Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Selecting the right grass for your yard.

Most things in life need to have a good, solid foundation to be successful. Your grass is no different. You need a good quality seed and good soil to create the foundation of a lush, healthy yard.  We aren't going to talk about soil today, but if you have ever stood in the lawn care section of your local nursery or box store feeling totally overwhelmed at the sheer number of seed choices - this blog is for you.

If you are looking at establishing a new lawn from seed, read this article from the Extension office. It offers advice on seed mixtures, timing, mowing, watering and fertilizing: Establishing a Lawn from Seed.

The type of grass seed best suited for your yard is largely dependent upon where you live. We live in Hardiness Zone 4, which is a cool season zone, so I am going to focus on grass types for our area. If you live in Hardiness Zones 1-5, you are also in the cool season zone and these tips will apply to you as well. There are three types of grass that are successful in our area: Rye Grass, Blue Grass and Fescue.

Bluegrass: This cool season, perennial ground cover forms a beautiful, high quality, dense sod when grown in pure strands. Bluegrass is very common here in Iowa. The Iowa State Extension has a care schedule specific to the needs of your Bluegrass lawn. You will find it here. (Turfgrass Management Calendar: Bluegrass) Bluegrass is the hardiest for cold weather. Blue grass has a fine texture, fills in bare spots quickly, requires more mowing, does not do well in shady areas and does not tolerate salt.

Ryegrass: are one of the best lower maintenance lawns of the cool season grasses. This is one of the toughest and most wearable turf covers that can be grown. Ryegrass is noted for quick germination, shiny green color, fine texture (newer turf type varieties), dense forming sod, high disease and insect resistance.

Fescue: endures heavy traffic, developed for higher disease resistance, insect resistance, better blade structure, and lower mowing capabilities. Fescue is low-maintenance, shade tolerant and drought resistant its better color makes a good choice for a premium lawn. Tall Fescue is a popular choice and used in many lawn seed mixtures. Fescue will grow in some shade areas where other grasses won't because it grows deeper roots than most other lawn grasses. It can also penetrate around tree root systems and compete for water. As people look for more ways to conserve water Fescue grasses just may be the trend for the future.

              Carl Wilson, Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Agent, says this of Fescue:    
     Alternatives to thirsty Kentucky bluegrass look better all the time. One alternative proving its worth is turf-type tall fescue. A recent tour of a Denver curbside area seeded to tall fescue three years ago showed the grass to be healthy and weed-free, unlike adjacent city tree-lawn strips planted to bluegrass.
      Tall fescue is well suited for growing in areas between streets and sidewalks, because it resists the wear of foot traffic from people getting in and out of cars. It also solves some of the water-waste problems in these narrow tree-lawn strips, which are difficult to irrigate and always result in water runoff from overspray onto the pavement. But with a healthy tall fescue turf, fewer waterings means less run-off. Turf-type tall fescue uses about half the water as bluegrass, or 10 gallons per square foot per year (in addition to natural precipitation). Many miserly managers find they can water even less and still grow a satisfactory turf.
      Less watering also means less mowing, an additional plus in the minds of many.
      Tall fescue is a cool season turfgrass, as is bluegrass, and it remains green for about the same period of the year. Although slightly coarser than bluegrass, it is a similar green. The majority of those attending a recent public garden show found tall fescue to be very satisfactory for lawn use in a side-by-side comparison of fescue and bluegrass.
We narrowed it down to three choices so at least the seed selections won't be totally overwhelming! The next step for you is to decide which one is the right for your yard. All three are similar in texture and maintenance, but the Fescue is the clear winner in water conservation.

Have a super week!

1 comment:

  1. If the Palmetto grasses can cope up with the stress, it will be healthy and dense and will be able to resist disease. Sometime the disease may spread and it becomes out of any control. However, the disease resistant cultivars can be implemented to avoid future problems.