GRASS IDENTIFICATION: UNDERSTANDING THE TYPES OF GRASS IN YOUR LAWN
Knowing the type of grass in your lawn is essential if you want to be able to properly maintain a healthy green lawn. There are tons of different types of grass, so what are the most common types and how can you tell the difference between them?
What Types of Grass Commonly Grow on Lawns?
There are lots of different types of grass that grow in the US, but to identify the grass in your lawn it helps to know what some of the most common types of grass are.
Kentucky bluegrass is a cool-season grass that is commonly grown in residential lawns and is known for its soft, fine texture, drought tolerance, and dark green color. 90% of the grass in Utah is Kentucky Bluegrass because of its soft feel, dense growth habit, drought tolerance, and shade tolerance.
Tall fescue grass is a cool-season perennial grass that is often used in lawns, parks, and sports fields and it’s known for its deep roots, drought tolerance, and ability to withstand heavy foot and pet traffic. It has a slightly thicker blade width, and is more of a bunchgrass with a heavier crown allowing for better wear tolerance. The wider blades allow for better shade tolerance as it is able to attract more sunlight in shady conditions.
Given the proper conditions, perennial ryegrass germinates faster than any other common lawn grass seed. Once established, however, it spreads slowly. Unlike aggressive Kentucky bluegrass, which spreads by underground stems called rhizomes, perennial ryegrass is a bunch-forming grass. Like tall fescue, it naturally grows in clumps and spreads through vertical shoots known as tillers, rather than spreading by rhizomes or horizontal above-ground stems called stolons. Ryegrass is commonly known for its stripeability. It is often used in ball parks and sports fields.
Texas Bluegrass is the newest grass type that combines extensive rhizomes along with heat and drought tolerance. Its’ drought and heat resistance, along with lower water and nitrogen inputs, make it a good choice for lower water use areas. In addition, its shade tolerance is better than traditional Kentucky bluegrass. Texas Blue produces a dense, dark green ground cover throughout the summer, recovers quickly from drought and is resistant to brown patch with its’ aggressive rhizomes.
Fine fescue varieties typically consisting of creeping red fescue ,chewing fescue, and hard fescue have a gray-green color and a fine leaf texture. but instead of a bunch-type growth habit, creeping red fescue spreads by rhizomes. Unlike fescues with a bunch-type growth habit, this fescue will grow and fill in bare spots in the lawn. Compared to other cool-season grasses, creeping red fescue grass blades tend to grow at a slower rate.
Bermuda grass is a drought-tolerant, warm-season grass that can withstand heavy foot traffic. It has a fine texture and a dark green color, making it a popular choice for golf courses and sports fields.
Zoysia grass is a warm-season grass known for its brownish-green color, and thick, lush appearance. It’s also incredibly resilient making it a great choice for places with high foot traffic.
Buffalo grass is a warm-season grass native to North America. It’s also a popular choice for lawns because it’s easy to maintain and able to handle lots of foot traffic. It has a fine texture and blue-green color.
Identifying the Type of Grass in Your Lawn
In order to identify the type of grass you have in your lawn, the most important things to look at are the grass blade width and texture as well as its color.
Grass Blades and Texture
The first thing you should look at is the texture and type of blade that the grass in your lawn has. Different types of grass are often categorized by the type of blade they have so knowing which type of blade the grass in your lawn has is essential if you want to identify what type it is.
There are three categories of grass blades including fine, medium, and broad blades, although most of the most common types of grass used in lawns have fine or medium because these tend to feel softer and look nicer.
Bermuda Grass, Zoysia Grass, and Buffalo Grass are all fine-bladed grasses, while Kentucky Bluegrass and Tall Fescue are thicker medium-blade grasses.
The other thing you’ll want to look for is the color of the grass. While the difference between grass colors may seem to be very subtle especially to the untrained eye, by knowing the color along with the blade type, you’ll easily be able to identify the grass in your yard.
Tall Fescue is a dark green while Kentucky bluegrass is still quite dark but has more of a blue-green color. Buffalo Grass has a unique gray-green color while Bermuda Grass and Zoysia Grass tend to be medium to light green.