If you are working on overseeding or renovating your lawn this fall, consider the different types of grass seed available. This is an opportunity to add different kinds to your yard to improve its look or overall health. There are two types of grasses available: cool season and warm season.
Cool Season Grasses
These species have adapted well to cooler temperatures and are the type primarily used in the northern half of the United States where there are freezing temperatures. They will green up sooner in the spring and grow later in the fall. However, they can struggle and go dormant during times of heat and drought. You can buy mixes that include several different types that balance out their strengths and weaknesses.
- Fine fescue (Festuca spp.): There are actually several different species that are included under this common name. Choose this type if you are trying to seed a shady area. The other three need sun, though fall fescue can tolerate some shade if needed.
- Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis): This species can spread itself by rhizomes (underground stems) and is the best of these four types at reestablishing in bare spots. However, it requires more maintenance.
- Perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne): This is a great species to plant if your yard is used often as it can tolerate high levels of traffic. It germinates very quickly.
- Tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea) Weeds and pests are less likely to bother tall fescue. It can handle areas that only offer partial sun.
Warm Season Grasses
These species of grasses are great if you are trying to conserve water. They do stay brown longer in the spring and go dormant in the fall sooner than cool season grasses. However, they are well adapted to warmer temperatures and can tolerate droughts better. There are several different species that can be used in lawns, but since New York is in the northern US, cool season species are usually used. You may see some use zoysiagrass.
- Zoysiagrass (Zoysia spp.): These species stand up well to high traffic, drought and bouts of heat. Unfortunately, this can sometimes be invasive, so it’s best for lawns that are not conjoined to other people’s yards.
What types of grass seed do you usually use?
Image by jmrodri under a Flickr Creative Commons Attribution License