That’s right! If you know about your grass, you can maintain it better (more than just mowing).
“But why should I care about grass, Meghan?”
Honestly, because it’s AMAZING!
Grass is one of the most underrated plants out there. How often does your yard get walked on, run on, etc.? Probably a lot. And your grass is always still there for you.
Did you know that there’s cool weather and warm weather grasses? That different varieties need different amounts of water? That some can thrive where others would die?
Now, most of the time, you’ll already have a grass that thrives where you live (because it comes with the house you’ve got). But people building homes on dirt plots has become very trendy lately.. and while I might not know a lot about house building, let me be your grass guide to help you pick the perfect one for where you live!
If you live near me (Northeast USA) or in the Midwest or Northwest USA, I hope you have a cool climate grass! If you live anywhere in the south, I hope you have a warm climate grass.
(Photo from http://clipartandscrap.com/grass-clip-art_23569/)
“What’s the difference between a cool climate and warm climate grass?”
I’M SO GLAD YOU ASKED!
Let’s break it down !
(GIF from https://giphy.com/explore/breaking-it-down)
As I said earlier, cool climate grasses are dominant in the Northeast USA, Midwest, and Northwest USA. They start growing in the spring and will grow well into the fall because they can hold up to slightly colder temperatures (60-75°F ish). However, if they get too hot, they can go dormant or stop growing. Cool weather grasses can hold up to even higher temperatures if they stay watered properly, but if the rain stops, your lawn might just turn brown. The most common varieties of cool climate grasses are Kentucky bluegrass, fescue (tall and fine varieties) and ryegrass.
- Kentucky Bluegrass holds up pretty well to people walking on it. It is a full sun grass. (It does not tolerate shade very well.) It needs a moderate amount of water and holds up fairly well to fluctuating high and low temperatures. (Photo from http://www.lawn-moweronline.com/kentucky-bluegrass/?fdx_switcher=true)
- Tall Fescue is heat, drought, and shade tolerant. It can grow well basically anywhere in the USA. It is disease resistant, but it does not hold up as well to foot traffic as some other grasses do. (Photo from https://caldwell.ces.ncsu.edu/2016/08/423764/)
- Fine Fescue doesn’t like heat or dry conditions, but does very well in shade. It is a good option for people who live in very wooded areas! (Photo from https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/lawn-care/specific/fine-fescue-grass/growing-fine-fescue.htm)
- Ryegrass germinates FAST— which is great if you need to cover a dead spot in your lawn. It has a great tolerance for cold weather and can withstand some shade. Some varieties are also heat and drought tolerant! (Photo from https://www.groworganic.com/lot-org-ryegrass-oregon-annual-lb.html)
Often, cool climate grasses are sold as blends and grow together! If you live in one of the above mentioned regions, really look at your grass next time you’re outside! I bet you’d find at least 3-4 different varieties!
Warm weather grasses thrive in the Southern and Southwestern USA. while warm climate grasses can hold up to extreme heats (about 95°F). They often don’t need as much water (some varieties do), but they hold up better to heat and possible drought conditions. These grasses tend to have a shorter growing season. They get green later in the spring and die off sooner than cool climate grasses. They thrive in higher average temperatures. The most common varieties of warm climate grasses are Bermuda grass, Buffalo grass, and zoysia grass.
- Bermuda Grass needs full sun and dry land. If your yard does not drain well, don’t plant this! This grass is tolerant to heat and droughts. It also holds up amazingly to being walked on, however it typically needs nutrients put into it as well (factor in that cost before you decide if you want this grass or not)! (Photo from https://www.seedranch.com/Bermuda-Grass-Seed-Common-Hulled-1-Lb-p/bermuda-grass-seeds-1.htm)
- Buffalo Grass thrives in dry, sunny conditions. It does not always hold up well to being walked on. (Photo from https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/lawn-care/specific/buffalo-grass/care-of-buffalo-grass.htm)
- Zoysia Grass is heat and drought tolerant. It doesn’t need much maintenance. When it matures and becomes thick, it is outstanding at holding up to foot traffic! It can tolerate some shade and some colder temperatures as well! (Photo from https://sodsolutions.com/lawn-care-guides/zoysia-101/)
Warm climate grasses vary so much in their needs. It is not recommended to blend warm grass seeds because they all grow very differently (otherwise your lawn would look pretty rough).
OH! One more thing.
Promise me you won’t try to mix cool and warm climate grasses together. Pick one and stick to it. Because you don’t want your yard to look uneven, patchy, or discolored in some spots and green in others!