Choosing the right type of lawn grass can be difficult because there are so many different types of grass. There are cool-season grasses, warm-season grasses, shade-tolerant grasses and sun-loving grasses. It is crucial to plant the right type of grass for your yard, otherwise the grass will decline or die and you will be left with opportunistic weeds. Successfully choosing the proper grass seed begins with properly surveying the location in which it will be planted.
Decide between a warm-season grass or a cool-season grass. Warm-season grasses grow best when the soil temperature is consistently over 65 degrees Farenheit. They can survive short-duration frosts in the winter, but can be damaged severely with hard, prolonged freezes. Cool-season grasses thrive with soil temperatures between 50 and 85 degrees Farenheit. They can survive harsh winters, but burn out easily in summer heat.
Select a grass based on your irrigation plans. If you don't want to irrigate regularly, a drought-tolerant grass is best suited for you. Fescue is a cool-season grass that tolerates drought. Bermuda grass is a great drought-tolerant warm season grass. If you plan to irrigate, you can choose other grasses that aren't as drought tolerant. Some examples include ryegrass and Kentucky bluegrass on the cool-season front and St. Augustine on the warm-season front.
Survey the location where the grass will be planted. Sun-loving grasses need at least 4 to 6 hours of direct sunlight per day to grow. Shade-tolerant grasses should receive at least a few hours of direct sunlight but can manage with dappled sunlight throughout the day. No grass cultivar is suited for heavy shade. Shade-tolerant grasses include fescue for cool season and St. Augustine for warm season. Kentucky bluegrass is very sun-loving, as is Bermuda grass.
Identify your height requirements for your turf. For cool-season grasses, most like left as long as you can allow. However, some will tolerate shorter mowings better than others. Ryegrass and Kentucky bluegrass can be mowed as short as 2 inches but fescues should be maintained around 3 inches for best performance. Warm-season grasses like Bermuda grass do best when mowed 1 to 1 1/4 inches high, but St. Augustine likes being mowed as tall as 3 inches.