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How to Choose Your Grass Type

Lawn Installation Grass Types

They say, one of the finer things in life is being able to walk out your front door and curl your toes in your lush green grass. Today we’re going to discuss a lawn installation and the different lawn types that would make up a lush green yard.

There are many different types of grass to choose from and all of them can have things that are good for your area or purpose, and bad. Most of the time the bad things about a grass type are usually because they have been relocated from their known state or zone.

As we go through these, I want you to be thinking about what goals you have in mind for your yard. Are you thinking you need a tough grass that can stand up against the rigors of children playing football, or are you trying to make it where you don’t need shoes when you walk to check the mail in the morning. Sometimes we’d like both of those to be true. You also should be considering how often you want to cut the grass, or if you’d like to cut your grass all the way through the winter, and yes, some of these grass types will do just that.

Bahia Grass

This is one of those grasses you’re going to see in the south, well, deep south. I suppose it’s name is almost one of Jamaican descent. There are some really good things about this type of grass, and the reason it’s so popular. First of all Bahia grass can handle long periods of time with no water, and it doesn’t require you to fertilize it on a regular basis. The reason it loves the gulf coast so much, is because of its love for the heat and as much sun as it can get.

One of the cons of Bahia is similar to other southern grasses it goes dormant in the winter, so if you’re looking for that lush green look in the winter, this grass is not for you. However, you can always over-seed with one of the other winter grasses listed here to get that green look in the winter.

Bermuda Grass

Sometimes known as wire grass amongst the southerners of Alabama, Bermuda grass is a tough, fast growing grass. It loves the sun, and can tolerate some shade, but the shade tends to thin it out a lot. One of the things people dislike about Bermuda is its invasive root system, which can creep into your flower beds and take over. Because its spreading roots can grow for months underground without showing themselves on top, it can be months before you realize it’s taken over your landscape. However, this same rugged trait can be amazing for heavily used yards.

Bermuda can take just about anything. Even weed killers can be sprayed directly on it, and the weed will die, but Bermuda just handles it like a minor setback. As far as cost goes, Bermuda is on the low end because of its popularity.

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Kentucky Bluegrass

This is one of those winter grasses I was speaking of earlier. Kentucky Bluegrass performs its best in a more northern climate. As it loves the cold weather, you can see this grass growing on many northern lawns throughout the winter season. It’s best planted in the sun, but some shade is usually OK. There are several varieties of Kentucky Bluegrass, and some of them are more sensitive to damage.

Unlike Bermuda grass, Kentucky Bluegrass is best for non stressful environments, or high traffic areas. You will find it to be a very wonderful grass to walk in, if you so choose. When it comes to cost, Kentucky Bluegrass tends to be much higher than other grasses. Mostly because of what it takes to grow and care for it. However, it also depends on where you are in the country. Further north, you will find it to be very affordable. 

Fescue Grass

If you’re looking for one of those all around good guys, or grasses, you may want to take a look at Fescue. Popular for its ability to adapt to just about any environment, Fescue ranks pretty high up on the list. However, aside from sometimes being hard to pronounce, Fescue is also not great for high traffic areas, it just takes a long time to heal from any damage.

Fescue does have a really great quality that serves a very particular purpose. If you have an area that is heavily shaded, Fescue can tolerate a lot of shade. It also isn’t susceptible to diseases. This makes this grass a particularly good choice. Fescue tends to be in the mid-price range. Because of it’s popularity, you can find it just about anywhere.

Perrenial Ryegrass

This particular variety of grass has made its way across the United States. It’s known for being universal for just about any situation. Ryegrass can even tolerate some shade if the situation calls for it. There are many different varieties of Ryegrass, so when you’re picking yours, be sure to check for its ability to withstand high heat, or long periods of time without water, as this tends to be different for each variety.

Ryegrass does prefer a cooler climate, so you rarely see it planted in the deep south areas. Because of its non-invasive root system, Ryegrass can be used for temporary situations to hold dirt in place until construction or a project begins. At the same time, it makes a great lawn. Ryegrass is used by construction companies, and tends to be on the low end for price.

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St. Augustine Grass

Similar to the Bahia grass, you will find St Augustine growing in much hotter climates. It prefers a more tropical setting. Augustine is known for its bluish tint on the blades of grass. Overall, St Augustine provides an excellent yard grass. However, you may find it more susceptible to bugs. Grubs in particular seem to take a keen interest in St Augustine, as this can be treated it’s nothing to deter you from using it.

There are other things such as brown patch, and other leaf or blade issues that can make this grass look awful at times. The good thing about St Augustine has always been it’s lush feel, and soft blades that make you wish you could grow it in your living room. Because of the moody behavior of St Augustine, it’s referred to as more of a delicacy in the landscaping world. This tends to raise the price, to be one of the higher priced grass seeds. 

Zoysia Grass

One of my favorite grasses has to be Zoysia. Mostly for its character, as the blade tends to roll up when it gets in the sunlight. Alternatively, it will unwrap when it’s exposed to shade. Its wrapping ability can leave you wondering if it’s the same grass as what’s planted in the shade.

Zoysia is a sun loving grass, and can tolerate some shade. It’s also a durable grass, and is better for higher traffic areas. You will see this grass go dormant as the weather turns cooler, as it prefers that warm summer heat from the south. Overall, I think you’ll find Zoysia to make a great yard.

Zoysia tends to be just above Bermuda grass as far as cost goes. It sometimes can be hard to find, this is only because of its seasonal nature.

What are the Three Most Common of Grass Types for Lawn Installation?

Out of all the grasses we’ve looked at today, there are three that tend to be the most common for lawn installation because of their universal ability.

Bermuda

Bermuda is going to be number one as the most popular grass on the list. Bermuda is both hated and loved. But it’s dependable, and so, contractors and homeowners alike, continue to plant and spread its existence.

Zoysia

The next on list is going to be Zoysia, as it tends to be a reliable, strong grass. Even though there may be some debate between Zoysia and Fescue as to which one is more popular, we believe Zoysia wins, as it is simply more tolerant of more situations.

Fescue

The last one on the list is Fescue. Fescue get its rise to popularity from its ability to grow in colder weather. Known for its use in overseeding in the winter, Fescue loves the cold and can provide an excellent green space in all the cool months.

Out of all of these three, if you are wanting to create a great yard, you should really pick one of the first two, and combine it with Fescue. The beauty of the different types of grasses is their ability to help create a good environment.

How Do I Decide Which One I Need for Lawn Installation?

Deciding which one isn’t as difficult as you might think. There are some practical things to consider for lawn installation, which are going to narrow you down a lot. Thinks like shade. Shade limits you on what type of grass you can use. Then you have your high traffic areas. You really don’t want to use sensitive grass for these areas. Then you have your particular climate. Whether you are north, or south, or in the middle, you will have grasses that are going to be more readily available then others.

For example in the deep south, you won’t have the trouble of finding Bahai grass at your local home improvement store. You will have trouble finding some of the cooler climate grasses. You will find your choices are actually limited, as you use some grass types for your shade areas, some for your high traffic areas, and others to create a carpet like feeling across your yard.

 It’s easy to get hung up on one type of grass or another, all in all, it’s better to match your grass types with what you are trying to accomplish, and combine that with what is available for your area. This will give you the best opportunity for success.

Conclusion

Each type of grass has the ability to bring a certain flare or character to your yard. It’s best not to approach any natural decision with much precision. Nature isn’t an exact measurement, it’s really a lot of grey areas. It’s a lot of blends and flow. Of course this doesn’t mean you can’t be precise about your decisions, or even when the cutting of your grass or shrubs. My point is, it doesn’t matter who you are, or what your personality type is.

Nature provides something for everyone. I’ve seen yards that were strict one one type of grass, and I’ve also seen them carefully strung with different types of grass to compensate for each environment. Then, of course you have the yards that are mostly weeds. Nature truly compensates for everything and everyone.

The sooner you get started with your lawn installation, the sooner you get to enjoy all that nature has to offer. One thing to keep in mind is some grasses like Bermuda are difficult to change if later you decide you do not want Bermuda. Most of the other grasses are a little easier to change but all of them would require work. Choose something you think you will enjoy, and then do just that, enjoy it. 

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