About Turfgrass

Overview

Turfgrass is a specialized lawn that is able to withstand much traffic. It's used for residential and public lawns such as playgrounds and sports fields. Only a few varieties of turfgrass that grow today in the United States are native to America. Although turfgrass breeders continue to search for the perfect lawn, there are weaknesses, as well as strengths found in all turfgrasses. While tall fescue can endure long drought periods, others such as Kentucky bluegrass need more watering, although this grass is exceptionally durable.

Geography and Types

Turfgrass is divided into two categories: cool season and warm season grass. Cool season turfgrass is usually grown where freezing temperatures and frosts are a regular part of a year. Kentucky bluegrass is the best known cool season turfgrass. Other cool season grasses include rough bluegrass, red fescue, bentgrass and ryegrass. Bermudagrass is one of the most popular warm season grasses and is used in parks, golf courses and other sporting fields. Other common warm season turfgrasses include bahia, buffalo, Bermuda, centipede, carpet, St. Augustine and zoysia grass.

Benefits

Turfgrass sod provides a safe setting for children playing games. It helps to reduce carbon emissions and lowers energy consumption. Reducing soil erosion and controlling air pollution are other benefits. According to Lawn Institute.org, a 2,500 sq. ft. lawn of turfgrass absorbs carbon dioxide from the air and releases enough oxygen for a family of four to breathe. Turfgrass also has a cooling effect on hot summer days.

Considerations

Besides a region's temperature and annual precipitation, there are other considerations involved in choosing a turfgrass. The amount of traffic on a lawn is a major consideration. The shade tolerance of a grass should be considered, in addition to whether a grass changes color during winter. Although zoysia is a low maintenance grass, it turns into a straw-brown color during winter, while varieties such as centipede grass remain green all year.

Misconception

It's a common myth that seeding is a better way for establishing a lawn than sodding because people believe it's considerably less expensive. In reality, sodding is cheaper over time. This is because of maintenance expenses that are added to the cost of seeding. Sod is installed by professionals and after it's installed, the only expenses are water and fertilizer, making it lower maintenance.

Warning

White grubs are destructive insects that damage turfgrass by chewing off grass roots below the soil surface. This root injury causes turf to absorb less water and nutrients. Initial signs of white grub damage include grass thinning and turning yellow. Dead patches grow larger is size as damage continues with turf areas suddenly wilting. Turf infected with white grubs may also feel spongy when you walk over it.

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About this Author

Venice Kichura has written on a variety of topics for various websites, such as Suite 101 and Associated Content since 2005. She's written articles published in print publications and stories for books such as "God Allows U-Turns." She's a graduate of the University of Texas and has worked in both Florida and Connecticut schools.