Grasses are not all alike. Some are wispy while some are dense. Some are dark green while others are light. Textures and colors can vary greatly depending on what type of grass you have planted in your lawn. Depending on your lawn circumstances, certain types of grasses may perform better than others. If you’re looking to improve your lawn and the grass that’s in it, but not sure what type of grass type you have, you’ve come to the right place.
Knowing what type of grass you have is of key importance when it comes to caring for your lawn. It helps you to understand why or why not your grass may be thriving in certain circumstances, and it equips you with the ability to choose the right products to treat and enhance your grass.
When it comes to determining your grass type, there are two main categories: cool-season and warm-season grasses.
Cool Season Grasses
If you live in an area where the winters get cold, then it’s likely you have cool-season grasses growing in your lawn. Cool-season means that these grass varieties grow best in colder temperatures and can survive brutal winters.
Here are four popular cool-season grasses:
This popular cool-season lawn grass isn’t from Kentucky, nor is it bluegrass. Instead, it’s a hardy lawn grass that outlasts many other cool-season grasses. The green to dark green turfgrass has boat-shaped grass tips and a stiff blade. Kentucky bluegrass spreads through rhizomes underground and produces a dense turf aboveground.
Don’t get this hardy cool-season grass mixed up with its inferior cousin, annual ryegrass. Perennial ryegrass grows in bunches, is quick to germinate, is a pale green color, and is shiny on the back of the blade. It also has tapered leaf tips.
Perennial ryegrass is known for its dense, thick growth. Since perennial ryegrass is low maintenance and hardy, many grass seed blends contain it.
Fescue grass as a species is shade tolerant, but it can handle some sun. Fine fescues have slender leaf blades. Fine fescues spread through rhizomes or seeds. A grass seed mix may contain any one of these types or combinations of fine fescues:
- Creeping red fescue
- Chewings fescue
- Hard fescue
- Sheep fescue.
Turf-type tall fescue is a popular grass variety because:
- It’s low maintenance
- Needs mowing only once a month
- Tolerates heat and drought well
- Uses less water and fertilizer.
Because of it’s low maintenance qualities, turf-type tall fescues are commonly included in seed blends. Yards in the full sun or shade need a diverse seed mixture to have success. Typically, grass seed blends germinate into thick, dense lawns using a mix of different cool-season grasses.
Warm Season Lawn Grasses
As you can guess, warm-season turfgrass grows best in southern states. Here is a rundown of popular warm-season grasses.
A popular grass variety because it can tolerate drought and foot traffic well. Zoysia grass prefers full sun and grows in well-drained soils. It’s a dense turfgrass with light to medium green, coarse leaves. The grass blades are stiff with pointed tips.
St. Augustine Grass
St. Augustine grows well in climates with mild winters. It’s a popular lawn grass in Florida, the Carolinas, Texas, and California. St. Augustine is a high maintenance grass that needs regular fertilization and supplemental water. It has a coarse texture with folded leaf blades that connect at the base of the plant.
This turfgrass variety does well in tropical or subtropical climates. However, Bermudagrass needs full sun. It has strong, wiry stems that produce above ground runners. Bermudagrass outperforms weeds and prefers being cut short.
This type of warm-season grass grows in South Carolina to Florida. It does well in sandy, acidic soils, and it’s more cold-tolerant compared to other warm-season grasses. Centipedegrass is coarse and has short, upright stems that look like a centipede. This yellow-green grass forms a dense turf and requires less mowing compared to St. Augustine grass.
Dichondra isn’t an actual grass. Instead, it’s a ground cover with green, shiny leaves that look like mouse ears. It’s perfect for cool coastal conditions, and it does well in partial shade but prefers full sun.
In addition to the warm season and cool season grass zones, there is a unique area found in the Northern South of the United States where grass types are not as easily defined. This transitional zone presents many challenges to lawn maintenance, as the mixed climate does not fulfill the needs of any one grass type. Instead, the weather is too cold for warm weather grasses in the winter, and too warm for cold weather grasses in the summer.
Homeowners looking to grow a successful lawn in the transitional zone should evaluate the pros and cons of each grass type according to their specific yard, and choose the type that presents the most advantages. In addition, homeowners can benefit greatly from seeking advice from neighbors and other local people to see what grass type and strategy worked for them.
At GreenView, we’ve developed many grass seed mixtures. Here are three to meet your property’s unique needs:
- GreenView Fairway Formula Sun and Shade grass seed mixture.
- GreenView Fairway Formula Sunny grass seed mixture.
- GreenView Fairway Formula Perennial Ryegrass Blend.