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How to Choose the Right Grass Type for Your Lawn

Posted on July 27th, 2023

The secret to achieving a lush, resilient lawn lies in your chosen grass variety. It must suit your specific climate, soil compatibility and other environmental conditions. With so many grass types available, it can be overwhelming to know where to start.

In this blog, we guide you through the factors to consider when choosing the best grass for your lawn. By keeping these criteria in mind, you can easily transform your yard into a breathtaking outdoor oasis.

Consider Local Climate Conditions

The location should be your top priority when selecting the best grass for your lawn. The ideal grass variety will depend on the climate, sun exposure and soil type specific to your area. Some grass types lean toward colder areas, whereas others thrive more in warm environments.

Below, we cover a basic overview of the suitable grass types for different regions across the United States:

Northern Zone

Cool-season grasses are suitable in Canada and the northern parts of the US (New England, the Upper Midwest, High Plains, Northern California, and the Pacific Northwest) that experience cooler climates and moderate summers. They flourish in temperatures ranging between 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Popular cool-season grasses include:

Kentucky Bluegrass

Known for its dark green leaves and spreading habit, expect Kentucky Bluegrass to grow and fill in bare spots in your yard. Its shallow roots and low drought resistance enable it to thrive in the cooler northern regions of the country.

Perennial Ryegrass

Perennial Ryegrass is the perfect choice if you’re looking for affordable, long-lasting and easy-to-maintain grass. It’s often used in parks, homes and schools. The only downside to Ryegrass is its lack of tolerance to droughts or freezing temperatures.


Bentgrass grows well in cool, humid weather. Although it can tolerate some shade, it requires a higher level of maintenance in the form of irrigation, aerating and dethatching and fertilization.

Southern Zone

Warm-season grasses grow best under the scorching sun and moderate winters of the southeastern and southwestern U.S. They lack hardiness and thrive in summer when temperatures range between 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

During late fall to winter, warm-season grasses turn brown and dormant until spring. Common grasses in this category are:

St. Augustine Grass

This grass type is favored in Florida and along the Gulf Coast. It can survive in nearly any soil, tolerate light shade and withstand the effects of salty sea breezes. It grows in a dense carpet and requires regular watering.

Zoysia Grass

Known for its toughness, this warm-season grass grows slowly and densely, resulting in a textured, dark green lawn. It displays excellent tolerance to heat, drought and light shade.

Bermuda Grass

Unlike most grasses, Bermuda can flourish even when trimmed to uniform low heights. It tolerates drought and heat but needs regular upkeep, such as the occasional watering and fertilization.

Transition Zone

The transition zone includes regions experiencing hot summers and cold winters, making it incredibly challenging to maintain thriving lawns year-round. Cool-season grasses struggle to adapt during the hotter months, while warm-season grasses tend to turn brown and may sustain damage during winter.

Fortunately, grass varieties, such as Bermuda, Kentucky Bluegrass and Zoysia, can withstand the zone’s fluctuating climates.

Tall Fescue is another variety that thrives in the transition zone thanks to its high tolerance to both extremely cold and hot conditions. It also possesses a remarkable ability to retain its green color for most of the year. This cool-season turf grass displays a bunch-forming growth habit, growing in clumps and spreading mainly through vertical shoots.

Assess Soil Compatibility

Soil plays a vital role in keeping your lawn thick, green and healthy. It supports growth by providing water, oxygen and essential nutrients to the roots.

Different grass varieties thrive in different soil types. While loam soil is considered the best choice for lawn grass, some varieties flourish in clay or sandy soil.

Soil type influences fertility, drainage and pH levels, directly affecting turf growth. For instance, if your area primarily has sandy soil, which tends to drain water quickly, opt for grass varieties with high drought tolerance. Conversely, clay soil’s ability to retain moisture makes it ideal for grass types that can withstand wet conditions.

Pairing suitable soil with compatible grass types can lead to more robust root systems and greater disease resistance.

Measure the Soil’s pH Level

The soil’s pH level is the measure of the acidity or alkalinity of your soil. A 7.0 pH level is considered neutral. Anything above 7.0 is alkaline and anything below 7.0 is acidic.

The pH level of a healthy lawn is anywhere between 6 to 7.5. The grass may struggle to absorb essential nutrients if the soil is too acidic or alkaline.

Different grass varieties may require certain pH levels. For example, Perennial Ryegrass grows best at a pH of 5.0 to 8.3, while Kentucky Bluegrass requires an acidity level between 6.0 to 7.5.

Testing the pH of your soil lets you determine which plants are best suited for that area. Your soil’s pH level also tells you the type and amount of fertilizer your lawn needs.

Consider Shade and Sunlight

All types of turf grass require a minimum amount of light to grow. Some varieties, such as warm-season grasses, need at least eight hours of direct sunlight daily to thrive. If most of your yard is shaded, choosing these grass types may not be the best decision. In contrast, cool-season grasses can thrive with just four to six hours of direct sunlight daily.

By considering your lawn’s shade or sunlight conditions, you can ensure your turf receives the necessary sunlight for sustained growth and overall health.

Estimate the Amount of Wear and Tear

When choosing the best grass for your lawn, consider how much wear and tear your yard may encounter daily. Lawns that endure heavy foot traffic are more prone to deterioration. Likewise, if children or pets frequently use your lawn, it’s more likely to become damaged.

Considering the amount of activity your yard endures can prevent premature damage and help maximize your lawn’s lifespan. Perennial Ryegrass and Tall Fescue are high-tolerant varieties that withstand heavy foot traffic. They’re known for their ability to regenerate, fill in bare spots and recover from damage quickly.

Identify Maintenance Requirements

Some grass varieties demand more frequent mowing, watering, fertilizing and overall upkeep. By considering the needs of each grass type, you can select one that suits your schedule and available resources. This way, you avoid feeling overwhelmed and ensure your lawn’s optimal health and longevity.

If you have a busy schedule or prefer a low-maintenance lawn, opt for grass varieties that require minimal care, such as Zoysia, St. Augustine and Fescue grass. On the other hand, if you enjoy spending time on lawn maintenance, go for grass types that demand more regular attention to look their best.

Achieve a Gorgeous, Healthy Lawn With Turf Unlimited

Choosing a suitable grass variety is the first step to cultivating a thick and lush lawn. However, maintaining its health and beauty takes time and dedication. Effective lawn upkeep requires specialized tools, expertise and commitment.

By entrusting your lawn care duties to qualified specialists, you can save time and ensure your lawn gets the attention it needs.

Turf Unlimited is your partner in effective lawn care. Since 1996, we’ve helped residential and commercial clients maintain their yard through grub control, core aeration, overseeding and fertilization services. Our goal remains the same: to provide the best lawn care products and solutions at competitive prices.

Contact us today for custom lawn care services that will keep your turf in excellent condition all year.

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