Cool-season grasses do well in extreme temperature shifts. Consider these grass types if you live in the Pacific Northwest, the Midwest, or the Northeast. Cool-season grasses tend to do the best when planted in the Fall.
This type of grass is used for golf courses, but some people opt to use it for their lawns as well. It can be very costly to maintain because it requires frequent mowing and watering in addition to fungicides and insecticides. It grows through stolons, or runners.
If you do have the money and time to grow this grass, it can look well-kept and full. It is a soft grass that grows in flat blades. It needs to be cut low, but is dense and good for some purposes. Even if you don’t want to maintain it for your entire lawn, you could choose to use it for a section of lawn around a grill or in an area where you like to relax.
This name refers to various types of grasses that are fine textured with thin blades. It looks lush and dense and will stay green year round. Fine fescue grasses are popular in Northern California and the Central states. It is resistant to shade, but doesn’t grow very well in constant direct sun. Fine fescues aren’t recommended if you live in an area that is very dry or hot.
If you are looking for a fast growing type of grass, this is a good option. It does require more water than some types, so be sure to run a sprinkler often if you don’t have much rain.
Kentucky bluegrass has a beautiful color and texture. This is why it is one of the most popular grasses for the Northern half of the United States. The main downside is that it isn’t very resistant to shade. A lot of homeowners choose to use a mixture of Kentucky Bluegrass and Fine Fescue dividing them into the shaded or unshaded portions of their yard.
Kentucky Bluegrass is a darker green than other options and grows rather quickly. The blades are shaped like a v and create a soft texture.
Popular in the Midwest, North, and Central United States, Ryegrass has a unique shine and dark green color. It grows quickly and is often used to patch dry spots in a yard. It is often mixed with Kentucky Bluegrass. It is not recommended for extremely cold temperatures in the far Northern U.S. or Canada.
Tall Fescue can tolerate warmer climates than other cool-season grasses. Because of this, it has popularity throughout the entire U.S. It is tough and can withstand foot traffic so it is often used on baseball and football fields.
It grows in bunches so doesn’t look very good if it is grown in a mixture with other grass types. It isn’t soft, but is durable and grows easily with adequate water.
Warm-season grasses are more resistant to heat and are used in the Southern and Western U.S.
Bermuda grass is very popular in the South and into the Southwest, but can also be used up into the central part of the country. It has a luscious green color and grows into thick turf. It is also durable and resists weeds. It does require a lot of water and fertilizer, but can be a great choice for warmer climates.
Centipede grass crawls along the surface of the ground with stolons. Because of this, it doesn’t need to be mowed as often as other types of grass. It is also easy to hedge so it is often used around sidewalks, gardens, and patios. It is used primarily in the Southeastern United States because it doesn’t grow well in dry climates.
Centipede grass is dense, soft, and light green. It requires consistent water, but can survive short dry spells but quickly goes dormant without water.
Carpet grass is similar to Centipede grass and also grows in the Southern states. The main difference is that it has a seed head similar to crabgrass. It is dense and light green and grows low to the ground so it doesn’t require much maintenance.
Although not technically a grass, Dichondra is commonly used in lawns in the Southwest. It can be mowed just like grass and can be bright green. It does require constant fertilization, but also forms a gorgeous lawn.
This is one of the most popular grasses in Florida and along the Gulf Coast. Sometimes it can be found farther West, but it doesn’t survive cold weather and needs a good amount of water. It grows with large stolons and is coarse and dark green. People sometimes refer to it as Floratam which is one type of St. Augustine.
It may not be a good idea to use this to patch your lawn quickly because it is fairly slow growing. However, if you don’t mind waiting it can create a beautiful lawn in the South.
A thick, dense grass type that can feel like a carpet. It is found in the Central states usually, but it can be found North. It will turn brown when the weather gets too cold. One of the slower growing grasses and requires a lot of mowing. If you let it grow without mowing it will create seed heads.
Bahia is a durable grass often used along the Southeastern coast. It can withstand drought and heat and doesn’t require very much maintenance. It grows low and coarse and is aggressive. It is often criticised for taking over lawns and not being as pretty as other grasses, but it is a very good choice if you don’t want to worry about maintaining your yard all year.
Buffalo grass is drought tolerant and has good resistance to cold compared with other warm-season grass types. It doesn’t require very much maintenance and is dormant during the Winter months. It has a blue-green color and is most common in the Great Plains.
The transition zone is the area that encompasses the northern part of the South and the southern part of the North. It goes from the central U.S. to the Atlantic and the eastern part of New Mexico and Colorado.
Most grasses are defined as cool-season or warm-season, so this area presents a challenge. It is often too cold for warm-season grasses, but the Summers can be too hot for cool-season types.
When choosing a grass for the transition zone so you need to take your specific climate and soil into consideration. Some try to mix two types of grasses, one cool-season grass and one warm-season grass.
A lot of homeowners in the transition zone opt for Bermuda or Tall Fescue. It is best not to mix them because Bermuda will slowly take over and eliminate the Fescue. Zoysia, Buffalo, Ryegrass, and Bluegrass are also used in parts of the transition zone.
You may want to ask an expert in your area before deciding on a grass type and it doesn’t hurt to get your soil tested either. Some grasses that work in parts of the transition zone do not work so well in other areas.
Popular Grass Mixtures
It is very common to use a mixture of two or more types of grasses because the strengths of the types will be combined in order to eliminate certain weaknesses. This is more common with cool-season grases, but can be done with warm-season grass as well.
The most common mixes will mix two or more species of the same type of grass. For example, there are many blends of three types of Fescue grasses. However, there are also mixtures of more than one different type of grass that you should be aware of.
Bluegrass, Rye, and Fescue
As the most popular choice in the North, this combination is used in almost all lawns in the upper half of the United States. Kentucky Bluegrass creates the most lush, pleasant lawn, but it can’t take very much shade. It also isn’t very reliable if there is foot traffic.
Ryegrass is resistant to foot traffic. It doesn’t, however, do well in dry or cold weather. It mixes well with Kentucky Bluegrass and helps to keep dead or bare spots from appearing in your yard.
Tall and Fine Fescues tolerate shade the best. They are also good for cold and dry weather. The combination of these three types creates a durable yard that still has the look of beautifully Kentucky Bluegrass.
Bermuda and Bahia
This is a great mix for Southern areas because it is very durable. Bermuda grass will add some personality and lusciousness to Bahia. The Bahia will make the mixture more durable and resistant to heat and drought. This mixture is commonly used by commercial property owners and along roadways.
Lawn Repair Mix
If you are reseeding a few spots in your yard, be sure to check out lawn repair mixtures. These mixtures combine fertilizer and mulch with the grass seed. They will usually use a type of fertilizer that is perfect for the type of seed you are using.