Want to know a few fascinating facts about grass? Grass covers about 20% of the land on earth. That’s a great thing, considering that lawns do a lot more than sit pretty. A healthy lawn provides oxygen, absorbs noise and can help cool your home. Lots of different grass species do this good work—in fact, there are more than 12,000 species of grass around the world!
It’s hard to believe so many types of grass grow around us, and it can be even tougher to tell which type is growing in your yard. But, if you’re itching to find out what type of grass you have, keep on reading.
Below, learn how to identify your grass, and get tips on choosing the best grass for your area.
What Kind of Grass Do I Have?
Different regions are home to different grass types. While Midwesterners might have yards covered in Kentucky bluegrass, those that dwell in the deep south could have centipedegrass. So, what’s the deciding factor? The weather in your region plays a role.
Grass Identification Based on Where You Live
Grass is divvied up into two categories: warm season and cool season. Warm-season grasses grow in the summer, so they’re well-suited for the southern region and other warm areas. Cool-season grasses sprout in spring and fall, so they’re typically found in cool, northern climates.
Types of Warm Season Grasses (By Zone)
Knowing your plant hardiness zone can help you narrow down grass types and pinpoint the type that’s growing in your yard. In warmer regions, look for these characteristics:
- Bermudagrass (Zones 7-10): A fine-textured, durable grass with tiny hairs on its leaves.
- Zoysiagrass (Zones 5-10): A thick, wear-resistant grass that feels stiff to the touch. It’s well-suited for the south, but also grows well in the “transition zone,” the area running from the east to west coast of the U.S. with both cold winters and hot summers.
- Centipedegrass (Zones 7-10): A skinny light green grass that grows slowly.
- St. Augustinegrass (Zones 8-10): A coarse, bluish-green colored grass that’s extra tolerant to heat and can grow in partially shaded areas.
Types of Cool Season Grasses (By Zone)
Common grass types for cool regions include:
- Kentucky bluegrass (Zones 2-6): A dark green-colored grass that has leaves with boat-shaped tips. It’s may also be used in the transition zone.
- Perennial ryegrass (Zones 3-6): A low-maintenance, thin grass with noticeably shiny leaves.
- Bentgrass (Zones 4-6): A bright green, fine-textured and high-maintenance grass such as on golf courses.
- Tall fescue (Zones 4-7): A dark green, coarse grass with unique lines on the upper side of its leaves and pointy leaf tips. Also grows well in Transition zone.
Choosing the Right Grass
Starting a lawn from scratch? One way to help your lawn flourish is by choosing a grass that grows well in your region. Cool-season grasses thrive in areas where spring and fall temperatures round out at 60 to 75°F. Warm-season grasses have a hard time braving the cold, so they’re best suited for areas where summertime temps are 80°F or higher.
Look to the lists above to get you started, and get in touch with a local Davey arborist if you need help determining the best grass type.