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Choosing the Right Lawn Type

by Dawn West, All About Lawns Columnist

Everyone wants gorgeous green grass. Choosing the right type of grass from the get go can make the job of getting a great lawn much more manageable. Read on for a guide that can make choosing the right type of grass easy.

Knowing your rye grass from your bermuda grass may seem like a tall order, but choosing one type of grass over another is actually a relatively simple process.
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Tip #1: Think Climate
Although there are variations galore, there are basically two categories of grass:
  • Cool Season Grasses
  • Warm Season Grasses

Cool season grasses, like bluegrass, rye grass, and anything in the fescue family, can stand up to cooler spring and fall weather. They dont do as well in hot summer weather, but for most northern climates, theyre the grasses of choice.

Warm season grasses, like bermuda grass, St. Augustine grass, and zoysia grass, on the other hand, are happiest in the hot summer months, but run into trouble when temperatures dip. They are, accordingly, good bets for southern climates.

Tip #2: Think Traffic
Some types of grass stand up to wear-and-tear better than others. Once youve narrowed your grass search down based on your climate, ask yourself whether youll be doing cartwheels on your lawn, or sitting up on your deck, enjoying the green grass from afar.

Bermuda grass is a toughie, as is perennial rye grass. A little research into the type of grass youre considering will help you make sure it can handle the traffic youre going to subject it to.

Tip #3: Think Upkeep
Some types of grass need more attention than others. rye grass is going to keel over and dye if you dont water it regularly, whereas zoysia grass is a little more drought resistant.

Variations in need for regular fertilization, mowing, etc. are also factors to consider. Do a little research to make sure you know what youre getting into before putting in the must-mow-four-times-a-week creeping bent grass you feel in love with on the putting green.

About the Author
Dawn West B.A. holds a B.A. in English from Harvard University and teaches writing at Oregon State University.

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