Are You Growing the Right Type of Grass?

Landscape designer, Doug Scott.

(StatePoint) Choosing the right type of grass optimizes the chances that your lawn will be healthy, beautiful and easy to maintain. However, experts say that there are many factors to consider.

“You may have your heart set on a specific type of grass because of where you grew up or because the Joneses down the street have a beautiful lawn and they grow XYZ grass. But what’s best for your lawn depends on where you live now and your growing conditions,” says landscape designer Doug Scott of Redeem Your Ground in Atlanta, Ga.

A free video series from Exmark, a leading manufacturer of lawn care equipment, can help you master your lawn. In a recent Exmark Original video, “Done In A Weekend, Grass 101,” Scott discusses the various benefits, maintenance needs and other considerations of each grass type. Here he shares some top factors to keep in mind:

• Climate: Grasses are typically divided into two temperature categories: warm-season and cool-season. Warm-season grasses grow best in hot, southern climates reaching 80 to 95 degrees, and go dormant when temperatures consistently drop below 65 degrees. Species like Zoysia, St. Augustine, Bahia and Centipede all grow best in hot, humid regions, whereas Bermuda grass grows best in hot, arid areas. On the other side of things are cool-season grasses, which grow best in northern regions where temperatures fall between 60-70 degrees. Species include tall and fine Fescue, Kentucky Bluegrass and annual and perennial Ryegrass.

Living in the middle, in what’s known as the “Transitional Zone” can be both a blessing and a curse. On the positive side, you may have more grass choices, but on the downside, cool-season grasses may look worn-out by late summer, and warm-season grasses will be dormant longer.

• Sun and Shade: While there are exceptions, warm-season grasses generally grow best in full sun areas getting 8 or more hours of direct sunlight daily, and cool-season grasses grow best in moderate or medium shade areas getting between 4 to 6 hours of direct sunlight daily. You may notice that no one talks about “full shade” -- areas getting less than 4 hours of sunlight daily -- when discussing grass. That’s because there’s no grass that thrives in these conditions

• Water: Different types of grass need different amounts of water to thrive. Warm-season grasses tend to be more drought-tolerant and require less water.

• Use: Heavy-turf grass like Zoysia or Bermuda stand up to activity best, whereas cool-season grasses typically don’t do well in high-traffic areas where children play or dogs run.

• Maintenance: What’s required to maintain a healthy lawn also deserves consideration. In general, cool-season grasses cost less to install but more to maintain. Because they don’t form that dense carpet-like structure that heat-loving grasses do, cool-season grasses need to be watered and tended more.

For more tips, visit Exmark.com/Backyard. Exmark’s Backyard Life is a multimedia destination focused on helping homeowners make the most of their backyard. While visiting the site, you can also access other Exmark Original Series, including “Done-In-A-Weekend Projects”, “Prime Cuts” and “Dream Yards” videos.

By understanding your property’s growing conditions and a bit about grass types, you’ll be well-positioned to select the best grass for your needs and lifestyle.

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