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Lawn & Garden

Know Your Grass

Knowing the type of grass you have in your lawn is important as not all grasses thrive under the same conditions. Plus, chances are that your turf grass is a hybridized version of other grasses, bred to have the traits that we desire in a grass. When introducing a non-native grass to an area, there will need to be some tweaking done to the soil to make growing conditions perfect.

Knowing the requirements of these turf grass will help you make the best choice when maintaining it. Knowing your soils composition and pH will be important as well, as it dictates how efficient your lawn will be.

Turf grasses fall into two different classifications, cool season grasses and warm season grasses. Check out the grasses below to determine whats growing in your yard.

Cool Season Grasses

Tall Fescue

Tall fescue is more prominent up North but can come as far South as North Georgia and zone 7. This grass is an evergreen grass that thrives in cooler weather and struggles in extreme heat. It is not a spreading, self-repairing grass, therefore it is not to be planted in high traffic areas. Over-seeding is occasionally required with fescue. Fescue grass has poor drought tolerance and requires supplemental irrigation in dryer times. In the spring and summer fescue grass prefers to be cut taller and with more frequency than most other grasses.

Fescue is a heavy feeding grass and prefers a pH neutral soil; therefore pelletized lime is needed in acidic soils to correct this. Although fall is the ideal time for over-seeding fescue grass, early spring is also a fine time. Fescue prefers full sun but there are some varieties that can tolerate some shade.

Kentucky Bluegrass 

Kentucky bluegrass is similar to fescue when it comes to its intolerance to shade, foot traffic and drought. It does however, send out underground rhizomes and spread. It is often over-seeded with fescue up North in order to improve a fescue lawns ability to recover. This grass does well as far south as Tennessee. Like fescue, Kentucky bluegrass prefers to be planted in the fall or spring.


Perennial Ryegrass

Perennial ryegrass is a clumping grass that does not spread. It is used for erosion control and in areas with high foot traffic. Perennial ryegrass is a great turf grass and forage grass for livestock because of its ability to establish and recover so quickly. This grass is used with fescue and Kentucky bluegrass to give durability to a lawn.  Perennial Ryegrass has better tolerance to drought than the other two.


These three grasses do not exhibit great strengths individually but when they are used together then you have a great spreading, evergreen grass that tolerates drought, foot traffic and partial shade.


Warm Season Grasses


Bermuda is an aggressive, spreading grass that demands maintenance. This grass has better drought tolerance than any of the other grasses mentioned. Sodded Bermuda lawns are most likely a type of Hybrid Bermuda. Bermuda grass has no tolerance to shade what so ever. Hybrid Bermuda has a deeper bluish green color and grows thicker and shorter than common seeded Bermuda. Do not overseed Hybrid Bermuda grass. There is now a shade tolerant hybrid Bermuda on the market. Look here to see the difference between Hybrid Bermuda vs. common Bermuda seed.

Bermuda grass goes dormant (turns brown) in the cool season and should not be fertilized in these months. Just follow this fertilizer lawn schedule for your Bermuda lawn. Bermuda grows best in a pH neutral soil; therefore Lime may need to be added to your soil. Bermuda spreads by underground rhizomes.



Zoysia grass is a warm season grass that is best known for its tolerance to shade. Although zoysia prefers full sun, there are many hybrid varieties that exhibit better shade tolerance than other turf grasses. Zoysia does not tolerate drought nearly as well as Bermuda, therefore supplemental watering is often required.

Like Bermuda, zoysia goes dormant and should be fed from the same schedule. Zoysia grows best in a pH neutral soil, therefore lime may need to be added to your soil. Zoysia comes in a seed that can be put down in late spring.



Centipede grass is a bit different than the others for several reasons. Centipede prefers to grow in an acidic pH soil, so lime is not required. Centipede is a good choice for planting under a canopy of pine trees, where the soil is typically very acidic and filtered sun is prominent. Centipede is not a heavy feeder like Bermuda or Zoysia, therefore a 15-0-15 fertilizer is adequate a couple times a year. Do not put Phosphorus on centipede and use a centipede specific herbicide. Atrazine is a better option for killing weeds, as 2,4-D herbicide (Weed B Gon) can kill centipede. Centipede comes in a seed that can be put down in late spring.

St. Augustine

St. Augustine grass is a warm season, coastal grass found in the most tropical regions of the United States. This dense, thick bladed grass grows on top of itself and forms a thick squishy foundation. St Augustine tolerates sand and salt well and must be cut tall. St. Augustine has poor cold tolerance and is prone to insects and disease fairly easily. This grass does not tolerate drought at all and needs irrigation almost every day during the hot season. St. Augustine does not spread by underground rhizomes like Bermuda, it sends above ground stolons or runners. Because St. Augustine is called a type of crabgrass, use herbicides and fertilizers that are St. Augustine specific. St. Augustine does not come as a seed but as sod or plugs.


Let this help you make an educated decision when it comes to choosing the proper grass for your site or maintaining the lawn that you currently have. Feel free to talk to your experts here on the community to clear up any other questions that you may have and thank you.

Click here to learn How to Get Rid Of The Grubs In Your Lawn.

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Posted 2016-01-17T17:15:16+0000  by Ingar_HD_ATL Ingar_HD_ATL