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Choosing the Right Type of Grass

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Choosing the Right Type of Grass

Zone Map for Lawn Grasses

Considerations for choosing the appropriate type of grass include:

Your climate zone:

Whether you live in the South, North or transition zone will determine your need for warm season or cool season grass. Proximity to coastal areas, how much sunlight your yard gets and elevation will further determine what species to use.


What you intend to use it for:

You will need different types of grass or different mixtures of species depending on if your lawn is mainly for aesthetics or if it is used by children and pets. Certain species are better suited to heavy traffic and play, while others can provide a beautiful looking lawn but will not stand up to wear and tear.

What level of maintenance you want to put into it:

Some species are high maintenance and require plenty of water, fertilizer and upkeep, while others are slow growing and drought tolerant and can be mowed infrequently. A low maintenance lawn will not look as lush as a highly manicured lawn, but it is still perfectly acceptable as a lawn.

Types of Grass

There are two groups of grass commonly found on lawns: cool season grasses and warm season grasses.

Common Cool Season Lawn Grasses

  • Kentucky Bluegrass
  • the most common lawn grass in the North and transition zone
  • excellent color, texture and density
  • not very shade or drought tolerant
  • tends to be high maintenance
  • Perennial ryegrass
  • desirable for its rapid germination rates
  • excellent wear tolerance, great in high traffic lawns
  • used to overseed dormant southern lawns in the winter
  • Fine fescue
  • including Red fescue and Chewings fescue
  • excellent shade and drought tolerance

In northern climates and most of the the transition zone a typical lawn will contain a mixture of Bluegrass, Perennial Ryegrass and fine fescue, allowing the ability to be adapted to your specific conditions.

Common Warm Season Lawn Grasses:

  • Bermudagrass
  • drought resistant
  • prefers full sun
  • St. Augustine
  • very popular Southern lawn grass.
  • high tolerance for heat
  • Zoysiagrass
  • common transition zone grass
  • heat and drought tolerant
  • Bahiagrass
  • resistant to drought,disease and insects
  • does well in a variety of soils
  • Centipede Grass
  • can grow in low fertility soils
  • low maintenance requirements
  • Seashore Paspalum
  • excellent salt tolerance, popular in coastal regions
  • low fertility requirements with excellent disease, insect, and drought tolerance

Warm season grasses don't mix well as they end up competing with one another. Which is the best warm season grass is largely determined by soil composition and personal preference. Most warm season grasses turn brown under extended cooler temperatures which may warrant winter overseeding with perennial ryegrass

Read about drought tolerant cool season grasses here

Read about the best drought resistant warm season grasses here

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