Choosing the Right Turf Grass for Your Lawn 1415

Whether you’re starting a new lawn from scratch, reseeding a few bare patches, or just trying to regain the healthy, green look your lawn had years ago, choosing the right turf grass is essential. Turf grasses can be broken down into two basic categories: cool-season grasses and warm-season grasses.

Cool-season grasses are well suited to northern climates while warm-season grasses are more common on southern lawns, but many areas can support both. In fact, most lawns consist of a blend of several different turf grasses, so it’s always a good idea to consult with a local expert before you make a final decision.

Cool-Season Grasses

  • Tall Fescue: One of the more common all-purpose turf grasses, tall fescue can tolerate heat better than most cool-season varieties, and turns brown only in extreme winter cold. It does well in full sun to light shade, resists most diseases, and forms a uniform moderate- to course-textured lawn.
  • Kentucky Bluegrass: Another widely-planted variety, Kentucky bluegrass fares well in all but the hottest climates. It grows best in sun, but tolerates some shade. It has a medium texture, and a dark blue-green color, from which it gets its name.
  • Perennial Ryegrass: This competitive cool-season grass grows best in moderate climates. It can tolerate traffic, making it a good choice for heavily used lawns, and it can handle excess water better than most varieties. It typically has a fine texture and rich, green color.

Warm-Season Grasses

  • Bermudagrass: As a warm-season turf grass, Bermudagrass does very well in warm to hot climates, but can turn brown during extended periods of low temperature. It has excellent drought tolerance, but will not grow well in shade. Bermudagrass has a medium texture and grey-green color.
  • Zoysiagrass: Zoysia prefers full sun, but will tolerate light shade. It is pest-resistant, tolerates drought, and fares best in warm climates, though it is slightly more cold tolerant than some other warm-season varieties. Zoysia also resists wear, making it well-suited to high-traffic lawns. This variety has a dark green color and a course, somewhat prickly texture.
  • St. Augustinegrass: Like most warm-season turf-grasses, St. Augustinegrass grows best in warm climates, and typically becomes dormant during a cold winter. It does have better shade tolerance than many warm-season varieties, however, and can withstand periods of drought. It forms a course, broad-leafed turf that does not respond well to heavy traffic.
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