
Since it’s a type of summer grass, it’s found in the southern regions of the United States of America.
Bermuda grass cannot just survive scorching heat, but it can also stand cooler temperatures.
One of the most attractive features of Bermuda grass is the ability to go through intense trimming sessions.
It can be trimmed into really short clippings, which is why it’s one of the go-to grass options for golf courses, especially in California.
Bermuda grass requires year-round care. It must be regularly mowed, fertilized, and water.
Considering the technical needs of Bermuda grass, it’s hard to believe that most homeowners choose it for their lawns. But in the southern regions of America, most houses are home to Bermuda grass.
It has a robust root system that doesn’t just run deep into the soil, but also spreads above it. Therefore, it provides lawns with compaction.
Zoysia foliage is sharp and stiff, and it is most common in the eastern parts of America. It requires an abundance of sunlight to growth.
And even with the presence of ample sunshine, Zoysia grass takes a while to grow.
But once it’s fully grown, it becomes sturdy and dense.
Zoysia spits excessive amounts of seeds, which require sporadic cleaning.
Otherwise, it can cause an overabundance of ground foliage, which will make the lawn look unkempt.
Zoysia requires active maintenance for proper growth and good health.
3. Centipede Grass
Just like the insect, centipede grass also needs a humid environment to survive. It is mostly found in the warm regions of southern America.
It spread quickly and multiples above the ground. It has short and broad blades that grow horizontally and keep pests away.
Centipede cannot endure super-hot environments because it needs endless moisture to grow.
Even so, it is considered a low-maintenance variety of grass because it doesn’t have particular needs such as regular fertilization.
4. Bahia Grass
Bahia is the grass of Florida. It’s most commonly found in parts of Florida. It’s durable because of a bunch of reasons. Firstly, it can grow in sandy soils.
Secondly, it has stiff leaves, and lastly, it can stand wear. Its durability makes Bahia the grass for areas around walkways and driveways.
Although Bahia is tough, it still needs a little bit of mowing now and then for healthy growth and appearance.
5. St. Augustine
St Augustine is the go-to grass for lawns in the most southern parts of America, like Texas.
It’s well suited for high temperatures and drought-prone regions. However, it cannot withstand the adverse conditions of colder climates.
St. Augustine has broad blades that make it coarse. It multiples and swiftly spreads above the ground.
The most common type of St. Augustine grass is Floratam.
Floratam has a rough texture owing to its long and wide blades. It multiplies in spring and summer but is not good at surviving inside shady spaces.
Floratam requires a lot of sunlight; some landscape experts believe that it needs up to 6 hours of daylight in a day.
Floratam is colored in dark green hues, which lose their glimmer without sunlight.
All Year Grass
Aside from some fescue grass varieties, most grasses don’t function well throughout the year. Depending on the hardiness of grass, it loses its shine and texture at some point throughout a whole year.
For that reason, Botanists have come up with ornamental grasses that stay healthy all year long and maintain their pristine state with little maintenance.
The most common ornamental grasses for home lawns are.
1. Deer Grass
Deer grass has a dense texture, and it grows in clumps. It can survive little shade but grows vigorously in ample sunlight.
It has bright green sinuous leaves that may lose their color in the winter season. Even though deer grass turns brown in the cold season, it still stands tall throughout.
2. Ice Dance Japanese Sedge ( Carrex Morowil)
Japanese sedge is bi-colored grass that is shaded in green and white. It grows up to 1 foot. Its low maintenance and maintains its vigor throughout the year.
It grows well even in partial shade if the soil supplied to it is well moistened.
3. Mexican Feather Grass
Mexican feather grass is extremely durable as it is drought tolerant. It’s airy, bears thin stalk, and often forms clumps of delicate feathers that look like bouquets.
In the winter season, it loses its color but keeps its slender shape.
Since it produces excessive seeds, it needs to be monitored to avoid overgrowth.
4. Blue Lyme Grass
Even though it’s better suited for containers, its evergreen appearance is still appealing to homeowners, and so it often ends up in lawns.
Its sinuous shapes and thick texture maintains its grace if it’s watered regularly.
Most homeowners grow it in brown pots to contrast the blue color, but it all depends on personal preference.
Best types of lawn by location
When choosing the best kind of grass for your yard, there are many factors to be considered. And the most important of them all is the location of the yard.
As it determines the kind of weather conditions, the grass will have to face all year.
For warmer regions, the best options are St. Augustine grass or zoysia grass. But it’s not a hard and fast rule.
Even in warmer areas, some summer grasses may not do well because of their shade needs. Some grasses can sustain shades, and some cannot.
Another thing that you need to consider when choosing grass seeds is the structure of your lawn as well. That would help you understand how restrained or unrestrained the supply of wind and sunlight is going to be.
For colder regions, fescue varieties work best, because they are not just resistant to lower temperatures, but they can also stand wear and tear.
Find out the region in which your estate falls in and then choose the right type of seasonal grass accordingly.
What kind of grass is used for golf terrains?
The most widely used grasses for golf terrains are Kentucky bluegrass and Perennial ryegrass. They are durable and can bear the harsh conditions of most seasons.
Usually, golfers prefer grasses that can stand low cuttings.
Since golfing requires leveled field with short clippings of grass, grass that can’t be trimmed to short heights may not be fruitful for golf terrains.
Nowadays, one of the leading grass varieties for golf courses is Bermuda grass. It thrives in southern climates and can be cut extremely low without much inconvenience.
Bentgrass is the cool-season equivalent of Bermuda grass. But bentgrass adapts well to northern climates and survives extremely short trimming sessions.
Bentgrass is a cool-season grass that grows horizontally and forms dense golf courses. It needs a humid environment to grow.
Bentgrass grows exceptionally fast in the spring season.
It’s highly prone to disease and can turn muddy brown under intense heat. Bentgrass is also not substantially drought tolerant and can quickly wither without proper care.
Since it requires thorough maintenance, it’s not so common in residential plots and is mostly used in golf clubs.
Conclusion On The Best Grass For Your Lawn
Choosing the right grass type for your lawn is important, because if you fail to make the right call, you might have to scrape the entire field.
All kinds of grass need some amount of TLC (tender love and care); but some might need more than others.
Therefore, you can’t expect them to sway on their own. You need to put in some effort to make them thrive. Hence, you should choose the type which is best for your region and care-taking abilities.