Grasses are a key element of any lawn, and there are many different types to choose from. Some grasses are better suited for sunnier areas, while others do better in shadier locations.
In this post, I will discuss some of the best grasses for your lawn, and provide tips on how to care for them. I will also provide examples of each type of grass. So, if you are looking to add new grass to your lawn, or simply want to learn more about the different varieties available, then read on.
1. Kentucky Bluegrass
Kentucky bluegrass is a desirable grass for lawns in nearly every climate. It is hardy, heat and cold tolerant, shade-tolerant, disease-resistant, drought-resistant, and has a fine-to-medium blade texture.
Kentucky bluegrass is a dense grass, which means that it tends to form a thick turf with few weeds growing in between the blades of grass. This type of grass also recovers relatively quickly from wear and tear, making it an ideal choice for high-traffic areas or commonly used paths through your yard.
Kentucky bluegrass is most commonly found in full or partial shade. It does not grow well in direct sunlight, as it tends to burn out under the hot sun.
One of the best ways to care for Kentucky bluegrass is by dethatching your lawn once per year. This will allow air and water to penetrate the soil and reach the roots of the grass. Also, it is recommended that you never mow your Kentucky bluegrass too low (no lower than 1 inch), as this will cause the grass to retain more moisture and potentially lead to disease and fungus. If you can’t invest in a lawnmower with a catcher, make sure to remove at least one of your lawn bag’s worth of clippings when you finish mowing.
2. Tall Fescue
This grass looks very similar to Kentucky bluegrass, but with a slightly more blue hue. This type is also extremely durable and tough, making it an ideal choice for high-traffic areas in your yard.
Tall fescue has excellent drought and wears resistance. It also has a high tolerance for shade and traffic, making it another good choice for walkways or high-traffic areas of your lawn.
One thing to note about tall fescue is that you should not over-fertilize this type of grass, as too much nitrogen, can cause it to go into premature seed production. This early seed production can lead to a thinning of the grass’ turf.
This type of grass is one of the most versatile, as it can grow in nearly any area or soil type. It has good shade tolerance, wear resistance, and drought tolerance, making it ideal for shadier areas that don’t get too much sun exposure.
3. Perennial Ryegrass
This type of grass is also very versatile, growing well in sun or shade. It has a fine-to-medium blade texture and excellent wear resistance, making it another good choice for high-traffic areas.
Perennial ryegrass can grow in a range of soil conditions, from acidic to alkaline, and from poor to rich soil. It is not very tolerant of wet conditions, though, so if you have a lot of standing water in your yard, then this could be problematic for you.
Perennial ryegrass can be planted any time during the year, but it grows best when planted in the fall and grows poorly when planted in the spring.
4. Fine Fescue
Fine fescue has a very fine blade texture and is often used as a turf substitute or groundcover plant. It tends to stay low to the ground, so it is not well-suited for high-traffic areas. However, it can withstand wear and tear very well and it also has a very deep root system, allowing it to find moisture and nutrients even in dry conditions.
Fine fescue is usually used in shady areas of the yard that get limited sunlight per day. It does not tolerate drought very well, though, so you should make sure this grass gets plenty of water while establishing its root system.
Check out: St. Augustine Grass vs. Zoysia Comparision
5. Turf-type Tall Fescue
This grass is very similar to perennial ryegrass, but with a slightly finer blade texture. It has good shade tolerance and drought resistance, making it ideal for areas that do not get too much sun exposure or standing water.
One of the best ways to care for turf-type tall fescue is by dethatching your lawn to allow air and water into the soil. It should never be mowed lower than 1 inch (to avoid disease and fungus), and fertilizers with high nitrogen content should be avoided (as this can cause early seed production).
6. Buffalo Grass
This type of grass looks very similar to Kentucky bluegrass but has a bluish hue. It is extremely drought-resistant and will only require one or two waterings per month, even in high-traffic areas of your yard. However, it still needs to be well-fertilized to keep its color and density (especially if you live in an area that gets very hot summers).
Buffalo grass can be planted any time of the year, but it grows best when planted in the fall. It also does not tolerate over-fertilization very well, so you should only use a diluted amount of nitrogen-rich fertilizer or manure on this type.
7. Warm-season Turf
This type of grass is very similar to turf-type tall fescue (which it is derived from), but tends to grow larger and has a bluer color. It also has excellent wear resistance and drought tolerance, making it another good choice for high-traffic areas.
Once again, warm-season turf will do best in full sun or partial shade conditions. It should never be mowed lower than 1 inch, it should always have plenty of water while establishing its root system, and it does not do well with fertilizers high in nitrogen.
Best Time to Plant Grass
As you can see, there are many different types of grass to use on your lawn. However, it is important to know what type grows best where you live so that it can adapt to the climate and conditions around it.
- If you plant grass that is not suitable for your area, then it will have a harder time establishing itself and could die easily.
- It is best to plant grass in the fall, especially if you live in an area with cold winters (since new grass will be able to adapt more easily).
- If you plant grass in the spring or summer, it could be difficult for it to establish itself and could die within a year while attempting to grow roots underground.
- Also, if you live in an area with extremely hot summers, it is best to plant grass in the fall so that it can establish itself during the few cooler months of the year.
How to Grow a Thicker and Softer Grass?
If the grass is too rough and tough, it becomes difficult to walk on it. Softer grass can give a much more comfortable feeling when walking or playing on it. However, regular mowing of the grass does not always help in making the lawn softer. Certain types of grasses grow thicker and softer than others, so the question is: How to grow a thicker and softer grass?
To make the grass thicker and tenderer, it is important to provide the roots with an ample amount of nitrogen. Nitrogen gives strength and resilience to the blades of grass and makes them thick and soft. It also helps in increasing the biomass of the soil, which further helps in making the grass thicker and tenderer.
Nitrogen can be supplied to the lawn in different ways like by side-dressing, injection of fertilizers through fertigation (injection of fertilizers using sprayers), or inorganic sources like ammonium sulfate. It is recommended to use organic nitrogen-rich materials for growing good quality grass. Apply these materials at the time of sowing or at regular intervals to maintain a good level of nitrogen in the soil.
Aerate the Soil Properly
Aerating your lawn is another important step that should be followed to grow thicker and softer grass. Aeration also referred to as aerification, involves the removal of cores from the turf by mechanical means like rented machines with hollow tines or coring machines. This process involves removing small plugs from the soil using a machine and helps in increasing the porosity and water intake capacity of the soil. It also helps in relieving compaction and improving root growth which results in thick and soft grass blades.
This process should be carried out at least twice a year – once before sowing and later before re-seeding. The process can be done manually also by spiking the soil with a manual aerator that has spikes attached to it or by using an organic product like pine bark mulch that would not damage the grass but help in increasing the porosity of the soil.
Provide Adequate Sunlight
To grow thicker and softer grass, it is important to provide adequate sunlight and water. Abundant sunlight and an ample amount of water will help in making the grass thick, bushy and soft. Hence, it is advisable to grow thicker and softer grass in areas that get at least 6-8 hours of sunlight daily.
Give Proper Care to Grass
Applying the best quality grass seed, providing enough sunlight and water, mowing regularly, and removing weeds from the lawn are some of the main steps that should be followed to grow thicker and softer grass.
Do Not Water too Much
Overwatering can cause damage to your lawn by increasing the chances of fungal infections. Excessive watering results in the development of moss on your lawn. This is because, when there are abundant nutrients in the soil, moss starts to grow easily. So you should only water your lawn when it needs it and not overdo it.
Aerate your turf before mowing to make sure that the blades are not cut too short. Also, mow more frequently during the summer months so that your lawn does not have to cope with more damage due to direct sunlight on the grass blades. Since the grass is naturally more tender in summers, it is advisable to remove at least a third of the blade length while mowing.
Frequent mowing of the grass helps in making the blades thicker and softer. However, there may be times when you have to deal with some problems.
Grass that is growing too tall than usual is said to have ‘overgrown’. This can be fixed by applying an adequate amount of water or giving your lawn an early start with pre-emergent weed killer.
If the grass is growing in patches and has become discolored, it shows that the lawn is suffering from a disease called ‘Rhizoctonia’. This can be fixed by watering enough and keeping your grass at least an inch taller than usual.
Thinning out of blades means that you have to remove some grass to make your lawn look thicker and softer.
James, the D.I.Y Expert, graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Horticulture from Colorado State University. Love writing blog posts and guides to help others learn how to garden!