Lawn and Grass Types

Ysobel Croix | Improvement Center Columnist | December 13, 2011

Whether you have a failing lawn, no lawn or a lawn that just isn't the lawn you wish it to be, you probably could benefit from more information about the types of grass comprising your lawn. Why? Because the types of grass affect just about everything concerning your lawn, including how short you should mow it, how often you should water it, how much you can trample on it, what color it will be, what type of soil and nutrients it needs and much more.

What are the most popular grass types?

Most lawns are made up of more than one type of grass, according to the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources. To identify the types of grass, you'll need to compare your grass to key qualities and identifiers of popular grass types.

Each type of grass has its own characteristics that make it better suited to a particular region. For example, Kentucky bluegrass is not heat or drought tolerant and is considered a cool-season grass, which means it grows best in 60°-75°. Bermudagrass is both heat- and drought-tolerant, but isn't suited to the shade. Bermudagrass is considered a warm-season grass, meaning that it grows in 80°-95° weather, but goes dormant during winter. Your city or town's climate will determine which of the popular grasses grow best:

  • Annual ryegrass (cool)
  • Bermudagrass (warm)
  • Tall fescue (cool)
  • Kentucky bluegrass (cool)
  • Zoysiagrass (warm)

University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture professors Aaron Patton and John Boyd published "Choosing a Grass for Arkansas Lawns," in which they offer much practical advice to anyone considering popular grass types: "No one type of grass is best suited to all situations. Avoid the trap of letting personal preference and the costs of establishment become the overriding factors in selecting a grass. Your choice of a lawn grass should be based on climate, sustainability, intended use and desired appearance."

Eh…what? Grass has types?

The science of lawn care isn't for everyone. If it seems like too much work to identify the type of grass comprising your current lawn and to troubleshoot and implement a lawn care and maintenance plan, you might want to consider hiring a lawn maintenance service to get your lawn on the right track. A lawn care professional can make recommendations of popular grass types for your climate as well as your aesthetic needs, maintenance budget and lifestyle.