Select the Right Lawn Grass for Your Region
The best way to have a healthy lawn is to start with the right grass type for your region and location. The right grass will naturally be able to adapt to your climate and soil conditions, needing less watering, fertilizing and weed control.
Lawn grasses are divided into two types: cool-season and warm-season grasses. Grow cool-season grasses if you live north of a line running approximately from Baltimore, Maryland, through southern Illinois and Colorado to San Francisco. Grow warm-season grasses if you live south of that line. Of course, your specific geography or natural features may dictate which grass type grows best, especially if you live just north or south of that line or along the coast. In those cases, try both types of grasses to see which grows best.
Cool-season grasses grow mostly in spring and fall when the weather is cool and moist. During a hot, dry summer they often turn brown and go dormant. Here are some cool-season grasses to try.
- Kentucky bluegrass: This grass grows best in full sun on highly fertile soil that is well watered. It's a high-maintenance grass that requires regular fertilizing, watering and dethatching. It does have a beautiful color and soft texture.
- Tall fescue: This newer grass variety has wide blades, like Kentucky bluegrass, but better tolerates summer drought and less-than-ideal soil conditions. Fine fescues are related to tall fescues, but they have wispy grass blades and don't look as manicured as tall fescue or bluegrass when mowed. On the plus side, they're tolerant of part-shade conditions, drought and low soil fertility.
- Perennial ryegrass: This grass looks and feels similar to bluegrass, but grows and fills in faster. It needs really high soil fertility and lots of water, but it can be grown in part shade.
Warm-season grasses grow best during the heat of summer and often turn brown and go dormant in spring and fall when it's cool. Here are some types to grow if you live in the South.
- Bermudagrass: This is the most popular warm-season grass type. It has soft grass blades and needs full sun to grow its best. It's a common grass on golf courses and is very durable.
- St. Augustinegrass: This fast-growing grass does well in part sun, making it a good choice for shady, Southern yards. It does have insect problems and grows best on more alkaline soils.
- Zoysiagrass: This fine-textured grass forms a dense lawn and is resistant to heat and drought. It is relatively free of insects and diseases, but it grows slowly, taking its time to get established. It's one of the first grasses to turn brown when cool weather arrives in fall and one of the last ones to green up in spring.
Lawns are beautiful, and if you're like the millions of Americans who love the pleasant expanse of a lush lawn, give yourself a break and start with the right grass for your area.