Types of Grass You Can Find in Home Gardens
Maintaining a healthy lawn at home comes with many benefits. However, you have your work cut out as there are many types of grass you can find on home lawns. Many times, people think that taking care of a lawn should be an easy task. For many, the first thing that often comes to mind is “it’s just grass.” However, this statement could not be further from the truth.
Various grass types can cover your home’s lawn. Each of these has different textures and maintenance requirements. So to help you out, here’s a guide covering the common types of grass you will find in lawns.
What Are Some Different Types Of Grass?
There are more than 12 grass species in US lawns. You can categorize these grasses as either warm-season or cool-season. Their key difference lies in the climate where they thrive. As its name suggests, warm-season grasses survive better in warmer climates. On the other hand, cool-season grasses are more suitable for colder climates.
To give you an idea of different grass types, here are common examples per category:
- Warm-season Grasses: Bermuda grass, Centipede grass, Dichondra, Saint Augustine grass, Zoysia grass, Carpet grass
- Cool-season Grasses: Bentgrass, Kentucky bluegrass, Fine fescue, Perennial ryegrass
If you want to keep your lawn lush and healthy, you should familiarize yourself with the many types of grass. Here are the common lawn grasses to help you identify what types you have on your lawn.
Centipede grass has short, light green, and notched leaves. It is ideal for warm climates but does not thrive in dry areas unless you water it consistently. Centipede grows low to the ground and spreads out horizontally. It can tolerate moderate shade if it receives at least four hours under the full sun.
Centipede grass is not demanding in terms of maintenance. It only needs one inch of water per week from irrigation or rainfall. It can also stay green all year round in areas with mild climates. However, this grass type is sensitive to temperature and soil. Centipede only thrives in warm places with sandy and acidic soils. It does not fare well in the cold weather, making it unsuitable for the Northern areas.
Zoysia grass is a slow-growing grass with stiff and coarse leaves. Many like this grass type for lawns since it can survive against intense heat and infrequent watering. While it takes longer to establish than other grasses, it creates a dense turf. This characteristic makes it hard for most weeds to get through zoysia.
Zoysia grass has minimal maintenance requirements. It only needs an inch of water per week. Similarly, you can use a slow-release fertilizer since the grass does not need frequent feeding. It grows best with the full sun, turning your lawn lush in spring and summer.
During the colder months, zoysia will turn dormant and brown. However, it should turn back to green once the warm weather returns. In fact, this warm-season grass is one of the first few to return to green after its dormancy.
Other names for prairie grass include rescue grass and matua. It has large and light green leaves that you will often find in pastures and hay meadows. Dairy farmers use this grass type the most since it serves as a crop extender. In addition, it has a high protein content that makes it a cost-effective food option for livestock.
Prairie grass is drought-tolerant, but it will not survive in intense floods. It also needs good drainage and does not flourish in infertile soils. However, it is not a competitive grass type, so you can plant it with other pasture grasses. For some ideas, you can combine prairie with alfalfa or legumes.
Monkey grass is also known as lilyturf, which you may often see as a groundcover for gardens. It blooms purple or violet flowers around July and August, providing a beautiful contrast against your green turf. If you are looking for depth and dimension on your lawn, this grass type will be a good addition.
Monkey grass is common in homeowners’ lawns since it is adaptable to different conditions. You can grow it under a full sun or shaded area. As a plus, this grass type requires little maintenance since it is drought-resistant. You only need to water around once every two weeks and mow once a year.
Once established, monkey grass can grow amid high heat and drought areas. However, it declines and grows slowly during the winter. So you should cut it low to the ground at this time to make way for new growth in the spring.
Saint Augustine is a popular lawn grass in Florida due to its tolerance to heat. It has blue-green and coarse leaves that can stand well against heavy traffic. This grass type is also low maintenance once you establish the turf. At the start, you would need to water it daily. However, you can reduce irrigation as the grass grows. If you see the leaf blades wilting, this is a sign that your grass needs water.
Similarly, Saint Augustine is not demanding fertilizer. It only needs four to five pounds of nitrogen for every 1000 square feet per year. Overfertilization can promote disease and insect problems, so make sure you do not give more.
Marathon grass is another name for fescue. It comes in various seeds, such as tall fescue, hard fescue, and sheep fescue. You will find fescues in almost every lawn since it is resilient, requires little input, and can tolerate shade.
This grass type performs well in warm and cold weather. It is known to survive better in Southern areas than other similar lawn grasses. However, since it is a cool-season grass, it flourishes best in the winter. During this time, marathon grass needs little to no maintenance.
While fescue is drought-tolerant, it needs additional irrigation in the summer. Since the grass has deep roots, it does not need as much fertilizer.
Sod is not necessarily a grass type but a way you can buy your grass. It refers to pre-grown grass that you can readily install at home to have an instant lawn. This grass may not sound familiar to you since people often call it turf. Many golf courses and stadiums use sod since it saves time and effort.
That said, sod is also becoming more popular in home lawns due to its convenience. You can purchase it in rolls that include roots and some soil. So you just need to roll it out and water it, and you have a ready lawn. No need to sow your seeds and wait for the grass to grow.
Bermuda grass is one of the most popular grass types among homeowners. Its deep and dark green color allows you to achieve a lush and dense lawn. Bermuda is also drought-tolerant and resistant to pests and disease. Compared to other warm-season grasses, it is more resilient against harsh external conditions.
The main caveat with this grass type is maintenance. You must water, fertilize, and mow Bermuda grass regularly to maintain its health. While you can mow it to a low height to reduce the frequency, the grass grows back quickly. As such, you would need to be more hands-on with your lawn if you choose to grow Bermuda.
Artificial grass consists of synthetic fibers that are made to look like real grass. You can purchase it in different materials, colors, and heights to design your lawn accordingly. To ensure maximum longevity with this grass, make sure you find a reputable provider.
Overall, artificial grass is a good alternative if you want the beauty of a lawn without maintenance. Of course, you still need to clean up and remove dust occasionally. But the main difference is you need not water or feed your lawn. Aside from this, artificial grass is environmentally-friendly since you do not use pesticides and fungicides.
Why Is Grass Important?
You might not think too much about grass because of how common it is. However, grass is one of the most important species in the plant family. Many remember grass for its visual appeal, but it offers much more than beauty in your lawn. Grass serves as a food source for humans and animals. Beyond this, it benefits the environment by improving air quality, preventing erosion, and cooling the air.
What Are The Differences Between Grass and Sedge?
Grass refers to non-woody plants from the family Poaceae. It can be annual or perennial and can produce vegetative or floral stems. Grass leaves come in different shades, but the stems are typically cylindrical and hollow.
On the other hand, a sedge is a non-woody plant from the family Cyperaceae. It has a grass-like appearance, but its stems are solid and triangular. The leaves also look slightly different since they have a spiral arrangement.
Achieving a thick and lush lawn is only possible with the right maintenance. Unfortunately, many homeowners only think about lawn care when they encounter problems with their turf. However, lawn care should be part of your regular routine. Whether you are a beginner or expert, here are tips to help you maintain a healthy lawn.
Best Type Of Lawngrass
It is hard to pinpoint the “best” lawngrass type since this depends on many factors. Here are key criteria you should consider:
- Climate. What is the climate in your area? Warm-season grasses are most suitable if you live in the South, where temperatures are warmer. On the other hand, cool-season grasses will thrive better in Northern areas.
- Maintenance. How intensively do you want maintenance to be? For low maintenance, go for grass types like zoysia, centipede, and Saint Augustine. If you can put in the effort for maintenance, you can consider Bermuda grass.
- Germination Period. How long does it take the grass seeds to grow? If you want to refresh your lawn quickly, you can opt for ryegrass or Bermuda grass. These two types can germinate in just 10 days. The only difference is that ryegrass is cool-season while Bermuda is warm-season.
- Traffic. How much traffic do you get in your yard? You should choose durable grasses like tall fescue, zoysia, and Bermuda for high-traffic areas.
Feeding your grass with adequate fertilizer and the right type is essential. The best fertilizer will provide your grass with the right nutrients and minimize pests. To help you find the right choice for your lawn, follow these tips:
- Identify your lawn’s nutritional needs. Grass mainly needs nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. You will see these nutrients abbreviated as NPK printed in fertilizer bags. Along with it is a three-digit number corresponding to the amount of each nutrient in its respective order. For example, a 5-10-5 bag will have 5% nitrogen, 10% phosphorus, and 5% potassium. To know how much nutrients your lawn needs, you should conduct a soil test. This test allows you to determine your soil’s health and fertility. It will reveal nutrient deficiencies to help you identify the optimal NPK ratio for your fertilizer.
- Choose the right type. Lawn fertilizers also come in different types. Slow-release or time-release fertilizers release nutrients gradually into your soil. These types are popular since you only need to feed your lawn a few times. They also help prevent fertilizer burn, which can cause discoloration and root damage. Another popular type of lawn fertilizer is granular fertilizer. This type can also come in time-release formulas. Regardless, homeowners often use granules since they are easy to apply and last long. The last type of fertilizer is liquid or water-soluble fertilizer, which you can apply with a hose. It comes in a concentrated form that dilutes when you mix it with the water in your hose. While liquid fertilizers are easy to apply, they tend to be more costly.
Lawn Care Regulations
While taking care of your lawn, you need to comply with different regulations. The exact laws will depend on where you live. However, here are general regulations you should look up in your local area:
- Watering Requirements. Places with scarce water may have laws restricting you to water your lawn at times. For example, Californians cannot allowed to water their lawns up to 48 hours after rainfall. The local government imposed this as a way to conserve water.
- Grass Height. Trimming your grass helps prevent weeds and keep your lawn healthy. But some areas may have specific requirements on how high your grass can be. For instance, the City of Andrews allows up to one foot for vegetation height in lots less than an acre.
- Animals. Zoning laws may have regulations on keeping livestock animals on your lawn. Make sure to read up on these before you invest in animal equipment. Likewise, you also need to consider how animals may disturb your neighbors. If you do not manage your animals properly, you may run into legal liability.
Irrigation is another critical aspect of lawn care. Homeowners often rely on their sprinklers to water their grass. However, irrigation is trickier than it sounds. There is always the risk of underwatering and overwatering. Thus, nailing the timing and quantity will be crucial.
Morning is the best time for lawn irrigation. The cool air makes it easier for the water to penetrate your grass. The rule of thumb is that lawns need 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week, either from irrigation or rainfall. You can hit this target by watering your lawn once or twice a week. However, be careful not to overwater if it rains a lot in your area.
That said, water penetration can vary based on your soil type. Before designing a watering system, you should know what soil you have in your lawn. Clay soil retains water better than sand and loam. However, it takes a while to absorb water, so you may need to water in cycles. Sand and loam are more porous, so you only need to water as needed.
Automated Lawn Care
Thanks to modern technologies, you can now automate different parts of your lawn care. Top examples include robotic mowers and lawn care software.
Robotic lawn mowers employ a random mowing system. First, you place a wire boundary around the edges of the area you want to mow. When the robot detects the wire, it will change direction to stay within the confined area. Most robotic mowers only cut about 2-3mm of grass per pass. This setting is a good number since
As for lawn care software, these are more suitable for lawn business owners. The software helps you schedule visits, optimize routes, and collect payments. It makes administrative tasks easier since you can do everything on just one platform.
Types Of Weeds That Grow in Grass
Weeds are every gardener’s nightmare. With all the effort you put into lawn care, the last thing you want is for weeds to destroy your work. To start, here are some of the most common weeds to watch out for in your lawn:
- Oxalis weeds
- Winter grass
- White clover
- Creeping buttercup
- Stinging nettle
- Annual sow thistle
- Summer grass
- Black medic
Weeds are a natural occurrence in any lawn. However, proper maintenance allows you to minimize invasion to protect your grass. Some weeds may need specific prevention techniques. But in general, you should focus on keeping your grass healthy before you turn to weed control products. If you spot a few small weed patches on your lawn, you can pull or dig them out. If you prefer not to risk pulling the weeds for them to grow back, you can use herbicides.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ
What Type Of Grass Stays Green All Year Long?
Fescue is popularly known as the grass that stays green all year round. This grass type can adapt to changing climate conditions, allowing it to maintain a rich green color. Aside from this, Saint Augustine grass is also evergreen. You just need to make sure to water it more in the dry season.
What Is The Best Type Of Fescue Grad Seed?
Fescue comes in many varieties, so the best type also depends on your preferences. In recent years, tall fescue has become popular since it can tolerate shade. Some of the best seeds include the Kentucky 31 Tall Fescue and Pennington Smart Seed Tall Fescue.
What Types Of Grass Do Soccer Fields Use?
Soccer fields often use perennial ryegrass, tall fescue, and Kentucky bluegrass. These grasses can withstand heavy traffic, intense heat, and external stress. For areas in the South, Bermuda grass is a popular choice since it creates a dense and thick turf.
Nowadays, some athletic fields are starting to use artificial grasses or turfs. However, soccer fields continue to use real grass since players perform better on them.
What Kind Of Grass Do Animals Eat?
Timothy, orchard grass, and fescue are the most common types of grass that animals eat. Rabbits can also eat ryegrass and Kentucky bluegrass. These grasses are usually compatible with legume hays like alfalfa, red clover, and white clover. If you have a pasture field, you can combine these grass types to provide adequate food for your livestock.
How Often Should I Fertilize My Lawn?
The general rule is to fertilize your lawn once or twice a year. However, the frequency can vary significantly based on your location, lawn, and fertilizer.
Types Of Grass Conclusion
Ultimately, grass is not “just grass” because it comes in a wide variety. Each type has varying characteristics and requirements for lawn care. Thus, before you get excited about growing your lawn, you should start with research. Familiarize yourself with different types of grass to determine the best choice for your yard. This way, you can establish a thick, lush, and healthy lawn.