When starting a new lawn or landscaping project, it is essential that you do you plenty of research to pick the right type of grass for your geographic area, climate, and yard demands. Though we see it growing all around us, grass is not just grass; there are hundreds of different strains, each with their benefits and disadvantages. If you are really dedicated to having the best lawn possible and have the money to spend, you may want to consult an expert before choosing a grass type for a large scale lawn or landscaping project. Below is a very basic list of the most common grass types and their environmental requirements.
Bahia grass prefers warm temperatures and does not fare well in the cold, making it a great grass for Southern homes. It is relatively drought resistant and can tolerate shade or sun. Bahia is fairly low-maintenance as it is low-growing, giving it a coarse texture which fends off weeds. It can survive in a variety of soils, though it has a coarse blade, making it not suitable for soils with a high pH level. Though, it requires frequent mowing during hot weather it can thin out over time.
Bent grass was originally refined for use on golf courses, making it great for extremely close mowing. It is a rather high-maintenance grass and requires constant attention in areas with higher heat and lower moisture levels. Though, it is sometimes found in lawns in the North where the climate is cooler and moister. It does not do well in either extreme, dry weather or very cold winters, so it is usually not recommended for general lawn use unless you plan on frequent mowing.
Bermuda grass loves warm weather and sun, and grows with vigor, making it a popular choice for home lawns. It is low-maintenance and tolerates drought and salt. Its fine texture makes it very traffic-resistant but it is not the best grass for a yard with flower beds and shallow borders as it can be rather invasive and will easily take over those areas.
This popular grass is perfect for high-traffic areas. It is one of the hardiest grasses for cold weather climates but does not do well in shady areas or areas where the soil is high in salt. In cool season areas it is used in lawns, athletic fields, and parks due to its great coloring, thick coverage, and high resistance to traffic damage. Kentucky bluegrass has a very shallow root system, making it susceptible to drought conditions and causing it to go dormant in hot, dry weather and during the colder winter months.
Buffalo grass is one of the few common grasses native to North America, named for the way it supported the herds of buffalo which roamed the Great Plains. Early settlers also frequently used this grass to make sod houses. It requires very little watering, making it drought-resistant and popular in drier climates. Buffalo grass is one of the rare grasses which can tolerate extreme environmental conditions. This slow-growing grass thrives best in the sun and does not tolerate shade well, and despite its low maintenance, it is not very traffic-resistant.
This low-maintenance grass loves wet soil, making it popular for use around drainage ditches and for areas in need of erosion control. It handles traffic fairly well and is also found in many lawns and parks. Carpet grass is perfect for slightly shadier areas that hold moisture longer.
Though this grass is often found in lawns, parks, and commercial areas, it really does not handle high traffic very well. It is, however, low-maintenance and requires very little fertilizer. It is low growing, coarse, and fast spreading, but it is not drought resistant and will turn brown if exposed to high temperatures. It grows best in full sunlight and is generally resistant to insects and diseases.
There are a few different types of fescue grass to consider, but in general this grass thrives in the shade, stays green all year and is low-maintenance. Fine-leaf fescue is a good cool season grass and can survive extremely cold conditions. It does not tolerate traffic as well as other fescues but is drought resistant and usually disease resistant. Tall fescue is a perennial, bunch-type grass that grows fastest in the spring and fall. It is low-maintenance, drought-resistant, and tolerates traffic better than fine-leaf fescue.
If you have a high-traffic area with lots of sun and consistent rain, this grass may be perfect for you. Found in athletic fields, parks, golf courses, and lawns it grows quickly and is easy to keep green. It prefers the sun and needs regular watering as it does not tolerate drought conditions very well, though it does mix well with other grass types. If you live in an area with extreme summers and winters, rye grass is probably not your best choice; this grass is best suited for temperate northwestern or northeastern states.
St. Augustine grass is one of the most popular turf grasses in Southern homes as it prefers warm, coastal areas. Rather high maintenance, it requires frequent watering, mowing, and fertilizing. It can tolerate some traffic but is generally recommended for low traffic areas. It can endure some amount of shade but prefers the sun, where it will grow heartily and thickly, making it great at blocking weeds.
Zoysia grass is rather hardy; it tolerates salty conditions and can handle traffic better than most turf grasses. When it is damaged, however, it recovers slowly due to its slow growth rate. It is not recommended for areas that may experience heavy traffic concentrated in one area. It is a dense grass that is great at surviving drought conditions but does better with frequent watering as it can turn a yellow, straw-like color in extreme drought conditions.
Whatever your conditions are, there is definitely a perfect type of grass out there for your lawn!