If you have ground that is rocky or sandy with a pH that is too high or low or with a poor nutritional content, it can be challenging to grow grass. There are many grass varieties that are fussy about the conditions that they receive to grow in. Attempts to plant them may result in a patchy, bare lawn. Fortunately, there are also several turf varieties that grow well from seed.
Although fescue is primarily a pastureland grass used for cattle forage, some varieties of fescue have adapted well to low maintenance lawns. Fescue was introduced to the United States from Europe in the early 1800s. In its native country, fescue grows in boggy pastures and meadowlands. Fescue is a cool season grass that will also grow in arid parts of the United States such as Colorado or Arizona. Fescue varieties will tolerate low fertility and is tolerant of most turfgrass diseases. In drought conditions, fescue will not need irrigation until it shows signs of drought stress that includes leaf rolling.
Bermuda is a hardy grass that was imported from Africa or India during the colonial period prior to 1807. It is one of the most widely grown warm season turf varieties throughout the world and may be found in over 100 countries. Bermuda stands up well to heavy foot traffic. In the United States it is one of the most popular choices for Southern golf courses and sports fields. Bermuda will grow in a wide range of soil from heavy clay to deep sand. It tolerates acid and alkaline soils and is tolerant of saline conditions found along beaches. It will persist under low fertility conditions and will survive both drought and flooding conditions.
Zoysia is a warm season grass native to Asia. The grass was brought to the United States from Manilla in 1911. Zoysia has some cold hardiness and will survive deep into the transition zones between warm season grasses and cool season grasses. Zoysia will withstand all types of soil from sand to clay and survives in all pH ranges from acidic to alkaline. Zoysia will tolerate a high saline soil and grows well in all coastal regions. In warmer parts of the United States, Zoysia will continue to grow thickly when shaded. Zoysia has a deep root system that allows it to extract water from greater depths, which makes it more drought resistant as well.