Gardeners often take great pride in cultivating green, healthy lawns. Warm-season lawn grasses are generally used in southern areas with mild winters, but hot summers. Cool-season grasses are typically grown in regions with cold winters and mild summers. Lawn-grass selection includes several factors, including climate, light conditions and expected foot traffic.
Kentucky Blue Grass
Kentucky blue grass (Poa pratensis) is a perennial turfgrass hardy in USDA zones 3 to 7. This grass produces a soft, rich ground cover featuring bright green to blue-green blades. Kentucky blue grass varieties are easily established from either sod or seed. This medium-maintenance lawn grass performs best in full-sun to part-shade locations, but needs regular watering and fertilization. This cool season lawn grass is commonly planted in low- to medium-traffic lawn areas.
Red fescue (Festuca rubra) is a cool-season turf grass commonly planted for lawns in USDA zones 3 to 6. This easily seeded grass features fine, deep-green blades that are both shade- and drought-tolerant. This low- to medium-maintenance grass needs regular applications of fertilizer. Red fescue grass is commonly used in areas with many shade trees. This grass is highly susceptible to diseases when grown in hot climates.
English ryegrass (Lolium perenne) is a perennial turf grass characterized by its tolerance to high levels of foot traffic. This cool-season ryegrass can be fairly easily established from either sod or seed. Hardy in USDA zones 3 to 8, this ryegrass grows best in cooler climates and full-sun to part-shade locations. This low- to medium-maintenance lawn grass features glossy, green blades.
Zoysia grass (Zoysia japonica) is a turf grass commonly used for lawns in USDA zones 5 to 10. This warm-season lawn grass can tolerate heat, drought and a wide range of soils. This slow-growing grass creates a dense lawn that tolerates high levels of traffic. Zoysia grass can be aggressive when plated in full-sun locations, sometimes overrunning other grasses. This low- to medium-maintenance grass is generally established from either plugs or sod and needs regular applications of fertilizer from May through July. Zoysia grass typically tolerates foot traffic quite well.
Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon), sometimes referred to as wire grass, is a warm-season turf grass commonly planted in the southern areas of the U.S. Bermuda grass grows quite quickly and tolerates drought, heat and various soil conditions. Bermuda grass is typically established using springs or plugs, and the grass blade textures range from fine to fairly coarse. This tough, medium-maintenance grass is sometimes difficult to control and might get into flower beds and vegetable gardens. Hardy in USDA zones 6 to 10, this grass usually forms a dense cover that tolerates high levels of foot traffic and excludes many weeds.
Buffalograss (Buchloe dactyloides) is a warm-season grass that is low-maintenance, drought-tolerant and heat-tolerant. Hardy in USDA zones 3 to 9, this grass is native to the great prairies of North America. Buffalograss features grayish-green, fine blades that need little watering. This lawn grass can be established by seeds, plugs or sod. Buffalo grass is typically planted in lawns that receive little foot traffic.