Although some types of grass may share specific characteristics, each is unique in their own way and has a growth pattern that differentiates them from one another. You may be asking yourself: “What kind of grass do I have?” This is an important question to ask, as different types of grass can vary in terms of what they need to thrive.
For example, some variations of grass require more water to survive. Others can tolerate hot and dry conditions, and may only need small amounts of water. These differences are usually indicated by the category that each type of grass falls under.
Warm-season grasses are common in the southern regions of the United States and perform well in humid environments. Since they are suitable for warmer climates, warm-season grasses will go dormant once the winter season arrives. This will also occur when temperatures fall below 65 degrees.
Cool-season grasses are more suitable for areas with temperatures between 60 and 70 degrees. They grow best in the northern states and will continue to flourish during the winter season. For this reason, most lawn owners opt for cool-season grasses to keep their lawn green all year long.
There is also a transition zone between the northern and southern regions where both cool-season and warm-season grasses may be able to grow. This region is located in the middle of the United States and includes states that fall between the lower part of California to North Carolina.
Knowing what kind of grass you have is key to achieving an ideal lawn. Below are some examples of grass types and how to identify them.
Most suitable for lawns in the Deep South, Bahiagrass is a perennial warm-season grass that is tolerant of heat and drought. It does not need a lot of water or nutrients to survive but prefers direct sunlight. The texture is very coarse, and it has a y-shaped seed head. Although it will turn brown during the winter, it will also stay green longer than many other grass types. It has short above-ground stems that are called stolons and can handle stress very well.
Also a perennial warm-season grass, Buffalograss is very low maintenance and drought-resistant. It does not need to be watered, fertilized, or mowed very often. However, it has a long dormancy period in the winter and low shade tolerance. It has a fine texture and is a greyish-green color. The leaf blades are narrow and short, also having a tendency to curl. The base of the leaf, also known as the sheath, is smooth. If not irrigated, Buffalograss will turn brown during the summer.
Floratam is a warm-season grass that is a variation of St. Augustine grass. It has a coarse texture, long and wide leaf blades, and a dark green color. In order to survive, Floratam needs a lot of direct sunlight. As a result, it is very intolerant of shade and consistent cold temperatures. It will lose its color in the winter but will also recover by the spring.
In contrast, St. Augustine grass has broadleaf blades with a medium-green color. While it prefers full sunlight, it has a high tolerance for shade. It is also tolerant of drought but intolerant of heavy foot traffic.
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This cool-season grass thrives in moist and shady areas and is sometimes used for overseeding dormant bermudagrass. Rough Bluegrass requires moderate levels of maintenance to survive. That being said, it needs a lot of water and soil that is rich with nutrients. It has a yellow-green color with fine blades that lie flat in one direction. Two distinguishable characteristics are the above-ground stolons and the long ligules. Some weaknesses of Rough Bluegrass include how susceptible it is to lawn diseases and its intolerance to heavy foot traffic.
Ryegrass is another cool-season grass that is successful in moderate weather conditions. There are three different types of Ryegrass: perennial, annual, and winter rye. Perennial Ryegrass is most commonly used for lawns. It has a reddish-purple stem base, and the back of the leaf blade is very shiny. Annual Ryegrass, on the other hand, is very useful for overseeding warm-season grasses in the South.
Unlike its perennial counterpart, it is not typically used for lawns on its own because it will die out in the late spring. Winter rye also differs from the other two types of Ryegrass because it is a grain. Rather than serving as a lawn grass, it is used as a cover crop to protect your soil. Since each type of Ryegrass greatly differs from the other, it is essential to understand how they serve distinct purposes.
Much like Ryegrass, Bentgrass is a cool-season grass that has more than one variation. Colonial bentgrass performs best in cool and humid climates and requires high levels of maintenance. Since it is prone to thatch build-up, it needs to be aerated and dethatched frequently. It is also sensitive to heat, foot traffic, and has a prolonged recovery process. Physical characteristics include fine blades that are rough around the edges with a prominent vein in the middle. The leaves grow upright and may have short but visible stolons. It is also a light-green color.
Creeping Bentgrass also has a fine texture with a bright green color. The leaves are narrow and flat and are rolled at the bud. It is usually used in golf courses and other outdoor facilities, whereas colonial bentgrass is more common for lawns. Creeping bentgrass can tolerate foot traffic and other types of stress better than colonial bentgrass.
Conclusion: Becoming Familiar with Your Grass
Each type of grass varies in terms of where it grows, how it grows, and what it needs to grow. Therefore, it is crucial to understand your grass specifically and how much attention it requires to be successful.
To get a look into the types of grass not discussed in this article, check out the following link for Types of Grass for Your Lawn.
Frequently Asked Questions: What Kind of Grass Do I Have?
Are there any other factors besides geographical region to keep in mind when deciding on a grass seed?
Yes, there are quite a few factors to keep in mind. Some types of grass require direct sunlight and have a low shade tolerance. Therefore, if you have a lot of trees around your lawn or other objects that will block sunlight, this may impact the growth of your grass. If you have children and expect to have heavy foot traffic, then you should also choose a grass seed that can tolerate that kind of stress.
What are some ways that I can improve my lawn?
Practicing proper lawn maintenance techniques is one way that you can improve the quality of your grass. This article on How to Get Lawn Maintenance Right will inform you of the different steps you can take to ensure your lawn is well taken care of.
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I am still unsure of what type of grass I have. Are there any other resources that can help?
Yes, there are a lot of resources that can help to and identify your grass. This grass identification guide by the University of New Mexico breaks down more than 20 types of grass by providing pictures and brief descriptions of each variation. Using this guide can simplify your search and also provide even more useful information about your type of grass.