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Grass is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. There are many different species of grass, each designed to serve a unique purpose or thrive in different environments. If you’re looking to grow your grass, you should do thorough research about the type of grass that will best thrive in your area.
Types of Grass
Below you’ll find three of the most popular species of grass and how to care for them.
Bermuda grass is best intended for Southern climates. A lot of grass can die with too much sun and needs an abundance of water to avoid becoming scorched. Bermuda, however, is well-known for its exceptional tolerance levels in heat and drought conditions. In fact, Bermuda grass needs ample amount of sun to survive. It will not do well in shady areas or rainy climates.
Not only does Bermuda do well in the sun, but it is also very tolerant of humid conditions. Because of its ability to withstand these conditions, Bermuda grass is known to be resilient, and is perfect for high-traffic areas. Although it can commonly be found on golf courses, it also makes for a great lawn grass seed and is used by many homeowners throughout the United States.
In terms of warm-season grasses, Bermuda is by far the most durable. Part of this is because of the grass’ root system, which can reach more than six feet below the surface.
Bermuda grass grows very quickly, and ranks as the fastest-growing warm-season grass. Its growth occurs both above and below the surface. Bermuda’s rapid growth can be difficult to contain, and could require frequent maintenance.
The grass is very sensitive to colder weather, making it less than ideal for those living in Northern climates. The grass can also be sensitive to over-saturation, and requires good drainage to survive. If the grass is not subjected to freezing temperatures, it will maintain its green color throughout the winter. However, in most climates there is at least some frost experienced.
When temperatures approach frost-levels, Bermuda grass will go dormant and begin to turn brown. It compliments well with Rye grass. Many Southern homeowners over-seed with rye grass seed in the winter to keep their lawns green throughout the year.
There are many different variations of Bermuda grass, many of which are intended for specific purposes. For example, Pennington offers many options, including:
- A Bermuda Blend that results in a fine-bladed, dense lawn with resistance to disease and insects
- A Texas Bermuda that is specifically designed with a root system intended to withstand the Texas heat
- A One-Step Complete Bermuda which can be laid down at any time for immediate results
Similar to Bermuda grass, Zoysia grass is also known for its ability to withstand extreme heat, heavy foot traffic, and lack of water. It does not require much maintenance or input from homeowners, and has recently improved in its ability to withstand the cold. Zoysia grass can withstand the shade better than Bermuda grass can.
Zoysia grass is considered a warm-season growth, with the active growth process beginning in late spring. The growth process will peak in the middle of the summer. It also can withstand humidity typically seen in Southern climates.
Zoysia is seen more extensively throughout the United States because of its ability to withstand cooler temperatures. The transition zone is the area of the country that is typically considered too cold for warm-weather grasses, but too warm for cold-weather grasses. Zoysia is an ideal grass for those living in the transition zone because of its ability to withstand hot and cold temperatures.
If grown in the proper climate, Zoysia will act as a perennial grass. It will return year after year without the lawn owner needing to cover the entire yard with grass seed. However, Zoysia grass can take longer to catch on, and it tends to establish more slowly than other grasses.
Once Zoysia does establish itself, it creates a very dense lawn. The lawn’s denseness actually acts as a natural defense mechanism against weeds and other invaders. Because it is so dense, it is a great choice for homeowner that will see a lot of foot traffic in their lawn, especially those with children.
The roots of Zoysia extend deep into the ground, which allows the grass to retain moisture in case of drought. If the temperatures become too extreme, or it does not receive enough water, the grass will go dormant and begin to brown. However, watering it will quickly restore it to its natural green color.
It’s recommended that Zoysia grass seed be planted in the spring, once there is no threat of frost. If your lawn has grown thin over the winter months, spring would also be the time you would want to reseed your lawn.
You’ll also need to dethatch and aerate your lawn in the fall, giving your lawn enough time to heal before reseeding in the spring. Dethatching and aeration is necessary because of a thick, organic material that accumulates at surface-level.
Fescue grass is great for withstanding both cold and warm climates, making it prominent in transition states. It is considered extremely versatile, and is a great option for a lawn seed. Even with its ability to withstand the heat, it is considered a cool-season grass. Its growth period tends to be in early spring and the fall.
Fescue roots can extend a couple feet into the ground, which is much deeper than other cold-season grasses. Unlike Bermuda and Zoysia grasses, which tend both above and below ground, fescue grows in clumps above ground.
This could be considered both good and bad in terms of lawn care. The grass will not spread rapidly, which means it is easy to keep out of unintended spaces like gardens. However, it does not self-repair very easily, which means more maintenance will be required if the lawn is damaged. Generally, fescues are considered to have low grooming and maintenance levels.
Fescue is a broad term, because there are over 300 species of the grass. Some of the most popular have been provided by fescue.com.
Tall fescue grass is a durable grass that can withstand the wear and tear of athletic activity. The grass is very shade tolerant, even more-so than grasses intended for cooler weather.
Creeping red fescue grass features very fine blades. It is also blended into other seeds, such as bluegrass, to add shade tolerance. Creeping red fescue is fairly easy to maintain, as it does not require much irrigation or fertilization.
Hard fescue grass is best suited for areas of higher elevation. It features a stunning blue-green color and does not need to be mowed frequently. In fact, hard fescues are meant to be left at longer lengths of at least three inches. They are great for areas that have drainage and runoff issues.
How to Grown Your Own Grass
If you’d prefer to grow your own lawn instead of installing turf, consider these tips from Green View Fertilizer.
Purchase Quality Grass Seed
Much like anything in life, you’ll get out what you put in. If you expect to have a lush, green, quality lawn, you’re going to want to pick a high-quality seed. Seeds that are highly-rated will carry a stamp of approval from the National Turf Evaluation Program.
Perhaps more importantly, you need to select a seed best-suited for your area. Climate is one of the biggest factors in whether you will be successful planting grass seed. If you pick the wrong type of grass seed, your seed will not grow. Furthermore, the type of seed you choose will determine when during the year you should plant the seed.
Investing more in quality grass seed can save you money in the long run. Skimping out on grass seed could mean you’ll end up paying more for fertilizer and other lawn maintenance tools.
Planting the Seed
When planting, your goal should be to place 16 seeds per square inch. It would obviously be impossible to be that precise, so use a spreader or mechanical seeder for large areas of your lawn. Spread seed by hand in smaller areas that the seeder couldn’t access. Spreading the seed doesn’t need to be an exact science, but you should try to spread the seed evenly.
Plenty of Water
Ample amounts of water will encourage germination, so you’ll want to keep your seed bed frequently moisturized. You want to avoid saturating the area, and should instead seek to lightly water it. Your goal should be to water the seed at least once a day until it grows two inches high.
Avoid Weed Killer
You’d think a weed control product would protect new seed, but it actually ends up damaging it. Avoid putting weed killer down until the grass has fully germinated. As a rule of thumb, weed control products should not be put down until you’ve mowed the lawn at least three times.