New Jersey Grass Types

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Kentucky Blue Grass

Bluegrass is a cool season, perennial ground cover; forming a beautiful, high quality, dense sod when grown in pure stands. Grass color ranges from bright green to deep bluish green.

Bluegrass has a later green-up period and is often seeded specifically with ryegrasses for this reason. Bluegrass is one of the longest living perennials grasses grown. Although a reseeding grass; many factors over a period of time may thin or kill sections of these lawns and reseeding or patch seeding may be required. The reasons for this can be due to disease, insect damage, wear, climate swings, water deficiency, or other environmental factors. Reseeding affords the homeowner a chance to upgrade the present lawn with improved qualities.

Establishment: Bluegrass can be fairly easy established from seed or sod. Seeded lawns establishment depends upon a well prepared seedbed, application of a starter fertilizer, following seeding guidelines with consistent watering schedules while the seedlings develop and thereafter as needed. Due to the slower growth of Bluegrass, full establishment takes time (1-2 months is not unusual). This is one of the primary reasons to include Perennial Ryegrass in a Bluegrass lawn

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Pros Cons
Often Creates Attractive Looking Lawns Typically not drought tolerant, requires water in hot summer months
Can tolerate extreme winter weather, full sunlight exposure, and moderate amounts of moisture Can go dormant during times of drought and high heat
Is a moderately durable grass Often slow to germinate
  Generally doesn't respond well to shaded areas and wet soils

 

Fine Fescue Grass

The Fine Fescue's are the most shade tolerant of any lawn grass. Although several new bluegrasses produce improved quality turf in the shade, they do not compare to the the fine fescue's. For lawns that are entirely shaded, blends of the fine fescue's are recommended.

Low Maintenance: The Fine Fescue's require less fertilizer and moisture than any of the lawn grasses adapted to the cool or Northern regions of the United States. Thus they have the lowest overall maintenance requirements. They are well adapted to poor, sandy soils of low fertility and will tolerate soil acidity within the pH range of 5.0 to 6.5. Fine Fescue's thrive where topsoil is thin or where previous farm or landscape practices created acid soils. Drought tolerance and ease of entry into and recovery from summer dormancy are features of the Fine Fescue's. They are ideally adapted to the cool humid region.

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Pros Cons
Shade Tolerant (Up to 65% shade) Slower to germinate (14-21 days)
Low Maintenance (require little watering or fertilizer) Not durable to heavy traffic
Very Winter Hardy  
Blends well wih blue grass in mixes  

 

Hard Fescue Grass
Hard fescues are perennial cool season fescues originating in Europe. They are planted for their shade adaptation and good moisture tolerance levels. It has fair drought tolerance falling between sheep and red fescues. It is used primarily for erosion control and minimum maintenance areas such as roadsides, ditch banks and other areas where a low quality turf is acceptable. Hard fescue produces a dark green, fine leafed, dense, low-growing turf of excellent quality; Discovery excels where mowing, water, and fertilization requirements are low or non-existent; It has excellent winter hardiness, excellent shade adaptation, and spring green-up.

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Pros Cons
Medium susceptibility to turf grass diseases Low Heat Tolerance
Low Maintenance (require little watering or fertilizer) Not Adapted To Close Mowing
Very Winter Hardy Not Durable to Heavy Traffic
Blends Well With Blue Grass In Mixes  

 

Tall Fescue Grass

Tall fescue's make early, fast growing lawns and can provide a beautiful lawn with low maintenance. This grass specie is used in erosion control areas; country meadows plantings with wild flowers, and pastures. Fescue can be used anywhere a cool season all around general-purpose grass is needed.
Tall fescue is a coarser bladed, dense, clumping grass that grows well in shady areas and is often mixed with other grasses for just this quality. It was brought to the US in the early 1800's for pasturage purposes and now grows in about 4/5 of our country.

The fact that it stays green all year makes it more acceptable as a lawn grass. It has a dense root system and therefore a great tolerance to drought conditions. The older varieties are coarser textured and wear well. Kentucky 31 tall fescue is one of the more popular varieties planted throughout the USA. Fescue performs best in heavier soil with a lot of organic matter and grows in a large area of the USA.

Tall fescue is a grass that can endure heavy foot traffic and wear. Improved varieties have been developed for higher disease and insect resistance along with other desirable lawn and pasture traits. All of these selections are available for planting from seed. Lawns are normally over seeded every year for thicker sod formation and to repair thinning areas in your lawn. When properly managed tall fescue can provide a green lawn all year round.

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Pros Cons
Drought Tolerance (Its roots 3-6 ft to reach moisture)  
Widely Adapatable Across The Transition Zone and Parts of The Northern U.S.  

 

Perrenial Ryegrass

Perrenial grasses are cool season grasses and are best suited for the cooler sections of the country. They are generally used as a winter grass in the south and throughout the year in the transition zone. Annual varieties can't be used as a permanent grass so is generally used only for overseeding dormant, warm season lawns. Its one year life cycle makes its uses very limited.

Even with the improved varieties, ryegrass is rarely used as a stand alone grass. Most generally, it will be part of a seed mixture selected for its fast germination and good wear resistance.

It is probably best known for its quick germination and has been known to germinate in as little as 3 days after planting. Fast germination provides quick growth for ground cover and for soil stabilization. If it is one part of a seed mixture, you will still need to keep the soil moist until the other seeds have germinated. In comparison, it could take much longer. Fescue, for example, could take 15 to 21 days.

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Pros Cons
Very fast germination (7 days). Does not spread – a bunch grass.
Good disease resistance. Not very winter hardy.
Dark green colour, fine leaf texture. Not shade tolerant.
Blends well with bluegrasses and fine fescues. Requires regular watering and fertilizer.

 

Poa Annua Grass

Poa annua is a winter annual that germinates in the late summer/early fall once soil temperatures fall below 70 F. Seedlings mature in the fall, overwinter in a vegetative state, and produce seed in late spring and early summer. Annual bluegrass is a prolific seed producer. An individual plant is capable of producing more than 360 viable seeds. The seed may lie dormant in the soil for many years before germinating. Annual bluegrass flowers and produces seed over several months and at any mowing height. Poa grows well under short days and cool conditions, and it will out-compete all other turf species during late fall and early spring. Poa often dies in the heat of the summer (but may survive the stress).

This grass is considered a weed because they are lighter colored than Kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass. Plus they both tend to thin and die out during the heat and drought of August. Poa annua is especially noticeable in May and June because of it's prolific seedhead production

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Bermuda Grass

BERMUDA GRASS is considered the "South's Grass", a favorite in texture and color for all areas of usage. This perennial grass grows in tropical, sub-tropical and the transition zones. Found extensively on lawns, golf courses, sports fields and arenas, reclamation areas, parks, coastal areas and pastures. Newer, more "cold tolerant" varieties extend Bermudas planting area further North allowing a choice of a more drought resistant species in the transition zone.

This grass is a perennial sod former, dark green, drought resistant, low growing, fast repairing, full sun, has fair salt tolerance, can be mown closely, forms a dense turf, goes into dormancy when temperatures drop below 60 degrees and greens up fast when temperatures rise. Once only grown from sod or sprigged t is now available as seed in both common and improved varieties. Bermuda spreads by rhizomes and stolons and is a highly diversified grass.

Lawns planted in Bermuda grass can attain full lawn coverage in one year. It is not uncommon for seeded Bermuda lawns to be established within 60-90 days. This grass is one of the few warm season coverage that will grow a little further north in colder climates. It will turn brown at the first dip in temperature though. Look for more cold tolerant varieties. In the more warmer tropical south, during average rainfall years, Bermuda will retain a beautiful green color all year round. This grass can be grown on low to high maintenance schedules depending upon the usage.

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Pros Cons
Grows rapidly and is finely textured and dense Vigorous grower and can get into flower beds if not controlled
Withstand heat and drought tolerant Grey-green color of Bermuda grass is not as desirable as other species
Hibernates during the winter season which makes it very easy to grow again once the season has passed Difficult to get rid of once it has been established.
  Will not tolerate shade

 

Zoysia Grass

Zoysia is a warm season grass that can be grown further north than many of the other warm season grasses. It makes one of the most beautiful, carpeted lawns when fully established.

Zoysia makes a great summer season growing, green, weed free & drought tolerant grass. It has a pleasant golden brown (dormant) color in winter months. It's spreading ability makes it replace weeds and other grasses, and over time cover your lawn solid. It's slow growing speed results in less mowing (10-14 days mowing frequency). Since it is a perennial grass, once planted you will generally never have to seed or plant again.

Spreading by stolons and rhizomes, the growth pattern of the leaves makes it suited for higher traffic locations but sometimes uncomfortable for bare feet . Zoysia withstands heavy usage after full establishment. High density sodding makes Zoysia well suited for use on baseball fields, golf course fairways, and lawns during summer growth months. Zoysia grass can form thatch but doesn't attract as much disease and insect damage as some of the other warm season grasses. Removal of cuttings with each mowing should reduce thatch problems. Zoysia has good drought resistance once established and the salt tolerance to grow exceedingly well along warmer coastal communities.

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Pros Cons
Heat-tolerant - thrives under high summer temperatures. Greens up late and turns brown early.
Drought-tolerant - requires less water than many other turfgrasses if thatch is not allowed to build up. Grows slowly; may require several seasons to establish a solid turf.
Dense and tough; resists wear and weed invasion More expensive to establish than seeded grasses.
Requires less nitrogen fertilizer than most other turfgrasses. Produces heavy thatch, which causes problems unless controlled
Will grow in light to moderate shade.  
Requires less mowing because of slow growth habit  

 

 

Bent Grass

Creeping bent grass is a native of Europe and parts of Asia. It is a cool season grass requiring cool, humid environments. This grass forms a dense mat by creeping stolons and has a shallow root system and has long slender leaves.

Bent grasses are the most beautiful of the grasses with their fine texture, deep green color, thick density, and low growing habit. They are considered the luxury grasses of the cool season grasses. There are three types of bent grass: the Colonial, Creeping, and Velvet. Each retains particular qualities relating to climate, salt tolerance, depth of color, and texture. Bent grass is a cool season lawn grass. Bent can be planted from seeds or sod and provides a beautiful golf like turf grass lawn in Northern areas. Bents requires high amounts of lawn care & maintenance.

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Pros Cons
Moderately Drought Tolerant Tends To Produce Thatch And Needs Frquent Aeration and Dethatching
Likes Sunlight Due To Shallow Root System, Requires Frequent Watering
Moderately Tolerant To Shade HasModerate Durability
Looks very Attractive If Properly Maintained Suseptible To Diseases And Pests

 

 

Annual Rye Grass

Rye grasses ( both annual and perennial) can be grown on their own in the northern states for lawns. In many areas of the country, largely because this grass is so versatile, it is incorporated in seeding mixtures with other grasses.

Annual Rye grass is one of the most used seeds sold for lawn and pasture purposes and is sown all over the world for planting on it's own and in mixtures too numerous to mention. The adaptability of this cool season grass to many soils and climates coupled with fast germination and prolific growing rate make this grass an important factor in establishing thousands of lawns and pastures in all but the hottest of zones. As a fill-in grass on slower growing permanent lawns annual ryegrass is exceptionally adept. Ideally suited for short term seasonal use in areas reaching below the transition zone, annual ryegrass is a great fill-in to create green grass on new areas. In warmer regions, ryegrass lawns may require watering, fertilization and mowing quite frequently.

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Pros Cons
Fast Germination (5-7 Days) Light Green Color
  Very Coarse Blade-Unattractive
  Annual-Only Lasts One Year
  Not Shade tolerant
  Grows Faster Than Other Grasses, So Stands Longer Than Other Grasses in Stand

 

 

Poa Travalis Grass

Poa trivialis (rough-stalk bluegrass) is gaining recognition. That much is certain. However, not all of it is favorable. That, too, is certain. This turf grass is becoming a bane to turf managers who frequently find it difficult to obtain turf grass seed that isn't contaminated with Poa trivialis

Rough Bluegrass also has a finer texture than many grasses but is coarser than the better Kentucky bluegrass variety. Rough bluegrass (POA TRIVIALIS) can stay green through the winter in milder weather. This grass specie is a lower maintenance grass than the Kentucky bluegrass and is often grown for this reason alone. In the northern climates this species is considered a perennial and is grown as a permanent lawn cover. In the warmer climates it is used as an annual cover for the wintertime and in overseeding the permanent warm grass lawns for winter while in their dormancy state.

One of the better features of rough bluegrass is the adaptation for shadier areas where Kentucky will not grow as successfully. Rough bluegrass has better cold hardiness than Kentucky bluegrass growing farther north into Canada. This specie variety can be slightly more drought tolerant and will grow on less fertile soils than the Kentucky bluegrass. As with all the bluegrass varieties the natural preference is for wetter conditions.

 

Pros Cons
Is Well Suited For Shade And Wet Areas Has Poor Durability
  Can Brown In The Hot Summer
  Neeps Ample Water

 

 

What's the best type of grass for me?

These are the factors that you want to consider when choosing the type of grass for your property.

  1. 1. Maintenance: Some grass species require more care

  2. 2. Climate Conditions: Grass has a preference of climate from humid, coastal, dry, and cool

  3. 3. Temperature Tolerance: Each grass performs better or worse depending on the average temperature ranges.

  4. 4. Drought Resistance: Some grass species handle drought better and recover quicker after going dormant during an extended drought

  5. 5. Shade Adaption:Grass species are classified by how much sunlight they need to maintain its health and vigor

  6. 6. Wear Resistance:This is a measurement on how well grass recovers from foot traffic

 

Some Information From SEEDLAND

 

You should also consider the differences between grasses in the way they grow (bunch or creeping), look (appearance) and the length of their life span (perennial or annual).     

Grasses:BUNCH or CREEPING

Grasses spread by tillering and creeping.   Tillering is the extension of the plant from the central root of the plant.   These types of grasses that spread by tillering are called "bunch" grasses.  Grasses that spread by creeping send horizontal roots called stolons or rhizomes along the ground.  Stolons are on top of the ground and rhizomes are under the ground with new plants arising out of these "runners".  Most of your warm season grasses are creeping while the cool season grasses contain both types.   These two different types are often mixed for Northern lawns so as to improve the look of the lawn. 

Grasses: TEXTURE (Fine or coarse?)

The look that a grass has is determined by the blade width of the grass.  Wide blades are considered "coarse" or rough grasses, while narrow leaves are considered "fine-textured" grasses.  The color of the grass is another area that is determined both by kind & variety and the level of nitrogen fertilizer applied to the grass.  Choose your preference for the texture of your lawn and write down your choice.

Grasses: PERENNIAL OR ANNUAL

Just about all of the lawn Turfgrasses are Perennial, meaning that they can live for years.  They do enter into dormancy during winter or other periods of stress conditions but usually recover to live on green and growing! 

Annual Ryegrass is one of the few annual grasses used in mixtures.  It is also used for overseeding purposes in warm season grasses.  Annuals only last for one season of the year (1 year of life) grass, thus their value for use in an established perennial lawn is limited.. 

 

 

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