The 8 Types Of Grass: Cool And Warm Season Grasses

The 8 Types Of Grass: Cool And Warm Season Grasses

Whether you have just built your home or you have a dead patch of grass, in order for your landscaping to look amazing, you have to make the right choice in replacement grass. There are a few key things you need to think about before making that choice. You may not be aware of it, but all grass isn't created equal.

In fact, there are various types of grass, and each type has its own characteristics and attributes that must be considered when making your choice. A good choice in grass means a nice lawn. A bad choice could leave you having to reseed again next year.

We want to help make things easy for you by offering you this guide to grass. We will start with some important information about grass that you must know when making your choices. Then, we will go over eight of the most popular grass choices. Finally, we end with a few tips to ensure you have the best outcome.

Considerations When Choosing Grass

a boy playing soccer on a lawn with green healthy grass

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If you are having problems with your grass, there is probably a very good reason for that. You probably have the wrong type of grass. There are many factors that go into choosing the right type of grass. Understanding them can help you to make the best possible decision and end up with a grass that is resilient and works for your needs.

You should consider the trees and overall composition of your yard. Look at it during different times of the day. See exactly how much sun it does or doesn't get. A change from full sun to shade due to tree growth or other changes can have a major effect on your grass.

Also, think about the usage. Perhaps you have added a playset in the backyard and now your children are spending more time there. This can cause issues with the grass because it is being trampled on more often. Think about your yard traffic and how it affects the grass.

The biggest mistake people make when choosing grass, though, is not choosing a grass that suit the climate they live in. Grasses are broken into cool and warm climate types. It is essential to get a grass that can grow in your weather. If you don't, you will just end up with dead grass. Even if you have your heart set on a particular grass, you want to make sure it is the right grass. This also means understanding your climate, which can vary, even within one state. It also helps to get more insight into warm- and cold-season grasses.

Warm vs. Cold Season Grasses

Warm-season grasses are those that work best in climates where the ground doesn't really freeze and temperatures stay on the warm side throughout the year. This is mainly the southern states in the U.S. Cool season grasses can handle temperature fluctuations that come in areas where there are true warm and cold seasons. If you get a snowy winter, then you are likely in an area where cool-season grass will thrive.

Cool-season grass is much more versatile and usable. Most places will be ideal for this type of grass. These grasses actually do better with the cold, so if you have extended periods of high heat, then they probably will have issues. They also like adequate rainfall, so if you lack a fair amount of rain each year, then cool season grasses may not work. However, overall, they tolerate much more than warm-weather grasses, which really cannot handle too much rain or too much cold.

8 Types Of Grasses

Now, let's look specifically at the types of grasses. We will break them down into cool- and warm-season grasses. Before we begin, though, we have one more identifying characteristic to go over. A grass will either be creeping or bunch. Creeping grasses spread above or below the ground. Bunch grasses spread from the crown. This is an important thing to know because it affects how you care for the grass. For example, if you mow a bunch grass too low, it will kill it.

Cool-Season Grass

Fescue grass

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Bluegrass or Kentucky bluegrass is a popular cool-season grass choice. It is great for northern areas with generally cool climates. It has a nice color and will grow great if it is exposed to the right conditions. Bluegrass needs full sun and moderate temperatures. Areas that see extremes, especially heat, will not be good for this grass. It does tolerate traffic quite well and repairs itself when damaged.

Fescue provides a few different options, such as tall and fine. This grass does great in cold weather, so if you are in an area that has severe winters, this could be your best grass choice. Some varieties tolerate heat well as well, but some do not, so be careful when making your choice. This grass is pretty well suited to shady areas, too. It does require upkeep. It should be aerated and fertilized on a regular basis. Looking at a couple specific varieties, fine fescue is great in shade. It is a good choice to fill in spots where it is hard to get grass to grow. However, it is not good with a lot of traffic. Tall fescue does well with drought conditions and handles heat very well, so it works great in hot and dry areas.

Perennial ryegrass is another great cool-season grass option. This grass is a fast grower and often found in grass mixes. It can actually withstand both cool and warm climates if it is in a mix. It tolerates traffic well, too.

Warm-Season Grasses

lawn with green bermuda grass

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Your first warm-season grass choice is Bahia. This type of grass is made for southern climates. It does well with high humidity and high heat. Its rough texture makes it really great for high traffic areas because it stands up well to a lot of use.

Bermuda grass grows fast and helps to stop weeds. However, because its growth is quite aggressive, it can take over a space very quickly. It does hold up well to traffic. It also can handle drought conditions just fine. It can also work in colder weather, so it is good for areas that may have that heat and dryness in summer but that may also see an occasional snowfall in the winter.

Centipede grass is a wonderful choice if you don't want to spend a lot of time on your lawn. It doesn't require much maintenance. It also is low growing, so mowing is also going to be minimized. It is best for southern climates. It can resist weeds and bugs well. It also stands up to traffic.

St. Augustine grass is a pretty grass with a blue-green color. It is great for a sandy soil, like the very southern states of Florida and Texas. It does well with excessive heat and can withstand drought as well. It is coarse in texture, providing good coverage.

Lastly, we have zoysia grass. This is a good choice if you want a lush-looking lawn. It is high maintenance and requires a well-drained soil. It also needs full sun. This type of grass is what is often found on golf courses because of its texture and growth.

Grass Tips

young and growing grass

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We want to end with some tips to help you get the most from your grass once you make the choice on which type of grass to grow. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Lay your seed at the right time. If you are in a colder climate, wait until the soil is warmed to at least 50 degrees. April to June are good times, but the fall is an ideal planting time. In the south, planting should be done in May or June.
  • Seed in the north and use sod in the south.
  • When seeding, break up the soil first to aid with germination.
  • Add a top layer over seeds to help them stay in place.
  • Always fertilize, but choose one that matches your grass type.
  • Try a combination of grasses to get the best-looking lawn.

Above all, do not forget to choose a grass designed for your climate. After all, this is the biggest mistake people make. Remember what we said about each type of grass, and do your own research. If you see someone's lawn that looks amazing, then ask them what type of grass they have. Don't be afraid to look around your neighborhood to see what really is the best grass choice. You won't be sorry you took the time to investigate.


When it comes to making sure your lawn looks good, you have to make the right grass choice. Many times, people don't understand the different options. Knowing more about the types of grass can help you to ensure you make the best choice for your needs and climate. Do not forget that each grass is designed for specific growing conditions, so always do your research. Make sure that you pay attention to your area and keep traffic in mind as well. As long as you make an informed decision, you shouldn't have issues with choosing a grass that will look great and grow strong.

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