Do you know your varieties of turf grass?

Do you know your varieties of turf grass?

Do you know your varieties of turf grass?

Do you know which type of turf grass will create your dream lawn?  The perfect grass depends on your climate, how much maintenance you're willing to do, and the look you want. 

Let's explore the best grass options for your yard!

Here is a review of twelve different kinds of grass to choose from, one is right for you,  

Ready to go? Then, let’s dive in!

Bahia Grass 

Low maintenance

Bahia grass has a deep root system and will stay green into the fall and winter. It has a coarse texture and light green color. 

However, it requires a moderate amount of watering, and only occasional fertilizer.


  • Extremely drought tolerant
  • Low maintenance needs
  • Thrives in poor quality soils
  • Withstands heavy traffic


  • Slow to establish
  • Can be coarse when mature
  • Lower nutritional value compared to some grasses


Bent Grass

Moderately-high maintenance 

Bent grass is commonly used on golf courses because of it's tolerance for heavy foot traffic. 

Water and fertilize as needed, since the shallow root system will need special care. 

Best of all, bent grass can be mowed very short without damage. It is easy to grow and has an attractive green color.


  1. Creeping bentgrass: Spreads aggressively, ideal for putting greens
  2. Colonial bentgrass: Less dense, used for fairways and lawns

Pros: Creates a smooth, uniform playing surface, recovers from wear well.

Cons: High maintenance needs, susceptible to disease.


Bermuda Grass

Low maintenance

Bermuda grass will grow in many different kinds of soils. It is drought-resistant and makes a great lawn with minimal fertilizing and regular mowing. 

Bermuda grass will grow in the shade, but grows best in full sun. It can tolerate heavy foot traffic,

Best of all, Bermuda grass will stay green well into the winter if watered weekly.

Pros of Bermuda Grass:

  • Durable: Highly resistant to wear and tear, making it ideal for sports fields and high-traffic areas.
  • Heat Tolerant: Thrives in hot weather, making it a popular choice in warmer climates.
  • Drought Resistant: Can survive dry spells better than many other types of grass.
  • Fast-Growing: Quickly covers bare patches and repairs itself faster than many grasses.
  • Low Maintenance: Requires less frequent watering and fertilization once established.

Cons of Bermuda Grass:

  • Invasive: Tends to spread aggressively, which can be problematic for nearby garden beds and lawns.
  • Cold Sensitive: Does not tolerate cold well and can turn brown and dormant in cooler temperatures.
  • Allergy-Inducing: Pollen can be a significant allergen for some people.
  • Requires Frequent Mowing: Fast growth means it needs to be mowed more often to keep it manageable and aesthetically pleasing.


  • Best in full sun, but tolerates shade.

  • Regular watering for winter foliage.

Buffalo Grass

Very low maintenance

Buffalo grass is an excellent choice for anyone who lives in an area with extreme conditions, or anyone who wants a beautiful lawn with little work. 

Buffalo grass is very low maintenance. It is drought resistant and does not require fertilizing. 

In fact, fertilization can be harmful to Buffalo grass. 

It only needs to be mowed about once a month, or as little as once a year if you want to have a naturalistic looking landscape.


  • Drought Resistant: Thrives in low-water conditions, reducing the need for frequent watering.
  • Low Maintenance: Requires less mowing, fertilizing, and overall care compared to other turf grasses.
  • Heat Tolerance: Performs well in high temperatures, making it suitable for warm climates.
  • Pest Resistant: Naturally resistant to many pests, reducing the need for pesticides.
  • Good for Soil Health: Helps prevent soil erosion and improves soil structure.


  • Slow Growth: Establishes more slowly than some other grass types.
  • Cold Sensitivity: Not ideal for areas with cold climates as it can brown or die in harsh winters.
  • Limited Shade Tolerance: Does not thrive in heavily shaded areas, needing full sun to perform best.
  • Wear Tolerance: Not as durable under heavy foot traffic compared to more resilient grasses like Bermuda grass.
  • Color Variation: Can have a less uniform color and texture compared to other turf options.


  • Very low maintenance.

  • Monthly mowing.

Carpet Grass

Low maintenance

Carpet grass will grow in low, wet, areas with sandy soil. It needs a low pH so fertilization is not needed. 

However, it is not drought resistant and will need regular care in periods of dry weather.


  • Low pH soil.

  • Regular watering.

Centipede Grass

Very low maintenance 

Centipede grass makes a dense, beautiful, weed free lawn

Even better, it is low maintenance. Grows well in the shade, sandy soil, will adapt to low fertility conditions.  

It is cold tolerant to 5 degrees and needs little or no fertilizing.


  • Minimal maintenance.

Fescue Grass

Moderate maintenance

Fescue grass is disease resistant, and can tolerate high foot traffic

However, it has a "bunch-type" growth that will need pre-emergence herbicide to keep away weeds

It does well in cool weather and will stay green for eight to nine months. 

However, fescue does need yearly fertilizing.


Kentucky Blue Grass

Moderately-high maintenance

Here's the deal, Kentucky blue grass is well known for it's appearance, however it is not easy to care for.

Look, Kentucky blue grass will need a steady supply of water. As it is not drought tolerant.

Keep in mind, the grass should be mowed to a consistent three inches. Over mowing will cause dehydration. And will allow insects to take over the lawn.

However, it will remain thick and lush if cared for properly. 


  • Aesthetic Appeal: Produces a lush, dense, and vibrant green lawn.
  • Cold Tolerance: Thrives in cooler climates and has good frost resistance.
  • Disease Resistance: Generally resistant to many common lawn diseases.


  • Water Needs: Requires frequent watering, especially in hotter conditions, to maintain its appearance.
  • Maintenance: High maintenance, needing regular mowing, fertilization, and aeration.
  • Warm Climate Performance: Struggles in hot, dry climates unless given shade and ample water.


  • Regular watering.

  • Moderate mowing. 

Paspalum Grass

Moderate Maintenance

Get this, paspalum grass will grow where other grass won't

Paspalum does fine in any area that has low light, and extended heavy rain. 

However, this grass requires a nitrogen fertilizer in the spring, then again in the fall.


Rye Grass

Moderate maintenance

Rye grass can tolerate low mowing, but not drought conditions. 

It will not do well in extreme hot or cold and tends to be pest prone.

Pros of Rye Grass:

  • Quick Establishment: Rye grass sprouts quickly, often within 5 to 10 days, making it ideal for quick ground cover.
  • Erosion Control: Excellent for controlling soil erosion due to its fast root development.
  • Winter Hardiness: Particularly in varieties like perennial ryegrass, which can survive cold temperatures.
  • Soil Improvement: Acts as a cover crop, improving soil structure and organic content.
  • Versatility: Suitable for various uses including lawns, pastures, and as a temporary cover crop.

Cons of Rye Grass:

  • Water Requirements: Requires consistent moisture for optimal growth, which can be a drawback in drought-prone areas.
  • Maintenance: Needs regular mowing and fertilization to maintain health and appearance.
  • Disease Susceptibility: Can be prone to fungal diseases, especially in humid or overly wet conditions.
  • Invasiveness: Annual varieties can become weedy and invasive if not managed properly.
  • Limited Tolerance: Perennial varieties may struggle in very hot climates.
  • Nutrient Competition: As a cover crop, can compete with other plants for nutrients if not managed correctly.


  • Regular watering.

  • Moderate temperatures.

St. Augustine Grass

Low maintenance

St. Augustine grass is a fast growing grass that needs to be mowed on a regular schedule of every 5 or 7 days. 

Avoid over fertilizing as this can cause very rapid growth that will encourage insect infestations. 

It is drought resistant, but will need occasional watering in times of extended periods of hot, dry weather.


  • Thrives in both sunny and moderately shaded areas.
  • Performs well in hot and humid climates, common in southern U.S.
  • Spreads quickly to establish a full, dense lawn.
  • Thick growth helps suppress weeds when properly maintained.
  • Good choice for coastal areas due to its ability to handle salty conditions.


  • Does not tolerate cold temperatures well, which can limit its geographic suitability.
  • Requires frequent watering, making it less suitable for drought-prone areas.
  • Needs regular mowing, fertilization, and pest control to stay healthy.
  • Susceptible to several diseases, such as chinch bugs, gray leaf spot, and fungal problems.
  • Generally more expensive than other grass types due to high maintenance and sod costs.


  • Regular mowing.

  • Occasional watering.

Zoysia Grass

Very-low maintenance 

Check this out, zoysia grass has been called the perfect solution for lawns. 

Like St. Augustine, this grass is planted with plugs not seeds. It is a slow growing grass.

Best of all, zoysia grass does not need a lot of attention. It will grow slowly filling in bare spots. 

With zoysia grass, you will have less mowing, watering or fertilizing.

However, It is not a cool weather grass. 


  • Thrives in hot and dry conditions, requiring less water than many other types of grass.
  • Requires less frequent mowing, fertilizing, and watering once established.
  • Dense growth pattern helps suppress weeds naturally.
  • Withstands heavy foot traffic, making it ideal for lawns in busy households.
  • Offers a dense, fine-textured, carpet-like appearance with a deep green color.


  • Takes longer to establish compared to other grasses, which can be a disadvantage when starting a new lawn.
  • Less tolerant of cold temperatures, can turn brown and dormant in colder climates.
  • Requires significant sunlight, performing poorly in shaded areas.
  • Prefers well-drained, acidic soils and may struggle in clay or highly alkaline soils.


  • Requires minimal maintenance.

Frequently Asked Questions  

Is There a Low Maintenance Grass Option for Extreme Conditions?

Yes, Buffalo grass is an excellent choice for extreme conditions and requires very low maintenance. It is drought-resistant and does not require frequent mowing or fertilizing, making it ideal for a naturalistic landscape.

What Grass Types are Suitable for High Foot Traffic Areas?

For high foot traffic areas, Bermuda and Bent grass are ideal choices. Bermuda grass is durable and tolerates cold weather, while Bent grass, commonly used on golf courses, can withstand heavy foot traffic.

What is the Best Grass Type for Shady Areas?

For shady areas, Fescue grass and Centipede grass are excellent choices. Fescue is disease-resistant and thrives in cool weather, while Centipede grass grows well in the shade and sandy soil.

Is There a Drought-Resistant Grass for Dry Climates?

Yes, varieties like Bermuda Grass and Buffalo Grass are known for their drought resistance, making them ideal for dry climates. They require less watering and can thrive in challenging conditions.

Can I Have a Beautiful Lawn with Minimal Effort?

Absolutely! Grass types like Zoysia and Centipede offer a beautiful lawn with minimal effort. Zoysia grass grows slowly and requires less mowing, watering, and fertilizing, whereas Centipede grass is low maintenance and adapts well to low fertility conditions.


Grass TypeProsConsMaintenance
Best For
Bahia GrassDrought tolerant, low maintenance, thrives in poor soilsSlow to establish, coarse textureVery lowYards with poor soil, low water
Bent GrassCreates smooth surface, recovers well from wearHigh maintenance, disease proneModerate-to-highGolf courses, high-traffic areas
Bermuda GrassDurable, heat tolerant, drought resistant, fast-growingInvasive, cold sensitive, requires frequent mowingLowWarm climates, sports fields
Buffalo GrassExtremely drought tolerant, low maintenance, pest resistantSlow growth, cold sensitive, not great for heavy trafficVery lowLow-water areas, naturalistic look
Carpet GrassThrives in wet areas, sandy soil, no fertilizer neededNot drought resistantLowWet, sandy areas
Centipede GrassLow maintenance, shade tolerant, dense growthSlow growth, not ideal for heavy foot trafficVery lowShady areas, low-traffic lawns
Fescue GrassDisease resistant, tolerates foot traffic, stays green longerBunching growth needs herbicide, requires fertilizingModerateCool climates
Kentucky BluegrassLush appearance, cold tolerantHigh maintenance, needs lots of waterModerate-to-highLawns where looks are top priority
Paspalum GrassGrows in low light, tolerates heavy rainRequires fertilizerModerateWet, low light areas
Rye GrassQuick growth, erosion control, winter hardyNeeds water, disease prone, can be invasiveModerateFast cover, temporary lawns
St. Augustine GrassThrives in heat and shade, spreads quicklyCold sensitive, needs mowing and wateringLowHot climates, some shade
Zoysia GrassVery low maintenance, dense growth, handles heat and droughtSlow to establish, not for cold climatesVery lowLawns wanting minimal care

Bottom Line on Finding the Right Grass for Your Lawn

Choosing the right grass for your lawn depends on factors like climate, maintenance, and foot traffic. Buffalo grass is low maintenance and great for extreme conditions. Bermuda and Bent grass are durable for high foot traffic. Fescue and Centipede grass work well in shady areas. 

Drought-resistant options include Bermuda and Buffalo grass. Zoysia and Centipede require minimal effort for a beautiful lawn. 

Ultimately, your choice should align with your lawn's needs and goals.

With a little luck and a bit more work, you can enjoy your lawn for years to come. Truly the best type of grass for you depends on the needs of your lawn, and your individual goals. 

Need help deciding which grass you want to use in your lawn? It's simple! Hire one of the pros from GreenPal!

Infographic with 12 types of turf grasses and information on choosing the right grass for your lawn.

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