Cool Season Grasses:
Creeping bent grass (agrostispalustris) was originally cultivated for use on golf course greens. The main advantage, especially for greens, is that it tolerates extremely close mowing. In fact, if creeping bent grass is not mown close and allowed to grow to a normal height found on most homes, it takes on an shaggy appearance.
Creeping bent grass does not tolerate hot, dry weather, nor cold winters.
Kentucky bluegrass is the most common cool season grass and probably the best known. Kentucky bluegrass creates a high quality lawn. It has been around for many years and is now available in many different blend formulations. Kentucky bluegrass has a moderate growth pattern and does spread and will fill in bare spots. The grass will go dormant in hot, dry weather as well as during the cold winter month’s common in North America. It does poorly in extremely shady areas. Not recommended for extremely hot climates and will require supplemental irrigation during hot, dry periods.
Kentucky bluegrass develops a shallow root system that is not drought tolerant and will go dormant during extreme conditions. If given intermittent watering during prolonged drought conditions, it will come back.
Common perennial reygrass germinates quickly and can be used as a temporary ground cover while the slower growing bluegrass plants take hold. In warm climates it is used as an overseed to maintain winter green in the lawn after the warm season grasses go dormant, however, it will not survive the summer heat. The ryegrasses are best adapted to moist, cool environments where temperatures are not extreme in the winter or summer.
Warm Season Grasses
Warm season grass, resistant to drought, disease and insect attacks.Will survive in a variety of soils from sandy to clay and other infertile, dry soils.Requires some maintenance. The grass will thin out over time and has a low tolerance to many weed control herbicides. Vigorous growing habit requires frequent mowing during hot weather. It has a coarse blade and is not suitable for soils with high a PH. Bahia is drought resistant turf. It does well in lawns and along highways, and its best used in sunny areas in warm humid regions. Its roots can extend up to 8′ deep.
Bahia survives in level areas with no irrigation, but often fails on sandy embankments. It can also be ruined by excess watering, when none is required, and by excess fertilization. Bahia grass normally goes semi-dormant during winter, yet people sometimes fertilize and water it to keep it green in winter, and thereby encourage weed populations.
There are no post-emergence herbicides for grassy weeds in Bahia, which is a problem. Most weed problems in Bahia could be avoided by proper seed establishment and timely mowing.
St. Augustine is often the most popular choice for lawns throughout southern United States. Especially in coastal regions where cold temperature extremes are moderated by oceanic climatic conditions. St. Augustine is native to the Caribbean, Africa and Mediterranean regions, and best adapted to subtropical climates.
Good for coastal regions, thrives in heat, does poorly in cool climates. Excellent to fair under drought conditions.Moderately good under heavy foot traffic.Somewhat shade tolerant.Can be used in moist, semi-fertile soils. At the moment, most common installation method is sodding or plugs; seeds are very difficult to obtain if not impossible. St. Augustine is a big thatch producer, more so than other types of grass. It also requires plenty of moisture and is best suited to humid regions.Susceptible to fungal diseases.
Zoysia are warm season grasses native to China, Japan and other parts of Southeast Asia. In the U.S. it is used in southern California as a low growing ground cover.
Zoysia is extremely drought tolerant. Although it does turn straw colored under severe drought conditions, it has the capacity to respond to subsequent irrigation or rainfall. Its water requirements are similar to those of Bermuda. The leaf blades of Zoysia are among the first to roll under drought conditions, thus it tends to conserve moisture more effectively than other species. Zoysia also has a deep root system allowing it to more effectively extract water from greater soil depths.