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Going Green in New York: The Best Grass Types

by Dawn West, All About Lawns Columnist

Lawn care may not seem like a natural topic for New Yorkers. But for the lucky folks in the city with outdoor space and for folks in suburbs, a lovely New York lawn needs proper care. If you're looking for the right type of lawn, read on for suggestions on grass varieties that thrive in the New York area.

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A number of cool-season lawns grow well in New York, including Kentucky bluegrass, fine fescues, tall fescue, perennial ryegrass, and creeping bentgrass. To choose the best one for your yard, consider the following:

How Much Energy Do You Want to Put Into Lawn Care?
Some lawns do fine without all that much maintenance, like tall fescue. Others, like creeping bentgrass, need plenty of attention. Kentucky bluegrass, the most popular grass in the New York area, tends to be a good middle-of-the-road choice. It looks great with lots of water and fertilizer, but it can survive with much less attention.

Is Your Yard Shady?
All lawns need at least partial sun, so if your yard is overshadowed by skyscrapers, even the most lavish lawn care won't give you healthy turf. Your best bet in that case is a shade-loving groundcover. But if you're dealing with a partly shady situation, the fine fescues are a good choice. Kentucky bluegrass requires plenty of sun, making it a poor choice for shady yards, but Kentucky bluegrass/fine fescue blends can thrive in yards with mixed sun and shade.

How's the New York Traffic?
Is your lawn more of a showpiece or a stomping ground? If you want resistance to wear and tear, you might consider tall fescue. It stands up to serious traffic and doesn't require much in the way of lawn care at all. But it's also coarse and tends to be bunchy, so it doesn't always make for the most attractive lawn. Kentucky bluegrass and fine fescues are a good compromise, fairly wear resistant, with reasonable recovery rates.

If you're lucky enough to be planting a lawn in New York, choose the right grass type, and you'll feel that much luckier.

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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