There are many different varieties of lawn grass available but knowing the right one to choose for your area is vital.
Lawns are grown in every U.S. state, but the grasses in the lawns aren’t the same all over the country. Like most plants, grasses grow in some climates and conditions but not in others. It’s very important to choose the right grass for your location if you want an attractive and healthy lawn.
You can plant a new lawn from seed, sod, plugs, or sprigs. If you are planting a large area, seeding is the least expensive choice. The downside of seeding is that it takes a longer time for the grass to become established.
St. Augustine grass, hybrid bermudagrass, and some varieties of zoysiagrass are only available as sod, plugs, or sprigs. Plugs are small squares of sod, while sprigs are pieces of mature lawn grass. They are all more expensive than seeding, but take much less time to establish.
Following are brief descriptions of the major turf grasses, including where they grow in the U.S. Keep in mind that mixes of various kinds of grass seed increase your lawn options.
Types of Lawn GrassesBahiagrass is a low maintenance, drought- and shade-tolerant, low quality turf grass grown widely in the southeast.
Bermudagrass is the most popular lawn grass in the warm southern states.
Blue gamma grass is a native grass well suited for growing in the northern plains where summers are very hot and winters are very cold.
Buffalo grass is a native grass that grows well in high drought areas of the west.
Centipedegrass is a warm season grass that thrives in poor, acidic soils.
Creeping bent grass is a soft, tightly knit turf grass well suited to golf greens in northern states.
Fescue, fine – or needle-leaved. Mixed with perennial ryegrass and Kentucky bluegrass this turf grass increases shade and drought tolerance.
Fescue, tall – or broad-leaved. Traditionally coarse-bladed pasture grasses, tall fescue has new varieties that look and feel like Kentucky bluegrass but are more tolerant of low soil fertility and compacted soil.
Kentucky bluegrass is the most important turf grass in the northern half of the United States. It is also grown in southern coastal areas of California.
Ryegrass, annual, is a low-cost choice for overseeding warm season lawns.
Ryegrass, perennial, is often combined with Kentucky bluegrass and fine fescues. Like annual ryegrass, it can also be used for overseeding warm season lawns.
St. Augustine grass is one of the most important lawn grasses of the south and west. It grows fast and has a coarse texture.
Zoysiagrass makes a high quality lawn in subtropical areas of the country.
Choosing the Right Grass
Cooperative Extension agents can tell you which grasses or mixtures of grasses are best for your situation. Every state has a Cooperative Extension service, usually within the state university. You can find the office closest to you from the USDA website. Extension agents can also give you information on how to grow a lawn and help you with insect and disease problems.