Do you daydream about a lawn that stays lush even in winter? To keep your yard evergreen, understanding the differences between warm-season and cool-season grasses is essential. If these different types of lawn grass are an unfamiliar concept, homeowners might not be able to identify diverse grasses. Regardless of your grass seed knowledge, spotting a lawn that looks vibrantly green and thriving should come as second nature.
A yard with the right choice of warm-season vs. cool-season grasses looks vivacious, while one with the wrong choice of grass might look lifeless and dull. If you’ve been searching for that extra something missing from your lawn, read on to learn more about the difference between warm-season and cool-season grasses.
Biology of warm-season vs. cool-season grasses
Grass uses photosynthesis to absorb sunlight and carbon dioxide and turn light into energy. Cool-season grasses perform better when temperatures drop, while warm-weather grasses enjoy more efficient photosynthesis where the weather is nice and toasty.
The cool grasses use carbon dioxide more efficiently when the temperature is between 60-75°F. Warm-weather grasses prefer temperatures between 80-95°F, where they can survive with less water. When temperatures drop below 60°F or top 95°F, both kinds of grass suffer and yards yellow as a result.
Consider your seasonal climates when installing new grass and choose a grass most suited to the average temperature. For quality grass seed of either season, research quality seed retailers such as this.
Mixing seasonal grasses
While it might seem like mixing grasses will keep your yard looking lush in all temperatures, homeowners should avoid this landscaping faux pas. Warm-season and cool-season grasses don’t play well together, and their different shades of green create a patchwork look when mixed.
The exception to the rule is land used for grazing animals. Cows and mules care less about aesthetics, and mixing grass types in a pasture will keep them fed year-round.
Homeowners in the northern United States usually have cool-season grasses in their yards. These include Kentucky bluegrass, ryegrasses, and some fescues. Landscapers choose these grass strains because they quickly turn green in the spring and stay green even during the cooler fall months.
Homeowners in the northern United States might notice that their yards look greenest in the spring and fall. In the hot summer months, many yards become dormant to avoid drying out in the heat. Water regularly in the summer to keep your grass awake and alive.
To keep cool-season grasses looking good, landscapers also often blend Kentucky bluegrass with fescues. Mixing similar-season grasses prevent diseases and pests from taking over and undoing all of your hard work.
In the warmer states, landscapers use warm-season grasses like bermudagrass and zoysiagrass. Homeowners who have warm-season grasses might notice their yards don’t reach their greenest until temperatures heat up. The green color tends to wane in the autumn when temperatures drop.
Warm-season grasses stay green in the warmest months, while the cool-weather grasses dry out in the heat. Homeowners do not need to water warm-season grass as often as their cool-season counterparts. For example, buffalograss is drought-tolerant and thrives in dry areas like Montana and Wyoming.
Unlike cool-season grasses, landscapers usually do not mix any warm-season grasses because they have different textures, colors, and watering needs.
Understanding what type of grass thrives in your yard helps keep it looking attractive and healthy. By following this guide, you’ll keep your lawn green and your neighbors green with envy.