Types of Turf Grass
Turfgrass is categorized into two main types – cool-season grasses and warm-season grasses. Cool-season grass types adapt best in regions where the temperature is within the range of 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit, while warm-season grasses grow best in temperatures between 75 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
Within each of these categories there are various types of turgrasses that are commonly used on North American lawns. Eden discusses these types in detail in this article.
Bentgrass is a cool-season grass best suited for the Pacific Northwest and parts of New England. This perennial creeping grass spreads by stolons while producing a dense mat equipped with shallow roots and fine, bluish-green foliage.
Bentgrass is mainly used for northern golf courses thanks to its low growth and soft texture. Ideal for athletic fields and golf courses, bentgrass is attractive, resilient, and can withstand foot traffic.
However, this creeping grass type is also high maintenance. It requires frequent watering, fertilizing, and fungicide-ing, and fertilizing, making it unsuitable for residential lawns.
The cost of purchasing bentgrass seeds can range from $22 to $400, depending on the quality of the seed and the brand.
2. Bermuda Grass
Bermuda grass, a perennial warm-season grass, is an ideal grass type for golf courses, just like bentgrass. However, unlike bentgrass, bermuda grass is a common choice for residential lawns as well.
Widely used as both lawn grass and pasture grass, Bermuda grass grows well in the southern parts of the country. It can withstand drought, foot traffic, and salinity, among other unfavorable conditions.
Bermuda grass is mainly installed on sports fields and commercial properties due to its vigorous, fine-bladed turf.
Even with numerous advantages, Bermuda grass does have a drawback – it is quite high maintenance. This grass type requires full sun exposure and may get thin over time if left in the shade for long periods. Bermuda grass needs to be mowed once a week.
It is susceptible to nematodes and hence proper measures need to be taken to prevent nematode infestation. Bermuda grass has a low tolerance to cold weather. Bermuda sods can cost from $5 to $150, depending on the brand and the seed quality.
3. Kentucky Bluegrass
Kentucky bluegrass, a cool-season grass, is one of the most popular grass varieties for northern lawns due to its various attributes, one of which is a fast recovery rate.
Kentucky bluegrass has a better cold tolerance than any other cool-season grass. However, it is not very shade tolerant and will probably die if left in the shade for long periods of time. This grass type is used for commercial landscapes, athletic fields, golf course fairways, lawns, and pastures.
Kentucky bluegrass has high maintenance requirements like more frequent irrigation compared to other cool-season grasses. Lack of maintenance can lead this type of turfgrass to go dormant as soon as the temperature falls.
The cost of buying bluegrass seeds can range anywhere from $0.35 to $0.40 per square foot and $160 to $185 per pallet; however, it depends on the brand as well.
Centipede is a warm-season grass with short, thick texture and bright green color and therefore, it grows best in warm and tepid climates. Centipede grass prefers full sun exposure but can tolerate partial shade. It can also tolerate high levels of nitrogen that can harm other types of grasses.
Due to its bright green color, centipede grass creates an attractive lawn. This makes it a popular choice among homeowners. It is also a low-maintenance grass that is also weed-resistant. However, it performs poorly under high traffic and becomes brown during the winter.
The average cost for Centipede grass ranges from $160 to $450 per pallet, but it can vary depending on the sod provider.
5. Fine Fescue
Fine fescue is a cool-season grass that has fine textured grass blades with dull green color. It produces soft but needle-like leaf blades and is usually paired with Kentucky bluegrass and ryegrass.
Fine fescue creates an eco-friendly lawn since it germinates quickly and establishes readily. One of the advantages that make fine fescue an excellent choice is its ability to thrive in clay, sandy, or rocky types of soil where no other grasses can survive.
Fine fescue performs well in cooler climates but develops thatch quickly. However, one can still go for this grass type since it is low maintenance.
The cost of fine fescue starts from $30.
Floratam is a warm-season grass and a cultivar of St. Augustine grass. It is commonly found in arid regions along the Gulf Coast.
This type of turfgrass thrives in summer but also lacks tolerance to cool weather and goes dormant in the winter season. However, it quickly turns green in the spring as well.
This coarse-textured, dark-green grass comes with large, purplish-red above-ground stems known as stolons. Floratam cannot withstand heavy use due as its texture, density, and softness limit its ability to do so. Hence, it’s not a good choice for athletic fields or playgrounds.
You need to mow the grass up to 3 to 4 inches for better maintenance since it grows rapidly and recuperates quickly.
A pallet of floratam can cost you around $241, but the price can vary from brand to brand and depends on how much sod you need for your lawn.
Ryegrass is a cool-season grass with fine texture, good density and uniformity. Ryegrass seeds germinate and establish more rapidly than Kentucky bluegrass.
While ryegrass is a natural pre-emergent, it also has a very high wear tolerance, making it a great choice for high foot traffic areas. This cool-season lawn grass also provides soil stability during the winter.
But ryegrass comes with its fair share of drawbacks. It requires full sun but has poor tolerance to excessive heat, drought, and cold. Yes, it performs better in a cool environment but cannot withstand extreme warm or cold temperatures.
Depending on the cultivar, ryegrass requires moderate to high maintenance. Mowing height must be 2 to 3 inches. During the growing season, you are required to apply 2 to 6 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet along with 1 to 1 ½ inches of water per week to maintain the green and active growth.
The cost of ryegrass can go from $35 to $45 for a 50 lb bag. This price can vary from brand to brand.
8. Tall Fescue
Tall fescue is a cool-season grass with a low density and a bunch-type growth habit. It has a medium-coarse to coarse texture, requiring low to moderate maintenance. Tall fescue’s ideal mowing height is 2 to 3 ½ inches.
The advantages of a tall fescue lawn are tolerance for low soil fertility levels, low maintenance, shade tolerance, and resistance to insects (European chafer) and diseases. These features make it a popular choice among landscapers or homeowners. However, tall fescue has poor recuperative ability.
The cost of purchasing tall fescue can vary, depending on your requirements and the brand you buy from.
Zoysia is a warm-season grass. It is a drought-tolerant grass that can withstand moderate foot traffic. Zoysia is known for its ability to withstand heat and drought as well. This grass type stays light to medium green during its active growing season, but it grows best in southern areas.
It spreads slowly, and its blades turn brown during winter. The cost of purchasing Zoysia ranges from $180 to $270.
How to choose the best turf grass for a lawn?
Choosing the best turf grass for your lawn, yard, or landscape depends on various factors. They are given below.
- Geographical Region: Consider the site to determine if the grass type you chose will survive the weather conditions where you reside.
- Traffic Tolerance: If you have a preference for heavy foot traffic grounds, then try getting the type of turf grass that can withstand foot traffic, or may be a type of turf grass that recovers rapidly from wear.
- Soil Type: The type of soil is also crucial to determining the level of soil fertility that can help your type of turfgrass to flourish well.
- Sun Exposure: Consider the level of sun exposure your lawn receives to select the type of turfgrass that can either tolerate shade or can easily thrive under shade.
In conclusion, turfgrass is divided into two broad categories – cool-season grasses and warm-season grasses. There are various popular grass types under these categories like Kentucky bluegrass and Ryegrass for cool-season grasses and Bermuda grass and Zoysia for warm-season grasses. Factors like geographical region and soil type should be considered when installing turfgrass. Contact Eden for professional turf installation and maintenance.