Most new homeowners believe that all grass can be treated and cared for the same way. Those homeowners often spend years of trial and error developing their grass care routine, when all they had to do was identify their type of grass first! We understand not all homeowners are as meticulous about grass care as we are here at Simple Lawn Solutions, so we’re here to simplify things. We’ll help you discover different types of grass, how to identify your grass type, and help you build a liquid lawn care routine.
The Dangers of Fertilizing Before Identifying
If you are thinking about skipping the identification step in your grass care, then it’s time to face the risk you are putting on your lawn. Assuming you have a certain grass type dictates your fertilizing schedule. If you fertilize during the wrong time of the year or choose the wrong fertilizer formula for your grass type, you could see the following results:
With a major grass care mistake like applying the wrong fertilizer or fertilizing at the wrong time, you will spend much more time and money to reverse the damage! It’s better you take the time to learn what grass type you have, when to fertilize, and the best fertilizer options for your lawn.
Know Your Region, Know Your Grass Type
Knowing what region you live in is the first step in identifying the grass type on your lawn. The northern part of the United States is home to cool-season grass. The southern part of the United States is where warm-season grass loves to grow. If you live somewhere in-between, you are in the Transition Zone, which comes with a whole range of grass types. Before we dive into the complex Transition Zone, let’s first discuss the main options: cool-season grass and warm-season grass.
If you live in the northern half of the United States, then you most likely have cool-season grass. The best way to know for sure is to paying attention to how your grass acts during different months. Does your grass survive winters pretty well, but die or enter dormancy in the summer heat? If it does, you have cool-season grass! This grass type is called cool-season because they thrive in the cool seasons, such as fall and spring. Cool-season grass types include:
We’ll break down how to identify which grass type you have, and tips for ultimate grass care!
Do you have thick, textured grass? Is your lawn mostly in the shade? You probably have fine fescue grass on your lawn. Fine fescue grass grows in narrow but boxy blades that tend to clump together. They are very upright, rarely swaying, and are usually a medium or dark green shade. With its fine texture, fine fescue does not do well with a lot of foot traffic, so make sure you have a walkway or stepping stones to avoid extra damage and soil compaction.
The blades of Kentucky bluegrass can be described as “boat-shaped.” Although cooler seasons are when Kentucky bluegrass grows, it prospers when it’s in direct sunlight. It is often dark green, but can almost look dark blue, and can grow in thicker blades than most cool-season grasses. Kentucky bluegrass grows assertively, so be aware of any thatch buildup. Grab a rake and carefully break down thatch, and remember to collect any grass clippings after mowing.
If your lawn grows quickly during the cooler growing season, chances are you have perennial ryegrass. This is a fine, medium, or dark green grass, and the ends of the blades can feel sharper than other lawns. It grows in narrow, especially when the climate has humidity. That humid climate means most grass types would grow fungus, but not perennial ryegrass — since it grows in thinner, there is less chance for fungus to kill this grass type. Water perennial ryegrass more often than you think you need to; it does not do well in droughts.
Traditional Tall Fescue
Similar to fine fescue, traditional tall fescue does well in shaded areas, though it does not feel as smooth. The blades of traditional tall fescue grow in with a coarse texture and a sharp point, similar to perennial ryegrass. This grass type is not only tall, but the broadest of the cool-season grasses. Those broad blades retain water better than most types, which makes this grass great for areas susceptible to droughts. Traditional tall fescue is prone to brown patches, so make sure you apply a fertilizer that is high in nitrogen to give your lawn an even green.
Turf-Type Tall Fescue
Turf-type tall fescue grass has it all: can withstand heat, survive through droughts, and thrive in the shade. If your lawn has lasted through heat, drought, and grows in the shade, you probably have turf-type tall fescue. This grass is short, dark green, and sharp! The downside is this grass grows through most conditions, which means it can over-grow and bunch together, causing thatch and disease. You want to make mowing a priority with turf-type tall fescue grass, so it doesn’t grow too tall and bunch up!
Cool-Season Grass Fertilizer
The general schedule for cool-season grass is to fertilize once in early fall, once in early spring, and once again in late spring. All of our fertilizers work for any grass type, but a personalized grass care routine can cultivate great results! For general use, we recommend 3-18-18 Natural Fertilizer. However, different types of cool-season grass require different care. Here is our suggestion for each grass type:
Southern residents, never fear! We have a plan to help you identify your warm-season grass type and create the fertilizer plan for you. If you live in the Sun Belt, you probably have warm-season grass. This grass type tends to be dormant in the winter, which can last months on end, as warm-season grass believes winter is any temperature under 80 degrees! If your lawn has warm-season grass, then it thrives in the hot springtime and summer of the south. Warm-season grass types include:
We’ll take a closer look at each one to help you identify your lawn and provide it with the grass care routine it needs to thrive!
A light green color, Bahiagrass loves the heat and can handle any drought. Bahiagrass has very coarse blades, so they are often found in sandy soil types. Their blades are pointed, and the width of each blade is wider than most warm-season grass. Lawns that have Bahiagrass are breeding grounds for weed infestations, so it’s important to keep up with maintenance to avoid the spread of weeds and eventual death.
If your southern lawn seems to lose its luster as soon as cooler temperatures come around, you most likely have Bermudagrass. With its superior root systems, this grass type can create a very strong lawn that can handle the heat, drought, and a lot of foot traffic. However, Bermudagrass is very sensitive to cold temperatures. Once that warm weather comes back, Bermudagrass grows extremely quickly! If your lawn is one of the first in your neighborhood to grow back, it’s probably Bermudagrass.
Unlike Bermudagrass, centipede grass grows very slowly, and stays low to the ground. It’s a light green color that can have “boat-shaped” or sharp ended blade tips, with an average width. Although it grows slowly, centipede grass can last through every single dormant winter season. If you think you have centipede grass, you might be the last lawn in the neighborhood to come back after winter, but your lawn never dies!
Your lawn might be able to thrive through hot and cold weather! If that’s the case, Zoysia grass is definitely on your lawn. Zoysia grass stays green for a longer period of time than other warm-season grass, often into the late fall. It’s also the first to turn green. Zoysia grass is a light or medium green color and very dense, which means you will need your rake out often for regular thatch maintenance!
Warm-Season Grass Fertilizer
Warm-season grass should be fertilized three times a year, surrounding the dormant winter season. The first time to fertilize is in early spring, then again in early summer, and finally in late summer. You can choose any one of our fertilizers at Simple Lawn Solutions for your grass care regimen, no matter the grass type, but these are the ones we suggest for your specific warm-season grass type:
The Transition Zone
Your area of the U.S. might have both cool-season and warm-season grass. This area is called the Transition Zone, which cuts through the middle of the country and has a mixed range of grass types. If you live in the transition zone, you could have completely different grass than your neighbors! Since the Transition Zone has the widest range of grass types, many homeowners misidentify their grass, which can lead to a lot of frustration when it comes to their grass care routine. The states in the Transition Zone include:
If you live in one of these states and are not seeing the right results in your lawn, then keep in mind that you might have cool-season OR warm-season grass.
Identifying Your Grass Type in the Transition Zone
Pay attention to your lawn, as it might have one of the grasses we have identified above based on characteristics like color, density, growth speed, blade shape, and more. If you’re still not confident, here are the most common grass types in the Transition Zone:
When in doubt, reach for our 16-4-8 Balanced Liquid Lawn fertilizer. It’s safe for any type of grass and will improve green, growth, root development, stress tolerance, and surviving disease.
Enhance Your Grass Type
Now that you feel confident in identifying your grass and your fertilizer schedule, you can bring in your personal grass care goals. Top off your fertilizer with one of our boosters. If you want taller grass, grab our Growth Booster. If your lawn is lackluster, you want our Green Booster. Want to make sure your nutrient levels are balanced? Our Lawn Energizer is key! No matter your grass type, whether cool-season or warm-season, any of our Lawn Boosters will work for you!
Instead of wasting your time and risking damage to your lawn, take your time identifying your grass type and planning your grass care routine. Pay attention to what your grass does in certain weather, and it will help you determine your next steps! Here at Simple Lawn Solutions, we have the products for whatever those next steps may be.
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