Types of Lawn Grass and How to Grow Them
Although the word ‘garden’ paints a picture before one’s eyes of trees, bushes, shrubs, and vines, there is one very important component of a garden without which a garden is incomplete – the lawn!
A lawn lets the homeowner and their family relax, play games, throw parties and picnics, and enjoy an overall good time together. A lush green lawn is surely the pride of a garden.
While planning a garden, the gardener should essentially consider the lawn along with trees and bushes. While considering the lawn, there are so many factors to think through, including the types of grass, the most suitable types to suit one’s region, how to grow them, how to maintain them in the top shape, diseases, and pests to avoid, and more.
Lawn grasses can be primarily divided into cool-season grasses and warm-season grasses.
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Warm-season Lawn Grasses
Warm-season grasses originate from tropical regions. Hence they do well in the scorching sun and high temperatures, thus thrive well in southern regions which receive high summer temperatures.
They flourish on summer heat, but can’t tolerate northern winters. They grow best when temperatures range from 75 to 90°F and their most growth takes place in summer, whereas in the cooler climate of late fall and winter, they turn brown, go dormant, and green up again only in spring when warmer weather returns.
Bermuda grass is popular as lawn grass mainly because of its outstanding heat and drought tolerance and its capability to withstand heavy use and quick self-repair. However, it has particular climate requirements which bring limitations on its widespread use.
Bermuda grass is a warm-season grass suitable for southern lawns. It requires full sun and good drainage. Although it has excellent tolerance to heat, drought, traffic, and salt, it has high requirements for maintenance and nutrients too.
Established as one of the leading lawn grasses in southern states since 1807, Bermuda grass originally belonged to tropical and subtropical countries. Being perennial, it keeps coming back year after year if the climate is favorable. It grows vigorously from late spring to the hot summer months.
Bermuda grass is less tolerant to cold than cool-season grasses like Tall Fescue or warm-season Zoysia grass. This restricts its usage in the north of the ‘transition zone’. But it’s the main lawn choice in the south of that region, i.e., from the Atlantic through southern states into California.
When it gets full direct sun and good drainage, Bermuda grass thrives well. Besides being highly resistant to heat, humidity, and salt, Bermuda is extremely drought-tolerant as well. Although most of its roots stay within 6 inches of the soil surface, they can even reach a depth of 6 feet or more. Such a root system offers it more strength against environmental challenges than other warm-season grasses.
The growth rate of Bermuda grass is the highest among common warm-season grasses. This is due to its feature of having both – above-ground stems called stolons and underground stems are known as rhizomes.
Due to this vigorous growth pattern, Bermuda grass is tough to control but also has the capability to tolerate heavy use. It also heals itself much more quickly than most other grasses. This makes it the first choice for golf course tee areas, golf fairways, and athletic fields all through southern regions.
If the climate is frost-free, Bermuda grass remains green all through winter. However, in many of its growing regions, it remains dormant and brown in winter. Its dormancy often begins earlier and lasts longer than other warm-season grasses.
To keep Bermuda grass lawns looking green in winter, gardeners in the South over-seed it with cool-season ryegrass. This way, the lawn keeps looking green even in winter. When the temperature returns in summer, ryegrass dies out, and Bermuda grass starts looking lush green again.
How to Grow Bermuda Grass?
Bermuda grass is ideal for the United States Department of Agriculture Zones 7 to 10. The best time to plant this grass is the spring once temperatures are consistently warm, i.e., usually in March or April in warmer regions.
Bermuda is not very fussy about soil conditions and will even tolerate salty soils, thus, it’s ideal even for coastal regions. This grass prefers full sun but tolerates some shade too.
Once Bermuda used to be grown only from sprigs or sod, but now it’s widely grown from seed. Using 1 pound (0.45 kg) of hulled Bermuda grass seed per 1,000 sq. feet (93 sq. m.) gives the best results. Seeds germinate quickly, and the grass is quite challenging to control once it starts growing.
The gardener should create a mixture of equal parts of seed and sand. They can broadcast the seed by a spreader or by hand if the area is small. It’s better to distribute half the mixture lengthwise and the remaining half crosswise to avoid skips in the lawns.
Bermuda Grass Maintenance
Maintenance of Bermuda grass is not very difficult. The gardener has to water lightly while the grass is establishing and once it’s established, watering frequency can be reduced. However, the quantity of water per session should be increased. When there is no significant rainfall, the grass will need 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water per week.
Once the grass reaches 2 inches (5 cm) in height, the gardener can mow it with a sharp blade. Mowing will help the grass strengthen up and spread.
The gardener should fertilize the grass 6 weeks after planting with a complete fertilizer that will slowly release nitrogen. In the fall, they should apply pre-emergence weed control.
For more about this topic, feel free to check the following:
- Everything About Bermuda Grass
- Bermuda Grass Mowing Height and Frequency
- Best Fertilizer for Bermuda Grass
- Bermuda Grass Seed Heads: Why And What To Do?
- How To Make Bermuda Grass Thicker?
St. Augustine Grass
St. Augustine grass is a popular lawn grass all through the Gulf Coast, particularly in Florida, due to its excellent resilience and resistance to heat and humidity. Its growth is slow and leaves are wide, coarse with slightly rounded tips and dark green in color.
However, it forms a thick lawn that establishes fast and with ease. It can tolerate salt and can also grow in sandy soil, thus is an excellent option for coastal yards. It needs frequent watering and can withstand heavy rainfall common to the southeastern part of the United States.
Although St. Augustine grass is not very soft and pleasurable to the feet as some other types of grasses are, during a drought, it maintains its color longer than Zoysia grass or Bermuda grass, which normally go dormant in droughts.
Due to its coarse texture, St. Augustine grass is hardly used for golf course fairways. Also, due to its low wear tolerance, it’s also not a preferred choice for other sports fields. Therefore it’s mainly used for home or business lawns.
How to Grow St. Augustine Grass?
While St. Augustine grass is not very cold tolerant, it can grow in a wide array of soil types.
St. Augustine grass doesn’t produce sufficient seeds to be sold commercially. Hence planting plugs of an already established St. Augustine lawn is the easiest way of starting the lawn. Plugs are rooted pieces of sod. They slowly fill in the spaces between them, forming a thick, lovely lawn. Buying St. Augustine sod is also an option, but it can be pricey. St. Augustine grass spreads only via stolons. It doesn’t produce rhizomes. The stolons can grow several feet long and root at their nodes.
St. Augustine grass grows well in warm spring and hot summer when temperatures generally range between 80 and 100°F. One should plant the plugs or sod at least 90 days before the region’s first expected fall frost in full sun. This will give the grass ample time to establish.
St. Augustine Grass Maintenance
St. Augustine grass needs deep watering and if its leaf blades wilt, their color turns blue-gray, or if footprints remain visible after people walk on the lawn, this means the lawn is in need of watering. It’s important to remember that it doesn’t need a lot of water, but it needs a consistent water supply.
So, the lawn should always be kept wet. Even if it’s raining and the gardener stops watering the lawn, they should immediately start watering again when it stops raining.
Regarding fertilizing, the gardener should do a soil test. If it shows that the soil needs nitrogen, the gardener should not apply it too early during the growing period of the St. Augustine lawn, as its root system won’t be fully grown during this period so as to absorb the nutrients.
Also, gardeners should not fertilize too late after the growth has subsided. According to experts, St. Augustine lawns need just 4 to 5 lbs. of nitrogen per 1,000 sq. feet per year. If fertilizer is applied excessively, diseases and problems with thatch can occur.
For more about this topic, feel free to check the following:
Zoysia grass is a warm-season grass suitable for southern and transition zones, well-known for its excellent tolerance to heat, drought, cold, heavy foot traffic, and many other challenges.
It’s well-suited to all southern states, from the hot and humid Southeast to parts of California. It looks beautiful and dense in its optimal growth zones with only a little water and maintenance requirements, although it requires more attention in the transition zone.
Native to Asia, Zoysia grass has been in the U.S. right from when Americans started growing lawns i.e. around 1895. It can be an ideal lawn grass when all factors such as the gardener’s location, usage, and lawn care goals align with its strengths.
Zoysia prefers sun, although it tolerates some light shade unlike sun-loving warm-season grasses like Bermuda grass. Being perennial, it returns every year if the climate is appropriate. Some types of Zoysia grass can be grown only from sod or grass sprigs, whereas some can be grown from seeds. Like all warm-season grasses, Zoysia flourishes in heat and its growth reaches its peaks during the late spring and summer months.
Although the process of establishment of Zoysia is slower than some other lawn grasses, once established it forms a very soft and dense lawn that pleases one’s feet. It spreads via stolons as well as rhizomes. The thick dense growth of Zoysia is especially popular among warm-climate sod producers and households that heavily use their lawns.
Zoysia characteristically stays light to medium green and turns brown in its winter dormancy. However, its green color lasts much longer than Bermuda grass and other warm-season grasses. Some gardeners prefer to maintain green color in winter by over-seeding Zoysia with cool-season ryegrass. However, some others prefer to maintain its straw-like natural color. With the arrival of spring, Zoysia is among the first warm-season grasses to green up again.
Zoysia has a deep root system that can very efficiently conserve moisture and resist drought. It remains green during short droughts; but if the drought and heat last long, it will go dormant. However, if watered, it will soon green up again.
How to Grow Zoysia Grass?
Gardeners can start a Zoysia grass lawn from seed, sod or plugs. It’s slow in growth and hence sod or plugs are used most commonly. But one can even get improved seed products on the market that make starting Zoysia with seeds possible. Gardeners should water the newly started lawn often till it’s established.
It’s a good idea to measure one’s yard before starting the lawn in order to determine the quantities of seed, topsoil, and fertilizer they’d need without running short of supplies or buying extra.
Since Zoysia prefers slightly acidic soil with a pH from 6.0 to 6.5, it’s better to perform a soil test one month before starting the seeding. This will make sure if the soil has the required nutrients. Then depending upon the results, one may have to add nutrients to attain the ideal pH level. One can till the recommended quantity of deficient nutrients into the top 4-6 inches of soil.
Now, one should level the soil surface using a hard rake and remove debris like sticks and rocks. Then with a soft rake, one should create a fine, loose top layer for the seedbed.
Then using a spreader, the gardener should evenly cast the seed across the ground. Using a spreader makes sure to evenly spread the seed so as to avoid overcrowding, and thus low germination rate, or thinning.
One should also make sure that the seed gets direct sunlight as Zoysia germinates best with it; so, one should avoid covering the seeds. Instead one can use a lawn roller over the freshly seeded soil to ensure good soil contact.
Ideal growing conditions will make the seed germinate in 14 to 21 days. During this time, one should keep the soil consistently wet, but not soggy. Once the new grass gets established, one can switch back to a regular irrigation schedule.
Mowing should be avoided until the lawn grows at least 2.5 inches tall so as to allow the grass to develop deep and strong roots. Once mowing is started, one should not cut more than 1/3rd of the blade length at a time.
Zoysia Grass Maintenance
One can start mowing the Zoysia grass lawn when it attains mowing height. Zoysia grass likes a middle mower setting i.e. a 2-3 inch cut.
Fertilizer should be applied 6 to 8 weeks after planting and should be continued every 6 to 8 weeks till the lawn goes dormant in the fall.
For more about this topic, feel free to check the following:
- Everything About Zoysia Grass
- Zeon Zoysia vs. Emerald Zoysia: What is the Difference Between Zeon Zoysia Grass and Emerald Zoysia Grass?
Centipede grass is a warm-season grass popular due to its high heat tolerance and extremely low maintenance needs. It’s the favorite of gardeners who are interested in minimal upkeep. Originally belonging to Southeast Asia and China, Centipede grass arrived in the U.S. in 1916. Its peak growth period is from late spring through the hot summer months.
Although this grass needs way less maintenance than many other types of grass when grown in its growing region, it also features very particular climate and soil needs that restrict its use, mainly to the Southeast. Therefore if the gardener hails from this region, Centipede grass may be a top choice for them.
Centipede grass is less cold-tolerant than several other warm-season types of grass; however, in mild climates, it can withstand winters for years.
Centipede grass does well in the sandy, acidic soils of the Southeast from the Carolinas through the Southern Coastal plains through the Texas Gulf Coast, wherein its needs are fulfilled by warm winters. But winters are too cold in the north of this region for the survival of Centipede grass. Also, the soils of the Southwest are too alkaline to let Centipede grass grow properly.
Centipede’s less tolerance to drought is another plus for the Southeast due to its high annual rainfall. Centipede has a relatively shallow root system and therefore needs added watering and caution during the period of low rainfall. Once conditions return to normal, Centipede grass quickly recovers from stress.
Sandy soils with limited nutrients are favorable to Centipede. It can withstand acidic soil with a pH as low as 4.5 to 6.0. This is pretty lower than most grass varieties prefer. When pH levels are higher, Centipede is quite sensitive to iron deficiencies that can result in light yellow leaf blades.
To keep Centipede healthy in high-pH soils, frequent use of pH-lowering soil amendments and lawn iron supplements may be needed. Doing a soil test is a good idea to know whether the soil is suitable for Centipede’s requirements.
Centipede grass doesn’t undergo winter dormancy as such, unlike warm-season grasses like Zoysia. If the climate is mild, it may remain green all through the winter. However, this absence of a dormancy period makes it vulnerable to winter damage. With a drop in temperatures, Centipede can withstand damage; but continuous injuries over winter can be fatal.
Unlike warm-season lawns such as Bermuda grass, Centipede grass cannot be over-seeded with ryegrass in fall for winter color because the consequent competition can decline the root system of Centipede and eventually the grass may fail.
Centipede is the slowest in growth among warm-season grasses. It spreads by creeping, with stolons, ultimately creating a dense lawn. However, it cannot withstand heavy traffic and recovers slowly. It’s more tolerant to shade than Bermuda grass, but is less salt-tolerant.
Centipede grass lawn requires very little fertilizer once established. Over-fertilization should be avoided as it can result in diseases and other problems.
How to Grow Centipede Grass
New Centipede grass varieties can be started from seed or sod depending on one’s budget and time. The best time to plant a Centipede grass lawn is late spring through early summer. As this is a warm-season grass, the soil should be warm (at least 70°) before seeds sprout.
While planting Centipede grass from seed, one should do the following things:
- Gardeners should rake the planting area to make the top layer of soil loose and remove any debris, dead grass, etc.
- Adding a 1-inch layer of enriched soil evenly over the existing soil to help seed establish is a good idea.
- Then the gardener should spread the grass seed with a spreader and then gently rake the seed in the soil.
- Applying fertilizer will help give essential nutrients to the newly developing seedlings for fast growth.
- Gardeners should keep the soil surface moist by watering lightly every day or as required till the seedlings become at least 2 inches tall.
- If the seeds don’t germinate right away, there’s nothing to worry about. It can be a bit slow to get started and can take anywhere from 10 to 28 days to sprout.
Centipede Grass Maintenance
Centipede grass should be watered only when wilting, rolling leaves, or greyish grass is seen. At such times, an inch of water should be applied. This is enough to soak in 6 to 8 inch deep soil.
Centipede grass needs very little nitrogen. Actually, excessive fertilizers may harm the grass. Therefore the lawn should be applied fertilizer once in mid-spring and in mid-summer. The fertilizer should release nutrients slowly i.e. over a 6 to 8 week period.
The height of Centipede grass should be maintained up to 1 ½ to 2 inches. Higher than this height will let excess thatch build. Gardeners should also make sure their mower blade is sharp for a nice, clean-cut and remove only the top 1/3 of the grass blades at any one time.
For more information about this topic, feel free to check our Everything About Centipede Grass article.
Dichondra repens or Kidney Weed or Lawn-leaf is not a grass type. But it’s a warm-season perennial creeping plant that is popularly used as an alternative to lawn grass, in some western and southwestern states of the U.S. and is best adapted for the cool coastal conditions.
It belongs to the Morning Glory family (Convolvulaceae), is 2 ½ to 8 cm (1 to 3 inches) tall and produces bright green, semi-circular, kidney-shaped leaves and very tiny white, yellow or green flowers. It spreads by runners and typically blooms in early summer. The plant is best started in late spring or early fall when temperatures are mild.
Dichondra has a pretty quick growth rate and does best in full sun, but can tolerate partial shade. It has a low tolerance for extreme cold, drought, and salinity, but it can tolerate some heat.
Since it also doesn’t withstand heavy traffic, it’s not very suitable for large lawns and where mowing can be difficult, but does well in small areas. It’s also popularly used between pavers. However, it rejuvenates quite quickly from any damage.
Although Dichondra is used mostly as a groundcover, it’s also grown in containers, dropping over the edges with its sprawling foliage.
A benefit of the Dichondra lawn is that the plant often smothers competing weeds. Thus a very little weeding is required.
How to Grow Dichondra Grass
For starting a Dichodra grass lawn, a weed-free raked seedbed is ideal, as this grass prefers clod-free, loose, and well-drained soil in full sun to partial shade.
The gardener should scatter the seed lightly over the loosened soil bed and make the bed wet with water but not soggy. Depending on how much sunlight the area gets, seeds may have to be watered a few times a day till they germinate. For moisture retention, gardeners can cover the seeds with a thin layer of peat moss.
The best time to plant seeds is when the day temperatures are around 70+°F (21°C) and night temperatures are around 50+°F (10°C). This can be either early spring or fall.
Seeds will germinate within 7 to 14 days, depending on the conditions.
Dichondra Grass Maintenance
Maintenance of Dichondra is quite easy if its environmental requirements are met. It needs well-drained soil. Gardeners should also make sure they water Dichondra regularly and prevent soil from drying out.
Once the grass is established, it may need infrequent but deep watering. Allowing the plants to dry out a bit between watering is a good idea.
Actually, Dichondra is pretty invasive and soon crosses its boundaries, sending out creeping stems that root along the way. However, it’s also easy to control this plant by trimming it off as required. Trimming is also necessary when Dichondra is grown between pavers and in containers to give the plant a neat look.
For more about this topic, feel free to check our Everything About Dichondra Grass article.
Buffalo grass (Bouteloua dactyloides) is a warm-season lawn grass popular due to its several features like no need for pesticides, fertilizers, or frequent mowing, ability to spread quickly by stolons, and form a thick carpet, fine texture, and grey-green to blue-green color. It grows 10-12 inches in length but curls and drapes over to look shorter.
Unlike many lawn types of grass grown in the U.S. which are native to Europe and Asia, Buffalo grass is native to Manitoba and Saskatchewan in Canada, and south through the Central Plains states of the United States and down into Mexico.
It was first used as a turf grass in the 1930s. It spreads by stolons. Roots develop at internodes on the stolons. Its flowers are both staminate (male flowers having only stamens) and pistillate (female flowers having only pistils).
Buffalo Grass used to be expensive and difficult to establish. But the newer cultivars have these drawbacks reduced. Today Buffalo grass has higher cold resistance than other warm-season grasses. It’s also highly drought tolerant, weed resistant, and withstands a range of other conditions.
How to Grow Buffalo Grass
Buffalo grass is best planted in April and May. It goes dormant and brown in fall with the arrival of cold temperatures and revives in spring as the soil and air warm up. It grows most vigorously from May to September.
Buffalo grass can be planted with seeds, plugs, or sod. But whether it’s planted with seed, sod, or plug, the soil should be kept evenly moist as the grass establishes, but sogginess should be avoided.
Once established, Buffalo grass is a hardy, durable alternative to several cool-season types of grass. It flourishes in dry, sunny conditions and can even survive severe drought conditions.
Following things should be remembered while starting a Buffalo grass lawn:
- Buffalo grass requires a minimum of 6 hours of direct sunlight every day and well-draining soil. In areas of shade or low areas with frequent standing water episodes, it won’t grow well.
- Before seeding, the soil should be made weed-free.
- Tilling the soil lightly (1/4 – 1/2 inch deep) before planting is a good idea to get some loose soil to cover the seed.
- It should be remembered that every time the soil is tilled, new weed seeds will sprout, which should be removed before spreading the seed.
- The soil should have temperatures above 60°F for sprouting to begin.
- Spreading half the seed in one direction and the other half perpendicular to it is a good idea.
- Then the gardener should lightly rake the area and cover it to have good seed-to-soil contact.
- Then the area should be deeply watered during the first watering session to totally saturate the soil and then continue with frequent light watering till the seeds sprout in 14-21 days. Once all the seeds germinate, occasional deep soaking will keep the new seedlings spreading. Complete establishment of an area from seed can be done within the first year.
Buffalo Grass Maintenance
Buffalo grass is a low-maintenance grass with a low need for mowing. Especially newer varieties (Sundancer, Cody, and Bowie) green up sooner in the spring, maintain their color longer in the fall, spread fast by stolons, and stay shorter. Therefore they need less mowing.
New varieties of Buffalo grass form a dense lush lawn that can fight weeds. However, sometimes weeds can create problems when gardeners can fight them with herbicides or eradicating them by hand.
Applying broadleaf weed control in the fall can eradicate dandelions, henbit, bindweed, and other broadleaf weeds. However, within a few years of establishment of the Buffalo grass lawn, weed control, mowing, watering, and overall maintenance will reduce over time.
For more information about this topic, feel free to check our Everything About Buffalo Grass article.
Bahia grass is a warm-season grass with excellent heat and drought tolerance. It has an ability to flourish in conditions that many lawn types of grass cannot tolerate. However, it’s used in limited areas i.e. in the regions of the southeastern U.S., Deep South, and Gulf Coast. Bahia grass is the one that creates a relatively strong, low-maintenance, low-growing turf in this area.
Unlike many other lawn types of grass grown in the United States, Bahia grass is not native to Europe or Asia, but to South America. It arrived in the U.S. in the Southeast in 1914 but not as a lawn grass but a pasture grass. It’s still widely used for agricultural, conservation, and erosion control purposes.
Bahia grass has a naturally deep root system which makes it highly drought-tolerant, even in sandy soils of the Southeast. Its texture is coarser than several regional types of grass, especially cool-season grasses that are common in northern regions. Only a few other warm-season types of grass match Bahia regarding the aspect of drought tolerance, although Bermuda grass has higher drought tolerance in salt.
Although Bahia prefers full sun, it tolerates light shade better than Bermuda. It’s also more tolerant to soils with poor drainage.
Right during its period of popularity as a pasture grass, Bahia has some varieties that have been proven to be apt for lawn use in the hot and humid environment of the Southeast. Its usage for lawns extends from Florida to the southern Coastal Planes to the Texas Gulf Coast. This region is challenging for homeowners to grow turf, but Bahia varieties offer advantages that other warm-season grasses don’t.
Bahia grass seed tends to germinate slowly but once germinated, it establishes well, letting gardeners enjoy the benefits of growing lawns from seed. The naturally open growth pattern of Bahia makes it susceptible to weeds at a young age. Its slow growth partly comes through its above-ground short stems called stolons. Stolons develop roots at very short breaks and thus form thick, strong, all-purpose turf.
Just like most warm-season grasses, Bahia stays green only in its active growth period. If drought extends, this grass goes into dormancy and develops an unnatural, dark, or tan color. However, Bahia can overcome these challenges better than other grasses. It’s particularly suited to large areas with low irrigation and minimal maintenance. Once challenges subside, Bahia quickly bounces back.
With the arrival of winter, Bahia undergoes an annual dormancy period and turns brownish tan. However, it stays greener longer than Bermuda grass and even greens up again earlier than Bermuda grass in spring. Gardeners who want green lawns irrespective of the season have an option to over-seed in fall with cool-season ryegrasses for green winter color.
How to Grow Bahia Grass?
The most active growth of Bahia grass takes place from late spring through hot summer months. Hence spring or summer is the best time for seeding when growth accelerates.
Even it’s the best time for over-seeding existing thin Bahia grass. However, some flexibility occurs in Bahia’s limited area by the moderate warm winters, and thus in Florida, fall seeding also works pretty well. Being perennial, Bahia keeps coming every year.
For starting a Bahia grass lawn, one should do the following things:
- The gardener should conduct a soil test to know what nutrients are required in the soil.
- Then they should remove any existing grasses and weeds. They should till the soil to break up large clumps and remove rocks and other debris. If they plan to over-seed with Bahia grass seed, they should mow the existing lawn closely and remove all weeds.
- Then they should amend the soil as per the results of a soil test, adding sulfur, lime, phosphorous, and/or potassium, and attain the soil pH between 5.5 and 6.5. If any nitrogen is recommended, they should wait to apply it after seeds germinate.
- Then they should rake the area smooth and form a gentle slope away from the house. A level yard or slope towards the house will encourage water to stand or direct it towards the home’s foundation.
- Now they should use a broadcast seeder to sow the seed or throw them by hand. 1 pound of seed over 100 sq. feet of lawn is a good proportion for seeding, whereas ½ pound of seed per 100 sq. feet is good for over-seeding. Now they should rake the soil to cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil.
- Now they should water the soil with a fine mist sprayer taking care to avoid washing away soil and seeds. They should water daily and keep the soil moist. If the weather is hot and dry, they may need to water twice a day.
- The seeds may take up to 3 weeks to sprout. Once the seeds germinate, the gardener should slowly increase the gap between waterings to once or twice per week. They should continue watering every week all through the first season.
- Once the seeds germinate, the gardener should apply a high-nitrogen fertilizer like 16-4-8. They should repeat this in midsummer. They should apply 8 oz. of fast-release or 16 oz. of slow-release nitrogen fertilizer per 1,000 sq. feet. Then the lawn should be generously watered to save the new grass from burning.
Bahia Grass Maintenance
Being robust, and drought- and heat-tolerant, Bahia grass is perfectly suitable to harsh soil conditions that would cause other grass types to wither quickly. Bahia, instead, flourishes in sandy, acidic, poor soil conditions and requires only a little maintenance.
It needs full sunlight and high humidity, a climate that can be detrimental for other grass types.
Gardeners should avoid overwatering if they want their lawn to look lush, beautiful, and thick. Excessive water supply can in fact weaken the grass. So, they should water as required to keep the lawn’s color intense and healthy. Although it doesn’t require a lot of water, high humidity offers good moisture for Bahia to flourish.
When it comes to mowing, it’s recommended to keep the Bahia grass height up to 2 to 3 inches. Gardeners should remember that poor-quality mowers can have hard times with the thick blades of Bahia.
Bahia grass needs fertilizers in low amounts too. Before applying any fertilizer, the gardener should make sure to do a soil test and only apply fertilizers if the test recommends. Otherwise, applying too much or unnecessary fertilizer can cause harm.
For more information, feel free to check our Everything About Bahia Grass article.
Cool-season Lawn Grasses
Cool-season lawn grasses grow vigorously in northern regions with cool spring and fall seasons, and moderate summer season. They do well when temperatures range from 60 to 75°F and hence they grow most vigorously in spring and fall.
Choosing the type of lawn grass suitable to one’s region is a factor that decides a gardener’s success.
Typically known by its initials KBG in the grass industry, Kentucky Bluegrass is the ideal type of lawn grass for many gardeners in the United States because, with proper care and favorable conditions, Kentucky Bluegrass produces a lush, dense and dependable lawn. However, it requires a lot of maintenance in order to look its best.
This is a cool-season grass, with limited shade tolerance but excellent winter hardiness and capacity for self-healing. Some varieties are vulnerable to heat, drought, and stress damage. It’s perennial meaning it keeps coming back year after year. It grows most heartily during the cold seasons of fall and spring because of its highest winter hardiness among all cool-season lawn grasses in the U.S.
As such, KBG does well with full sun. But some varieties can prefer light shade. This can be known from the seed tag label. Such KBG strengths are well complemented by shade-tolerant fescues and quick-greening perennial ryegrass to create a lush, cool-season, versatile lawn.
Although the state of Kentucky calls itself “Bluegrass State”, Kentucky Bluegrass didn’t originate in Kentucky. Originating from Asia and Europe, KBG came to the U.S. states like Kentucky to be used as a pasture grass and then became a leading lawn grass almost all through the country.
Although Kentucky Bluegrass spreads aggressively, its root system is relatively shallow compared to several other types of grasses. Hence it’s less tolerant to heat and drought. Therefore its usage was restricted towards the south where there are higher heat and humidity favorable to warm-season grasses.
However, many fans of KBG in the West and Southwest grow it with heavy irrigation in their sunbaked gardens. This sun-loving grass exhibits luxuriant color if given supplemental water during periods of high heat and inadequate rainfall.
Kentucky Bluegrass lawn is not only good-looking with its rich emerald to bluish-green color, but also comfortable to walk upon barefoot due to its medium to fine texture.
Kentucky Bluegrass mixes well with ryegrass for quicker greening. But gardeners should be careful while mixing because perennial ryegrasses can sometimes soon overtake Kentucky Bluegrass.
How to Grow Kentucky Bluegrass?
Early fall is the best time to plant KBG and does other lawn maintenance works as this is the time when its growth is at its peak. But spring can be a good time for seeding as well. The gardener can consult their local county extension agent to know about the frost dates for their area and the calendar of lawn care.
KBG is easy to establish from seeds, but takes more time to germinate than some other cool-season grasses. It’s also self-spreading and sod-forming. It has underground stems i.e. rhizomes with which it spreads quickly and forms a thick and dense turf once established. Due to this very feature of aggressive growth, it can recover quickly from damage.
Gardeners should follow these steps while starting a KBG lawn:
- They should first aerate the soil and plant the grass at a depth of 1/4th to half an inch.
- 3 lbs. seeds per every 1,000 sq. feet are a good proportion. In case of over-seeding, this should be halved.
- The seedbed should be made firm and smooth. KBG loves well-drained soil. For problematic areas, soil amendment should be done.
- For successful sprouting, moisture should be maintained. So, 16 inches of water should be given.
- Germination takes anywhere from 21 to 28 days.
- Once grass blades come up and start growing in spring, the gardener should water 1 to 2 ½ inches weekly.
- Fertilizers should be applied in the months of September, November, and May. KBG typically needs more fertilizer than Tall Fescues.
Kentucky Bluegrass needs 6.0 to 7.0 of optimal soil pH.
Traditionally KBG does best in full sun, but it can perform moderately well in partial shade.
Kentucky Bluegrass Maintenance
Just like other cool-season grasses Kentucky Bluegrass too significantly slows down in growth during hot summer months. And during a very hot climate or drought, it will go dormant. However, with heavy watering, it returns to normal conditions.
Kentucky Bluegrass undergoes dormancy with drought. But if watered, the grass recovers strong, although some are slow to green in the spring.
During its active growth period, KBG will flourish with a fertilizer that has up to 4-6 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 sq. feet. Soil structure and fertility can be improved by applying organic matter such as compost or rotted manure tilled to 8 to 10 inches.
Kentucky Bluegrass does best when mowed to a height of 1 ½ to 2 ½ inches.
For more information about this topic, feel free to check our Everything About Kentucky Bluegrass article.
Perennial ryegrass has no relation with the rye plant that produces cereal grain. It’s a cool-season lawn grass popular throughout the United States. However, the usage varies depending upon the region. It’s used for temporary and permanent lawns, turf grasses as well as high-quality pasture grasses for livestock.
The main reasons behind its popularity are its fast germination, seedling growth and establishment, good cold tolerance, and its capability of giving the gardener what they want based on the location and immediate lawn objectives.
Annual Ryegrass is a short-lived grass that provides quick color, temporary erosion control, and short-term stability for a season. Perennial Ryegrass too is used for the same purposes; however, it can help establish a permanent lawn by coming back year after year in northern climates.
Perennials Ryegrass is native to Asia and Europe, just as the several common turf types of grass used for permanent northern US lawns are. It’s not as cold-tolerant as Tall Fescue or Kentucky Bluegrass, but thrives in regions that receive moderate summers and cool winters. It is one of the most widely used permanent lawn grasses, on its own as well as when mixed with other cool-season grasses, in the cool, humid Pacific Northwest.
Although northern climates are naturally suitable to Perennial Ryegrass, it’s popular among southern gardeners too. Warm-season lawn grasses used in the west and south, like Bermuda grass, turn brown and go dormant during cool winter months.
Therefore to keep lawns green in winter, southern gardeners sow Perennial Ryegrass over existing warm-season lawns in fall. It germinates quickly and creates a temporary green lawn in winter. After this, with the return of summer heat, it dies out when warm-season grasses green-up.
Perennial Ryegrass is also a major component of cool-season grass seed combinations in northern and transition zone lawns and athletic fields. It prefers sun; but it even tolerates light shade.
When conditions are perfect, Perennial Ryegrass germinates sooner than any other type of common lawn grass. It establishes fast too. However, it spreads slowly. Unlike Kentucky Bluegrass which is aggressive and spreads by rhizomes, Perennial Ryegrass forms bunches. Just like Tall Fescue, it grows in clumps and spreads through upright shoots called tillers, instead of spreading by rhizomes or horizontal above-ground stems known as stolons.
As compared to deep-rooted warm-season Zoysia grass or Tall Fescue traditional varieties of Perennial Ryegrass have historically limited their heat and drought tolerance because of their relatively shallow roots.
However, improved varieties have been developed with higher heat and drought tolerance. Once established these improved varieties need up to 30% less water than ordinary grass varieties year after year. Even their mowing needs are less than common perennial or annual ryegrasses.
Perennial Ryegrass thrives in full Midwestern sun, but withstands light shade in this central climate. Like other cool-season grasses, Perennial Ryegrass grows most robustly in the cool fall and spring seasons. During summer, it goes dormant in permanent northern lawns. The gardener’s lawn care tasks should therefore coincide with these natural cycles.
How to Grow Perennial Ryegrass?
Perennial Ryegrass should be seeded only once and it keeps coming season after season. It prefers areas where there are moderate summers and cool winters. Although it’s not as cold-resistant as Tall Fescue or Kentucky Bluegrass, it germinates quickly and seedlings grow rapidly. By applying the right planting methods, one can boost its growth even more.
First, the gardener should do the soil test. Perennial Ryegrass thrives in a soil pH from 5.5 to 7.5, although it withstands a pH range from 4.5 to 8.4.
Gardeners can plant Ryegrass seeds once in the late summer (or early fall) and again in early spring. They should prepare the seedbed at least 6 months before the decided planting date so that any soil amendments they add get time to respond. Amendments should consist of organic fertilizer high in nitrogen.
Gardeners should sow seeds at around 1/4 to 1/2 inches deep with the help of a standard lawn spreader or a grain drill. In case of using a spreader, the gardener should pack the soil to ensure adequate seed-to-soil contact. On the other hand, a grain drill will properly deposit seed in the soil’s surface.
Perennial Ryegrass Maintenance
Perennial Ryegrass needs ample moisture. Even though the soil structure is not very nutrient-rich, this grass will need sufficient irrigation or it will go dormant in hot summer months. However, one can use premium ryegrass cultivars that are not only more drought-resistance but also need less water than traditional perennial ryegrass seeds.
Fertilizer should also be applied carefully, as without the correct balance between water and fertilization Perennial Ryegrass tends to go dormant. It’s a good idea to plan a split application of nitrogen – one in the spring and another in the fall.
Mowing should be done to keep the height of the blades to ½ to 3 inches. Since it’s a clump-forming grass, a little taller height will help it retain a more even look through the lawn.
For more about this topic, feel free to check our Everything About Perennial Ryegrass article.
Tall Fescue is a favorite lawn grass of gardeners because it does well in most climates and is tolerant to heat, drought, and even shade and cold. What’s more, it’s disease-resistant too, although its capability of self-healing is limited. Its preferred growing zones are southern and northern transition regions.
Tall Fescue too is native to Europe like most lawn grasses in the U.S. It came to the U.S. in the early 1800s but remained a pasture grass till the late 1900s after which a tall fescue variety named Kentucky 31 was introduced and took the jump from pasture to the turf.
Many research programs have developed many new varieties of Tall Fescue in recent years. These are called turf-type and dwarf-type tall fescues. These varieties feature narrower blades, intense green color, and enhanced tolerance to heat, drought and cold.
As such, Tall Fescue, as a cool-season grass, is well compatible with the northern lawn. But it is also doing well in the southern transitional regions. Since Tall Fescue is the most heat tolerant of all cool-season grasses and has higher cold tolerance than many warm-season types of grass, gardeners can get lovely year-round lawns even in this tough transition region.
Tall Fescue has higher shade tolerance than all common cool-season lawn grasses, although Fine Fescue is an exception. Tall Fescue germinates sooner than KBG and establishes easily from seed. Since the root system of Tall Fescue is so extensive that it can reach even up to the depth of 2-3 feet, quite deeper than other cool-season grasses, this grass has high heat and drought tolerance.
Tall Fescue is a bunch-type grass. It doesn’t spread by above- and below-ground horizontal roots, but grows in clumps and spreads mainly through vertical shoots known as ‘tillers’, which emerge from the base of the grass plant itself. Because of such a growth pattern, Tall Fescue can easily keep away from flower beds. However, its capacity to self-repair gets limited due to this pattern.
How to Grow Tall Fescue?
Like all other cool-season grasses, Tall Fescue too has its growth period at its peak during the cool fall and spring seasons. Hence this also is the best time to plant Tall Fescue or perform its maintenance tasks.
Tall Fescue does well with well-draining soil with high fertility and pH 5.5 to 6.5. The gardener should work the soil well and add a starter fertilizer to the top few inches (around 7 cm) of soil. The rate of sowing seeds should ideally be 6 to 8 pounds per 1,000 sq. feet.
After sowing the seed, the gardener should cover them with a thin layer of soil or sand, and press them into the soil. For 14 to 21 days, they should keep the soil evenly moist. After this period, gardeners may see the first seedlings. After this, the plants may get habituated to less frequent watering.
When the grass attains a height of 3 inches, the gardener should mow it. Keeping the grass less than 3 inches makes it denser and more attractive.
Tall Fescue Maintenance
Tall Fescue is a low-maintenance grass and only needs occasional watering and mowing, except in very hot summers. The lawn should be kept 2 inches tall and should be allowed to dry out between deep watering.
As such, Tall Fescue is bothered by a few diseases; however, some fungus and rusts may become problematic, particularly if the lawn is new. The most troublesome insect pests for Tall Fescue are cutworm, armyworm, and white grubs. These should be controlled with treatments available on the market before they become unmanageable.
For more about this topic, feel free to check our Everything About Fescue Grass article.
Fine fescue grass is unique among lawn grasses because they have the finest leaf blades, highest shade tolerance, and lowest moisture and fertilizer requirements of all Northern cool-season lawn grasses. It also has a higher germination rate than Colonial Bentgrasses or Kentucky Bluegrass. These qualities earn Fine Fescue a valued place in Bentgrass or Bluegrass mixtures. Its high shade tolerance makes it an ideal addition to Tall Fescue lawn mixes.
Sheep Fescue, Hard Fescue, Chewing Fescue, and Creeping Red Fescue are categories of Fine Fescue. Among these, Hard Fescue, Chewings, and Creeping Reds are the most popular Fine Fescue grasses. However, they are not suitable as pasture grasses.
Fine Fescue is a cool-season grass that stays green all through the year with proper maintenance. It has good drought tolerance and performs well if used in cool-season grass seed mixes with Perennial Rye, Bluegrass, and other Fine Fescue seeds. It has the highest shade tolerance of all lawn grasses. It also requires low maintenance i.e. less water and fertilizers. It even flourishes in poor soil conditions. It also has high germination as well as establishment rate.
Sheep’s Fescue: Sheep’s Fescue is used as meadow grass, and for drought tolerance, erosion control, and soil improvement. It’s also used as ornamental lawn and wildflower stands. It grows as a bunchgrass.
This is a cool-season perennial grass having blue-green color and is thickly tufted. It grows 16” tall. It’s adapted to ND to WA and AK, south to AZ and NM. It has been introduced in the east to MI, ME, IL, and SC.
Creeping Red: Creeping Red Fescue is best suited to U.S. plant hardiness zones 1, 2, 3 North, 4, 5 North, 6, and 7. In the warmer parts of these zones, afternoon shade will remarkably reduce heat stress. Creeping Red has creeping underground rhizomes.
It has fine blades with medium to dark green color. It’s used in dry shaded areas either on its own or in grass mixes with Bluegrasses, Perennial Ryegrasses, Creeping Bent Grass, and other fine fescues. Creeping Reds will survive in areas with heavy shade (2-4 hours of daily sun) and withstand traffic in low to moderate amounts.
New varieties of Creeping Red Fescue are being continuously developed with qualities like improved insect resistance, salt tolerance, and glysophate tolerance.
Hard Fescue: Hard Fescue grass is the most robust of all Fine Fescue grasses. The northern parts of the U.S. suit Hard Fescue the best and it generally grows at higher elevations. Since it’s highly resistant to diseases it is healthier than other Fine Fescues. It is slower to establish than Creeping Red or Chewing Fescue because it grows in clumps. However, it requires very little maintenance. Despite its turfed growth pattern, it mixes well with other fine fescue varieties.
Among Hard Fescue varieties, Predator has a very high turf quality. It has better disease resistance and medium-dark green color. Another variety Little Bighorn has fine, blue-grey colored leaves and makes excellent ornamental lawn.
Hard Fescue has excellent shade tolerance and better drought tolerance than Creeping Red. It even can be left un-mown.
Hard Fescue is also best suited to zones 1, 2, 3 North, 4, 5 North, 6, and 7.
How to Grow Fine Fescue?
Fine Fescue needs soil pH from 5.0 to 6.5. Just like any other turf grass, it’s good to prepare the seedbed before seeding, drilling, or laying sod. Fine Fescues are not recommended for heavily trafficked areas, like athletic fields; but they do well in standard home gardens.
Since it’s highly shade tolerant, gardeners with several trees and low light in their gardens prefer this grass. In such conditions too, this grass grows vigorously and dense. It may go dormant during summer when temperatures are above 90°F (32°C) but will revive when cooler conditions return.
Fine Fescue Maintenance
One of the most attractive qualities of Fine Fescue is its tolerance to low mowing, particularly Hard Fescue and Chewings. The grass also has low watering requirements but will need consistent moisture while establishing.
Fine Fescue can face a problem of thick thatch which develops as the turf matures and it can cause problems with watering. The grass tolerates low fertility conditions but slowly browns if not given supplemental nitrogen.
Fertilizing in the spring and again in early summer will build strong roots and good color, and enhance heat and drought tolerance.
Another great quality of Fine Fescue is that most insects can’t do any harm to the grass; hence it doesn’t need a pesticide. However, fungal issues can occur, particularly in coastal and high humidity regions.
For more about this topic, feel free to check our Everything About Fescue Grass article.
Northern Cool Zone, Middle Transition Zone, and Lower Southern Zone
Based on climatic conditions, the country of the United States is divided into 3 parts – top 1/3rd, middle 1/3rd, and lower 1/3rd.
The top 1/3rd is made of New England, the Upper Midwest, High Plains, and Pacific Northwest.
The middle 1/3rd part is also known as the “Transition Zone”. It extends from the Atlantic Coast to eastern New Mexico. Here conditions for growing cool-season and warm-season grasses overlap.
The lower Southern part consists of states like Texas, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, Tennessee, Maryland, and so on.
Cool-season grasses typically grow in the upper two-third part of the United States. Tall Fescue is particularly well-suited to the Transition Zone due to its high heat and drought tolerance. Some warm-season grasses also do well in the Transition Zone because of its hot and dry summers. Examples are Zoysia grass and Bermuda grass as they are drought tolerant and can survive cooler temperatures better than other warm-season grasses.
Choosing Lawn Grass Type According to Region
Although proper maintenance routine, nutrition, and mowing are important factors for achieving the goal of creating a healthy, lush, beautiful lawn, choosing the right type of grass i.e. warm-season or cool-season is critical.
Warm-season grasses thrive in southern regions where summer temperatures are high, whereas cool-season grasses undergo vigorous growth in northern regions where spring and fall seasons are cool and summers are moderate. Warm-season grasses flourish in the summer heat but can’t survive northern winters. Choosing the right type of lawn grasses well-suited to regional factors like humidity, elevation, and aridity is a perfect way to make one’s lawn successful.
If the gardener lives in the northeast region of the United States, they should prefer cool-season grasses like bluegrasses, fescues, and ryegrasses. High humidity, cold winters, and cool summers of the northeast region pose several challenges for many plants including lawn grasses. Therefore lawns in northeast gardens need grasses that can do well in cool temperatures and are resistant to diseases that prevail in this region.
Kentucky bluegrass thrives all through the Northeast and the whole northern tier of states. This grass has exemplified an ideal lawn for generations of grass enthusiasts. This is a cool-season perennial grass that develops deep emerald green, finely textured blades and has the hardiness required for cold winters in the north.
Experts suggest mixing Kentucky Bluegrass varieties with other cool-season grasses for successful Northeast lawns.
The Midwest heartland is a cool-season region with varying levels of humidity. The eastern states of the Midwest receive humidity that is similar to the Northeast, but the western states experience arid conditions.
Seasonal changes throughout the region demand grasses that can flourish in cool climates. Bluegrasses dominate in this region; however, Fescues and Ryegrasses also thrive if given adequate irrigation in the more arid western parts of the region. Some Tall Fescues also thrive in droughty conditions. Perennial Ryegrass needs additional irrigation in droughty conditions or it may lose color or go dormant. However, Ryegrass is traffic-tolerant and durable and it naturally resists diseases and insects.
The Southeast region is a warm, humid zone due to its high amount of heat and humidity. It extends from Atlantic Coast to Texas. Its climate is favorable to warm-season grasses. Bermuda grass is a major lawn grass grown in the Southeast and throughout the southern tier of the U.S., its high tolerance to heat, drought, and salt meet the tough conditions of this region perfectly.
Another popular lawn grass in this region is Bermuda grass. It produces a dense, dark-green lawn and turns brown during winter dormancy like other warm-season grasses when winter temperatures go below 40°F. However, this deep-rooted grass regrows from the crown and greens up soon in spring.
Several gardeners in the South over-seed Bermuda grass with ryegrasses for winter color. Ryegrasses die out in summer heat but after that, Bermuda grass turns green.
Deep South and Gulf Coast Region
Deep South and Gulf Coast region is favorable to Centipede grass and Bahia grass with its intense heat and humidity. These grasses are extremely tolerant to heat and drought and hence they do well in the region’s climate and watering limitations.
Gardeners in this region get an all-purpose, low-maintenance lawn with Bahia grass. Although it’s coarser than other cool-season grasses, it has high resistance to pests and diseases, and tolerance to heat and drought. It also establishes easily.
A new and improved variety named Pennington Pensacola Bahia grass is sun-loving and is ideal for the Gulf Coast and Southern Coastal Plain. Another variety named Pennington Argentine Bahia grass is low-maintenance and lower-growing and is popular from Florida through the Texas coast as it has a combination of qualities like finer texture, excellent thickness, durability, drought resistance, and deeper color.
Centipede grass is valued for its medium texture, slow and low growth, and medium to light green color. Besides being very low-maintenance, this warm-season grass fights with weeds and withstands poor soil, hence needs less fertilizer and mowing.
Centipede grasses also don’t undergo a true dormancy period and thus remain green almost year-round barring in severely cold conditions. Low growth of Centipede grass helps it withstand drought well and its thickness helps it survive foot traffic.
Another great alternative for Florida and the Gulf states is St. Augustine grass, thanks to its high tolerance to heat and humidity. Since it can tolerate salt, it’s also an excellent choice for coastal yards, and forms a thick turf quickly and easily.
The arid, warm West/Southwest region brings severe challenges to lawn grasses due to low- and high-desert climates. Starting in Texas and extending into Southern California, this region has a mix of alkaline soil and saline water with scorching sunlight, varying elevations, and high temperatures.
For this region, the resilient Bermuda grass is highly suitable provided adequate watering is given. According to the reports of the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, Bermuda grass can need up to 40% less water than comparable Tall Fescue lawns in the desert climate. All through the South, over-seeding of Bermuda grass is done with Ryegrasses for winter color.
Pennington Sahara Bermuda Grass, a variety of Bermuda grass, is popular in this region due to its rich dark-green color and fine texture. The thick lawn withstands foot traffic, resists drought, pests, and diseases, and thrives under the Southwestern sun.
Pacific Northwest Region
Just like the Midwest, the West/Northwest region features diverse growing conditions. Cool, arid inland regions from Wyoming and Montana westward favor cool-season grasses if sufficiently watered. In this region, Tall Fescues and Bluegrasses are popular east of the Cascade Mountain Range stretching from Washington to Northern California.
West of the Cascades, the humidity and cool temperatures of the coastal Pacific Northwest form conditions identical to the Northeast. This cool and wet climate needs grasses that can fight diseases thriving in the conditions.
Oregon State University research reveals that Ryegrasses can naturally fight cool-season diseases that hit grasses in rainy coastal winters. Also, Fine Fescues with their higher tolerance to shade and cold than Tall Fescues are ideal.
The region is known to lawn care enthusiasts and professionals as Transition Zone poses certain special challenges for all lawn grasses. It covers the central tier of states from the Atlantic Coast through Kansas. Here different climatic conditions i.e. warm, arid, cool, and humid, clash together. Summers are too hot to enable cool-season grasses to grow and winters are too cold to let warm-season grasses survive.
A lot of universities are trying to develop cold-tolerant warm-season grasses and heat-tolerant cool-season grasses suitable to the transition zone severities, Pennington University partnering with the University of Arkansas Agriculture Research and Extension being major among these.
Heat-tolerant, low-maintenance cool-season grass Tall Fescue with fine to medium blade texture is used widely in the Transition Zone. Besides delivering protection from heat and drought with its deep roots, Tall Fescue can add season-long color to Perennial Ryegrass and Kentucky Bluegrass mixes. Further South, Tall Fescue complements Bermuda grass.
Another alternative for this region is the warm-season Zoysia grass. Due to its cold tolerance, it’s used farther north too. It has many qualities suitable to this region such as low water requirements, high traffic tolerance, fine to medium texture, and low maintenance. It also creates a thick, cushiony turf quickly and naturally fights weeds, pests and diseases. It also stays green longer than other warm-season grasses.
Even when it loses green color, it takes a golden-beige color which is not unpleasant. Also, it’s among the first grasses that green in spring.
If a gardener wants a year-round beautiful, lush, dense lawn in their garden, they should first consider which type of grasses suit their region, what qualities they have, whether it’s necessary to over-seed them with other types of grasses to maintain the green color and thickness, and so on. This way one can create a beautiful lawn that will suit their family activities, appearance goals, and maintenance preferences.
We hope that this article answers most of your questions about lawn grass types and how to pick the right one considering the climate zone that You live in.
Also, in order to keep your lawn in good condition, don't forget to mow it regularly...
For more info about lawn grass, feel free to check our Articles and Guides section, or check the following articles:
Achieving a thick and lush Bermuda grass lawn is a goal shared by many homeowners, property managers, and landscape enthusiasts.
A dense turf provides not only aesthetic appeal but also increased resilience to foot traffic, weeds, and pests.
Published: May 4, 2023.
Many lawn enthusiasts and property owners may find themselves puzzled or concerned when they notice seed heads emerging from their Bermuda grass.
These seed heads, although a natural part of the grass's life cycle, can temporarily alter the texture and appearance of a lawn, leading some to mistake them for signs of weed infestation or poor lawn health.
Published: May 4, 2023.
Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon) is a warm-season grass and is popular among homeowners for making a great lawn. Not only it’s drought tolerant and non-fussy about the soil type, but also, it’s highly tolerant to traffic, including that of kids and pets, and feels good on one’s feet. It grows well in southern regions but does well also northward up to USDA hardiness zones 5 and 6.
This vining grass spreads fast from its roots and forms a uniform lawn. It starts growing in late spring and continues to grow actively all through the summer.
Its growth slows down in fall when temperatures drop down, and ultimately it goes dormant in the winter.
Published: September 1, 2022.
Zeon Zoysia vs Emerald Zoysia: What is the Difference Between Zeon Zoysia Grass and Emerald Zoysia Grass?
Having a beautiful lawn in their garden is every homeowner’s dream. But growing a lush, green, dense lawn needs some effort and consideration. One’s area’s climatic conditions are an important consideration.
Whether one lives in a warm region or cold region, whether the area receives rain or frost, whether the soil is sandy, clay, well-draining or not well-draining, etc. has to be considered so as to choose the right variety of lawn grass that will grow into a beautiful lawn.
Published: October 21, 2022.
Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon [L.]) is popular as lawn grass for home and public lawns, athletic fields, golf courses, and other spaces. It occurs in the United States’ southern regions and transition zone (where both warm-season and cool-season grasses are adapted), and other regions including India, Australia, South America, and Africa, and grows well in almost all types of soils and is drought-resistant.
Its leaf texture ranges from very fine to coarse, and its growth habit is low and dense. Since it spreads both by above-ground stems (stolons) and below-ground stems (rhizomes), it’s very much dense and traffic-tolerant and competes well with most types of weeds, but its downside is that it’s very aggressive. Unless the gardener mows the Bermuda grass lawn regularly, it can creep into flower beds.
Bermuda grass has some specific mowing needs which the gardener should know and follow.
Published: October 21, 2022.
If a homeowner plans to grow St. Augustine grass for their lawn, they may be surprised to know that St. Augustine grass comes in various types.
St. Augustine grass is a popular turfgrass with dense leaf blades and blue-green color. But it’s still good that homeowners can be specific about their lawn grass choice and get the exact right choice for the environment they live in.
Published: October 21, 2022.
If a homeowner living in a warm region is looking for lawn grass for their garden, they may look for highly drought-tolerant and heat tolerant lawn grass. In that case, Bahia grass may be a great option.
Bahia grass is also a great option for those who have sandy, acidic soil or soil with poor drainage. If one is struggling with not-so-good soil and hot environment, and/or unable to offer a lot of time and resources for lawn maintenance, but still dreaming of a lush green, dense lawn, Bahia grass can form such a lovely turf for them.
Published: October 21, 2022.
Homeowners living in hot, dry areas, and looking for a lush, green lawn for their garden, should consider buffalo grass as this grass needs very low maintenance, and being native to America, it thrives well and produces a pleasant, dense lawn within a short period.
Published: October 21, 2022.
Although dichondra grass is considered a weed in some places, in many other places, it’s considered a beautiful groundcover and an attractive lawn alternative.
The round-shaped leaves of dichondra make it look like a fluffy deep green carpet, enticing enough for anyone to walk or sit on it. Homeowners planning to build a garden and wondering which lawn grass they should use should consider dichondra. Due to its cascading habit, it’s also perfect to grow in hangings baskets.
Published: October 21, 2022.
If a homeowner is looking for warm-season grass that requires low maintenance, one of the most ideal options for them is centipede grass.
They will be happy to know that centipede grass needs far less attention and supplies than other grasses that share its growing region.
However, its use has been limited only to the Southeast of the U.S.A. because it has some very specific requirements when it comes to soil and climate.
Published: October 21, 2022.
Growing lush, attractive lawns in the hot, dry climate of Texas comes with unique challenges. However, growing a big, green lawn in Texas is not an impossible task. By choosing the right type of grass for their area, gardeners can grow a lawn of which they’ll be proud.
If a Texan gardening enthusiast is wondering about which grass type they should choose for their lawn, they should first consider the part of Texas they are living in and the season in which they wish to grow their lawn. When it comes to lawns, timing is the most important factor.
Published: October 21, 2022.
Perennial ryegrass is known for its ability to germinate quickly. However, it is much more than that. It’s a strong, quick-growing, beautiful grass that can naturally overpower weeds. It’s also capable of preventing erosion when grown on steep surfaces like ditches and roadways.
Due to its beautiful dark green hue, it has attained the honor of being the main part of the turf of Wimbledon Tennis Club and August National Golf club (home of the Masters).
Published: October 21, 2022.
Fescue grass is a favorite choice of lawn grass for homeowners in the northern parts of the United States.
However, fescue is flexible enough to suit any area that receives warm as well as cool seasons.
Published: October 21, 2022.
Kentucky bluegrass is beautiful to look at and also pleasurable to walk upon barefoot. With favorable growing conditions and necessary care, it produces a lush and durable lawn in rich emerald to blue-green color and medium to fine texture.
No wonder it’s a preferred lawn grass in the northern region of the United States.
Published: October 21, 2022.
Zoysia grass can be an ideal lawn grass option for those who live in a hot climate, are looking for a dense lawn, and don’t have a lot of time for lawn maintenance.
Zoysia grass is a perennial warm-season grass that loves heat, and is high traffic- and drought-tolerant. Its different species were brought to the United States over a period of several decades. For example, Zoysia japonica was brought to the US from the Manchurian province of China in 1895, whereas Zoysia matrella came to the US in 1911 from the Philippines (& hence is also known as Manila grass).
Published: October 21, 2022.
A gardener planning to have St. Augustine grass as a lawn grass in their garden should be prepared for coarse-textured grass that is not very traffic tolerant.
However, as a trade-off, they will get one of the darkest green and thickest lawns that they would be proud of.
Published: October 21, 2022.
If a gardener is looking for a dense turf in their garden and wondering which grass variety to choose, Bermuda Grass is a major variety they should consider.
Thanks to its extensively creeping stolons (above-ground stems) and rhizomes (underground stems), the plant quickly establishes as a thick, lush lawn.
Published: October 21, 2022.