Choosing the Right Grass

Last week, we talked about how overseeding your lawn can help to keep it lush, green, and healthy. Whether you are overseeding or planting grass seed for the first time, choosing the right grass is vital for proper growth.  There are many different types of grass seed available, so how do you know which one will yield the best results for your yard?  Here is a guide to help you choose the right grass seed to plant in your yard.

Climate Zones

When deciding which grass is best for your yard, climate region is the most important factor to take into consideration.  The fact is; some grasses are best suited for certain climates, while others thrive in other climates.  In order to decide which grass to use, we have split the country in three regions – cool season zones, transitional zones, and warm season zones.  Check out the map below to figure out in which zone you are in.

Cool Season Grasses

If you live in a cool season zone, there are a few grasses that have been found to thrive best in your climate area.

Kentucky Bluegrass

Pros: Kentucky Bluegrass is typically the grass of choice for many who live in cool-season zones.  It offers a deep green color and fine texture.  Its ability to withstand extreme temperatures make it a great choice for those who experience hot summers and cold winters.  Kentucky Bluegrass is a very resilient and low maintenance grass; and it’s able to withstand heavy traffic.  Also, since it is a creeping grass, it can usually repair minor damaged spots without reseeding.

Cons:  The biggest issue with Kentucky Bluegrass is that it’s prone to lie dormant during extremely hot seasons, which makes it turn a brown shade.  It’s also slow to germinate, and doesn’t perform well in extremely wet and shady areas.

Advice: When planting a bluegrass lawn, the germination process might take up to three weeks.  Because of this, it might be best to use a blend of one or two other grasses.  Perennial Ryegrass and Fescues both fill in fairly quickly.  When seeding a shady area, blend Bluegrass with a mixture of Fine Fescue.  The best time to plant Bluegrass is late summer to early fall, when the temperature nears 75 degrees.

Perennial Ryegrass

Pros: Perennial Ryegrass is a very diverse grass.  It grows well in a wide variety of soils, and it can withstand heavy foot traffic.  Perennial Ryegrass has a very desirable look and texture – a fine, bright green grass.  The germination period of Perennial Ryegrass is only about one week, making it a great nurse grass.  Perennial Ryegrass thrives best in coastal regions with mild winters and cool summers.

Cons:  Typically, Perennial Ryegrass has a low tolerance for drought and cold weather.  It is also a rather high maintenance grass to take care of.

Advice: Because of its low tolerance for cold weather, it is best to use perennial ryegrass in a blend of one or two more grasses.  Since it is very quick growing grass, keep the ratio of perennial ryegrass below 20%.  That way, the ryegrass can protect other slow-growing grasses.

Fine Fescue

Pros: Fine Fescue is a great looking, fine textured, dark green bunchgrass. This grass is a great choice for cooler climates.  Fescues grow well in low acidic soils and shade, and don’t require much maintenance or fertilizer.  Fine Fescue is very adept at handling droughts and shady regions.

Cons: Fine Fescue is not an ideal grass for hot climates or areas of heavy use.

Advice: Use Fine Fescue in a blend of Bluegrass or Ryegrass.  The best time to plant Fine Fescue is late summer to early fall, when temperatures are between 60 and 75 degrees.

Tall Fescue

Pros:  Tall Fescue is an extremely durable grass with a deep root system that makes it resistant to both drought and heat.  Newer blends of Tall Fescues are an ideal choice for yards.  Look for a “turf-type tall fescue.”  These turf types are a dense, dark green, coarse grass that is extremely resistant to diseases and insects.

Cons:  Like Bluegrass, Tall Fescue has a tendency to lie dormant in extremely hot temperatures, making the grass lose its color. It’s also slow to recover from injury.

Advice: Mix Tall Fescue with a blend of Fine Fescues and Bluegrasses for optimal diversity.  The best time to plant fescues is late summer to early fall, when temperatures are between 60 and 75 degrees.

Warm Season and Transitional Zone Grasses

If you live within the warm-season or transitional zone, there are a few grasses that will thrive best in your climate region.  When deciding on a grass, use one the following, or even a blend of a few of these warm-season grasses.

Zoysia

Pros: Zoysia is a very diverse and durable grass.  With a deep root system, zoysia is able to withstand extreme heat, drought and many different soil conditions.  Zoysia is a thick grass with a fine to medium texture and it’s extremely resilient to pests and diseases.

Cons: In the fall, zoysia turns a brownish, straw color.  Zoysia is also a fairly high maintenance grass type.  It’s difficult to mow, prone to thatch, and takes a long time to germinate.

Advice:  Zoysia is a great grass choice for Southern climates and Transitional zones.  However, it has a very long germination period.  It might take up to two years for Zoysia to come in full and thick, but once it does, weeds can rarely penetrate it.  Because of this, zoysia is usually a good grass to mix in with other grass types such as Bermuda.

Bermuda Grass

Pros:  Bermuda grass is one of the most commonly used grasses in southern climates.  Like Zoysia, its deep root system allows it to handle extreme conditions like sun and heat.  Bermuda grass grows in fairly quickly, making it a solid choice for quickly filling in damaged areas.

Cons: Bermuda grass is prone to losing its color after periods of frost.  It also has a tendency to form a thick layer of thatch, and doesn’t perform very well in extremely shady areas.

Advice: Because of Bermuda grass’ tendency to turn brown after it experiences frost, it’s usually a good idea to overseed Bermuda grass in the winter.  The best time to plant Bermuda grass is late spring to early summer.

Whichever grass you decide on, Mutton Power Equipment in Fort Wayne, Indiana has everything you need to make your lawn look great! From aerators to overseeders and more, Mutton Power Equipment is your online home for all Turf Renovation Equipment.  To talk to our lawn care experts, give us a call today at (260) 432-9438.

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