Types of Grass – Top Ten Varieties

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Types of Grass – Top Ten Varieties

There are many different types of grasses available for your home lawn that have strengths and weaknesses. However, according to The Lawn Bible, the following list contains the most popular types of lawn grass for your home and some of their best features:

Warm Season Grasses:

  1. Bermuda GrassBermuda Grass – drought and cold tolerant, resistant to disease and spreads quickly. Perhaps the most widely used southern grass. It can thrive and survive in almost any soil type. The main drawback is that it’s the least shade tolerant of any warm season grass.
  2. St. Augustine GrassSt. Augustine Grass – deep rooted, tough, and fast growing. Greatest attributes are shade and salt tolerance. Extremely popular in coastal areas. However, it’s susceptible to many diseases and produces thick thatch layers if watered and fertilized heavy enough.
  3. BuffalograssBuffalo Grass – drought tolerant and low maintenance requirements due to slow growth. Weathers heat extremely well. Does not do well in sandy soils.
  4. ZoysiagrassZoysia Grass – attractive, drought resistant and resilient to wear. Often touted as a miracle grass, but it takes years to establish. Even though it requires little mowing, it’s actually a high-maintenance turf. It has poor recuperation abilities and needs plenty of fertilization.
  5. BahiagrassBahiagrass – good for acidic and sandy soils. Very wear and drought resistant. Most pets have trouble killing this grass. It’s difficult to mow because of its coarseness and requires lots of mowing due to fast growth.

Cool Season Grasses:

  1. Kentucky BluegrassKentucky Blue grass – great color and resilient to damage. Excellent adaptability with temperature and moisture extremes. However, it does go into dormancy in these conditions and loses its color. It’s sown by seed, but is slow to germinate. Grows well in full sun or slight shade. Maintenance requirements vary based on the cultivar planted.
  2. Fine Fescue GrassFine Fescue – takes less maintenance, has some shade tolerance and many types are cultivated with bug resistant endophytes. Forms an upright, dense turf that’s very attractive. However, they don’t stand up to wear or heat very well.
  3. Perennial RyegrassPerennial Ryegrass – can take a beating and is quick to establish.
  4. Tall Fescue GrassTall Fescue – head, shade and drought resistant and withstands high traffic.
  5. Red Fescue GrassRed Fescue – stable through droughts and tolerant to shade.

Choosing the right grass for your lawn is all about the climate of your area and your lifestyle. The best resource to determine which grass is best for your lawn would be the local experts at your agricultural extension office. They can give you information about which grass grows best in your area. You can find their number in your local phone book.

Author Bio

Matt Morrison is a lawn expert, homeowner, and website hobbyist from Texas. He enjoys working on his own lawn and helping others make their lawn the best it can be. You can read more of his articles here.

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  1. Russell Sklander

    Question born of not-so-idle curiosity:

    What would be the best type of grass to use for an indoor ‘bed of grass’?
    I assume:
    it needs to be tolerant to high traffic (sleeping…)
    but should also be pleasant to touch.
    able to survive in temperatures consistently lower 70s

    I imagine you can see what I’m getting at. If not see an example in the movie “Secretary” (at the end of the film.)

    Any guidance on this peculiar topic would be appreciated.

    Russell Sklander

    • The best type would be synthetic grass 😉

      Other natural possibilities would be wheatgrass, ryegrass, and orange New Zealand sedge which are all popular indoor grasses. Bluegrass and several fescues are great cool season grasses with excellent wear tolerance, but most varieties are coarse in texture.

      I hope that helps. Good luck!

  2. Edmund Doyle

    I live in Guilderland New York and have a complex one acre lawn with multiple levels. My yard has several features and retaining walls as well as being prone to marshiness (not flooding but it will remain very wet after a rain). I have one steep slope In my yard that has grass but much to many weeds, a flat area that has no grass, all weeds, and several low patches the have no grass because of either the water or bad soil quality due to leftover construction materials.

    The grass needs to be:

    -water resistant but water absorbent preferable.

    – able to quickly and firmly establish itself( aggressive) and choke out all weeds, even where weeds are already established.

    – work on numerous grades.

    – grow in soil of questionable quality.

    I have been looking at Zoysia grass because of its hardiness and the fact that it sends out stolons (tendrils) to propagate. Any ideas would be appreciated, thanks.

    • Edmund,

      On the slopes, I would use Perennial ryegrass as it germinates quickly and protects the soil. The other areas I would use Kentucky bluegrass because it spreads by underground stems called rhizomes which forms a very tough sod. When damaged, the rhizomes creep back in to cover the bare spots, but it is slow to germinate. If you’re seeding, then you can purchase blends that contain Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, and fine fescues. I would choose one that was predominately Kentucky bluegrass though. Based on your climate, I wouldn’t consider Zoysia as a viable option. It’s better in the South. Good luck!

      • Edmund Doyle

        Thanks! I guess to be honest, I was looking for miracle grass that would take over eliminate the weeds, all within a week; unfortunately is not the case, thanks for your input.

        P.S. Could you tell me what kind of cool season grasses are attractive.

  3. IS all the above grass types found in temperate as well as tropical? if not would you Shaw as their longitudinal location?

  4. Calgary Retaining Walls

    Thanks for the comprehensive list.

  5. Does Zoysia grass grow good in low shade?

    • In the southern U.S. it grows well in moderately-shaded locations. In cooler climates, zoysiagrass does not perform as well under shade as some other species.

  6. I have Kentucky blue grass lawn and every year I have had problem with the dead grass they made my lawn look so ugly. Please give me some advice. Thank you very much.

  7. I live in Massachusetts, it gets very hot in the summer and my yard doesnt have shade. In the spring the lawn looks so green and beautiful and as soon as summer gets here it starts burning no matter what we do nothing nothing works. help , what can i do. i do fertilize and feed my lawn. what would be the best grass seed to use.. any help will be appreciated

  8. Olefile Sebonego

    Need to know the type of lawn to plant on a shady area.

  9. Olefile Sebonego

    Which type of lawn to plant in a shady area.

  10. Wanda Michelena

    How can I get rid of spurge weeds in my lawn.

  11. Jay Ainsworth

    Zoysia grass actually grows better in the shade than in the sun. It is actually does better in the shade than most grasses meant for shaded areas. It will also stand up to high traffic area better than most other grasses. The reason Zoysia grass is so superior than most other grasses it grows perpendicula to the ground and not sideways like crab grass grows. The grass after seeding the long will appear after 3 days. However to get that golf green look it takes a year. It should be planted in June for best results.

  12. I live in Northern Florida and although we have very hot summers the winters are extremely cold as well, sometimes in the teens. Does zoysia grass hold up during this type of weather although it last only about 3-4 months?

  13. I’m going to install sod at my home in Easley, SC 29642. There is no shade on my property and I do not have a irrigation system. I would love to have a maintenance free yard. What type of sod do you suggest?

    Thanks, Greg

  14. Julia A. Gibbs

    Mr. Morrison:

    I live in Columbia, SC and we just bought a house in a subdivision…the dirt is red and feels like clay…what type of grass is recommended…I do know we need to lay down SOD but I’m unclear about the grass. I have a preference and wouldn’t know the name of it. The blades are kinda thick very green and feels rather good on bare feet. Please advise.

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