Different Types of Grass for Your Lawn

Growing and maintaining a healthy, green lawn does not have to be a time-consuming and labor intensive task. Lawns are fairly low maintenance, requiring only regular mowing and the application of fertilizer on occasion. Most lawns can sustain with little more than healthy soil, sunshine, and a little rain. That is only if you plant the right grass seed for your region of the country.

Choose a grass that will thrive in your local environment and specific site conditions when selecting the best lawn variety. Pick the best option that meets the needs of your entire family, including children, adults, and pets. The ability of lawn grass to withstand the intended use of the yard is the most important factor to consider when selecting lawn grass. The first factor to consider is sunlight. Is there enough sunlight in the garden to support shade-tolerant plants? The second major factor is whether the local climate prefers cool-season or warm-season turf varieties. You’ll also need to decide whether you want to plant grass seed or have sod installed for a quick lawn.

There are over ten different types of grasses, and many lawns have a mix of two or more of them. Turfgrasses are classified into two types: warm-season grasses that thrive in warmer climates, such as the United States’ southern, southeast, and Gulf Coast regions. Cool-season grasses are best suited for areas with cold winters and wide temperature fluctuations, such as the states in the north, northeast, upper Midwest, and Pacific Northwest.

Several environmental factors, such as climate and soil type, can assist you in selecting the best turfgrass for your home. Lawn care requirements and durability are also important considerations. Turfgrass is easily classified into two types: cool-season and warm-season, whereas the best ornamental grass for your needs will depend on your USDA hardiness zone.

Types of Cool-Season Grass

Cold-season grasses are best suited for areas with high-temperature fluctuations and cold winters.

Fine fescue

Fine fescue comprises various fescue grasses, including sheep fescue, Chewing fescue, and hard fescue. Fescue grasses do not spread via rhizomes or stolons. Instead, they form clumps. Fine fescue is a low-maintenance turfgrass that tolerates drought shade and grows slowly. It can easily survive in both hot and cold weather. It is frequently mixed with Kentucky bluegrass to increase shade tolerance in areas with only three to six hours of sunlight per day. Its fine, dark green leaves are extremely slender and grow vertically. Remember that it does not tolerate high foot traffic and recovers slowly from damage. Homeowners with pets or small children may want to choose a more durable variety.

Tall fescue

Tall fescue is a tough, drought-resistant, and shade-tolerant turfgrass. It easily adjusts to a wide range of climates and soil types, making it an excellent choice for homeowners in the transition zone or the northern half of the United States. It has a deep root system that allows it to be watered infrequently during the growing season. It grows quickly and will need to be mowed frequently.

Kentucky bluegrass

Kentucky bluegrass, or KBG, is one of the best grasses for cooler climates. Its deep green, almost blue-colored leaves form a dense turf. It grows well in full sun but is not drought tolerant. Although it can tolerate partial shade, it is usually mixed with fescue grasses to increase shade tolerance. It has a soft texture that is cozy to wear barefoot and holds up well to moderate foot traffic. Because of its rapid growth, it necessitates frequent mowing and fertilization to keep a healthy lawn.

Perennial ryegrass

This grass is rarely used to seed an entire lawn, but it is excellent for overseeding a patchy lawn. Its glossy, dark green leaves complement other cool-season grass varieties to create a lush, green lawn. It germinates quickly, usually within four to seven days. It is not particularly drought or shade tolerant, but it stands up well to heavy foot traffic.

Also See: Winter Home Maintenance Tips

Types of Warm-Season Grass

Warm-season grasses thrive in climates that are consistently warm all year.

Bermuda grass

Bermuda grass is a warm-season grass that requires a lot of upkeep. It necessitates frequent mowing and fertilizing, but the extra effort is often well worth it. It is a very hardy grass variety ideal for homeowners with pets and children. Its leaf blades spread horizontally, forming a dense carpet of bright green turf. It survives easily in full sun and is extremely heat and drought-tolerant. It goes dormant quickly in cool temperatures and does not grow well in shady areas.

Centipede grass

Centipede grass grows best in sandy soils in the southeastern United States, but it can also grow in acidic soils. It thrives in warm, tropical climates with plenty of rainfall. Although it is heat tolerant, it is not drought tolerant and requires frequent watering when scarce rain. It creates a beautiful green lawn, but it cannot withstand heavy foot traffic. Otherwise, it is a low-maintenance variety that does not necessitate the use of a mower regularly.

See also: What to Consider When Purchasing a Lawn Mower?

Augustine grass

St. Augustine grass is native to the deep South, particularly Florida and the Gulf Coast, but it can also be located as far north as the transition zone. It thrives in warm, wet environments and does not tolerate cold temperatures. It’s ideal for use on front lawns with little foot traffic and where moderate mow heights can be maintained. It sustains in either full sun or partial shade. It spreads rapidly through stolons and rhizomes and will likely crowd out other grasses or lawn weeds.

Zoysia grass

Zoysia grass is a low-maintenance, warm-season grass popular in temperate climates. It has a dense growth habit, excellent wear resistance, and tolerates low mowing heights, making it a perfect choice for golf course fairways and greens. It is one of the most shade-tolerant warm-season grasses and requires little fertilization and less frequent watering. It grows slowly and does not need to be mowed frequently.

Bahiagrass 

Bahiagrass thrives in sandy soils and can tolerate poor soil quality without fertilizer. It grows quickly and necessitates frequent mowing to keep it in check. When this grass becomes overgrown, it produces a V-shaped seed head. Bahiagrass does not make for a picture-perfect lawn, but it is an excellent choice for homeowners with less-than-ideal growing conditions.

Buffalo grass

Buffalo grass is a low-maintenance, warm-season grass known for its drought tolerance and blue to gray-green leaf blades. It’s a native lawn grass in North America, competing with blue grama as the most common turf type in the shortgrass prairies of Nebraska, Texas, and other heartland states. The name buffalo grass comes from the fact that it was commonly fed to bison and buffalo across the Great Plains during the nineteenth century. Buffalo grass lawns and golf courses that grew from buffalo grass seed are very common.

See Also: Selling Home During Summer | When to Fertilize your Lawn – Timing and Frequency

Types of Ornamental Grass

Border gardens and pathways can benefit from adding texture and variety provided by ornamental grasses.

Blue fescue grass

The blue fescue grass grows in clumps with spiky, blue foliage. It flourishes in full sun and moist, well-draining soil. Though it is not suitable for lawn grass, blue fescue is an attractive addition to rock gardens and can also be utilized as ground cover. It grows well in USDA hardiness zones four through eight.

Little bluestem

Little bluestem is an ornamental bunchgrass with blue-green foliage that turns deep red in the autumn. It grows in a dense, clumping manner and can reach a height of two feet. It grows well in sandy soils in hardiness zones three through ten. It is extremely drought tolerant and thrives when the soil completely dries out between waterings.

Shenandoah switchgrass

Shenandoah switchgrass is a lovely ornamental grass that grows upright. In the fall, the tips of its green foliage turn a brilliant red. This grass grows well in hardiness zones four through ten, in full sun, and is drought tolerant. Mature plants can grow to be four feet tall.

Purple fountain grass

Purple fountain grass blooms with a flurry of reddish-purple, feathery foliage. It is drought-tolerant, deer-resistant, and requires little upkeep. It does, however, necessitate deadheading once the blooms have dried out in the late summer or early fall. It is robust in zones 9 and 10, but it can also be grown annually in cooler climates. It tends to grow in full sun or partial shade as long as it receives medium moisture and grows in well-draining soil.

Pink muhly grass

Pink muhly grass is a perennial decorative grass native to North America known for its drought tolerance and the pink color of its inflorescences. Its pink plumes contribute to its overall toughness. This grass, native to Florida and other southern US states, thrives in dry, rocky soil. It may not be ideal for surviving a Pennsylvania winter. Still, its remarkable resistance to heat makes it a go-to grass for anyone living in a state where the transition from late fall to early spring is more forgiving.

Zebra grass

The zebra grass plant is a perennial grass with green foliage and horizontal yellow bands on its leaf blades. Because of its showy, silvery-white flowers, zebra grass is Japanese silver grass. In large hedges, zebra grass tends to clump together. Combined with its mature height of seven feet, it can be quite an imposing addition to your yard. Nonetheless, whether you’re landscaping a cottage garden or looking for a low-maintenance, solitary specimen plant to place indoors, you can adjust the growth rate of this Japanese forest grass to suit your needs.

Maiden grass

One of the most popular and commonly used ornamental grass is maiden grass. It is simple to grow and adaptable to a variety of growing conditions. It has slender silver-green stems with feathery beige foliage. It thrives nicely in full sun and moist, well-draining soil and is hardy in zones four through ten.

Pampas grass

Pampas grass is an excellent choice for creating a privacy barrier in gardens and yards. Mature plants can grow up to twelve feet tall and six feet wide. They have cascading green foliage and large, golden, feathery blooms. Dried stems can be used in flower arrangements. They thrive in full sun and well-drained soil and are hardy in zones eight to ten.

Blue oat grass

The foliage of blue oat grass is large, silver-blue, and grass-like. It can grow to be between three and six feet tall. Garden and lawn privacy can be improved with mass plantings. They can withstand temperatures ranging from four to eight degrees Celsius.

Feather reed grass

Feather reed grass enhances the visual impact of gardens and can be used as a privacy screen. The ‘Karl Foerster cultivar is especially well-liked. The green foliage turns to golden brown stalks that sway in the breeze at the base. It thrives in wet, swampy soils but can also withstand drought. Feather reed grass can be grown in zones four through nine.

Mexican feather grass

Mexican feather grass grows in mounds and has long, green stems with golden, feathery foliage. It is hardy in zones 6–10 and will grow in full sun or partial shade. It responds well to pruning and tolerates many soil types, including sandy and clay soil, but thrives in well-draining, slightly acidic soil.

Also See: How to Start Indoor Herb Garden | Benefits of Having Indoor Plants

Conclusion

If you are developing a new lawn, you should select the grass best suited to your climate, soil, and yard conditions. Because sod and seed can be costly, it’s better to do your research ahead of time so you can select the suitable variety or varieties rather than crossing your fingers and hoping for the best.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which grass grows the most quickly?

This depends on where you live, but for the most part, Bermuda and Kentucky Bluegrass are the fastest-growing grass types in the United States.

How frequently should I water my lawn?

Watering one inch per week is a good rule of thumb, but you can increase the frequency to every three days with inconsistent hot weather. Of course, pay attention to the color and texture of your grass and avoid overwatering, which can weaken your lawn grass’s roots.

How difficult is it to keep the grass in good condition?

If you hire a lawn care professional, they will do the cutting and weeding for you at a low cost. On the other hand, professionals may charge extra for yearly grass tasks such as aerating and fertilizing. Aeration is usually done once in the spring before the main growing season, and fertilizing is generally done five times a year. You can save money without committing to a weekly or monthly payment and still have a blue-ribbon yard. Taking care of a healthy lawn, on the other hand, requires time and frequent maintenance, but it is not difficult to manage.

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Rostislav Shetman is the founder of 9Kilo Moving. He has been in the moving and relocation industry for more than 25 years, making him an expert in his field. Rostislav started as a helper, dispatcher and driver and has worked his way up to owning his own company. He takes great pride in his work and enjoys helping people relocate across the United States of America. When he's not working, Rostislav enjoys spending time with his family and friends. They are the light of his life and bring him happiness every day.