Northern, Cool-Season and Southern, Warm-Season Grasses

USA map of cool and warm season grasses

Northern, Cool-Season Grasses

Northern (cool season) grasses are best suited for cooler climates and thrive between the temperatures of 60-75 ⁰F. The most commonly used northern grasses are Kentucky Bluegrass, Ryegrass, and Fescue.

Northern Grasses should be fertilized with Milorganite four (4) times per year. For the last application, fertilize with Milorganite as late in the season as possible—just before the first deep freeze or snowfall. This fertilizer application, known as a “dormant feeding,” encourages healthier, greener lawn in spring. It's not necessary to water in Milorganite after application, which is one of its great features. It stays on the soil until water and temperature conditions are just right for soil microbes to break down the nutrients in Milorganite for plants to use. Although not necessary, watering in Milorganite will ensure the fertilizer is in contact with the soil and speeds up the fertilization process.

Visit our lawn disease page for management tools to help get your lawn back on track.

Kentucky bluegrass credit North Carolina State University

Kentucky Bluegrass
(Poa pratensis) Common Kentucky Bluegrass

Germination Period: 14-28 days. Dark green color. Fine thick characteristics. Requires good drainage and acid soil. Grows in sun within cool climates. Good for play areas, quick cover, sloped, and terraces. Excellent for general utility. Kentucky bluegrass is the most widely used turfgrass in the Midwest US. It is used on athletic fields, home lawns, golf course fairways, parks, cemeteries.

Photo Credit: NC State University

Annual Bluegrass

Annual Bluegrass
(Poa annua)

Annual bluegrass is considered a weed although it is cultured as a desirable plant in pure stands. It is only found where irrigation is available and thus it is usually limited to highly managed turf.

Annual Ryegrass

Annual Ryegrass
(Lolium multiflorum)

Germination Period: 3-7 days. Green color. Coarse characteristics. Requires moist earth and acid soil. Grows in full sun, light shade within cool climates. Good for play areas. Excellent for quick cover.

Fescue grass

Fescue
(Festuca arundinacea)

Germination Period: 10-14 days. Dark green, green color. Thick coarse characteristics. Requires good drainage and acid soil. Grows in full sun and light shade within cool temperate climates. Good for quick cover. Excellent for play areas, slopes and terraces. Roadside, athletic fields, home lawns in the transition zone, now being used in more areas; good drought tolerance; select "turf-type" tall fescues for lawn or athletic applications.



Southern, Warm Season Grasses

Southern (warm-season) grasses are best suited for tropical and subtropical climates and thrive between the temperatures of 80-95⁰F. Southern grasses are typically known for their dense lawn cover, and turn brown in color when temperatures become cooler. The most commonly used southern grasses are: Bahia, Bermudagrass, Centipede, St. Augustinegrass, and Zoysiagrass.

Southern Grasses should be fertilized with Milorganite® four (4) times per year. Centipedegrass and Bahia grass prefer spring and summer feedings, and to help prevent winter kill, avoid fertilizing these varieties in the fall. The last time to fertilize in fall is one month before dormancy or the average first killing frost. It's not necessary to water in Milorganite after application, which is one of its great features. It stays on the soil until water and temperature conditions are just right for soil microbes to break down the nutrients in Milorganite for plants to use. Although not necessary, watering in Milorganite will ensure the fertilizer is in contact with the soil and speeds up the fertilization process.

Visit our lawn disease page for management tools to help get your lawn back on track.

Bahiagrass credit Texas A&M extension university

Bahiagrass
(Paspalum notatum)

Germination Period: 21-28 days. Dark green color (turns brown in cold weather). Hairy coarse characteristics. Requires moist conditions and acid soil. Grows in sun and light shade. Warm climate. Good for general utility. Excellent for play areas.

Photo Credit: Texas A&M Agrilife Extension

Bermudagrass credit Lawn Care Nut

Bermudagrass
(Cynodon dactylon)

Germination Period: 4-12 days. Dark green color (turns brown in cold weather). Fine and thick characteristics. Requires moist earth, acid soil conditions. Grows in sun and warm temperatures. Excellent for general utility, play areas, slopes and terraces. 

Photo Credit: The Lawn Care Nut

Buffalograss washington state university

Buffalograss
(Buchloe dactyloides)

Germination Period: 25-35 days. Gray Green (turns brown in hot weather). Fine, hairy characteristics. Dry conditions and alkaline soil. Grows in sun and cool temperate weather. Good for play areas and quick cover. Excellent for slopes and terraces.

Photo Credit: Washington State University

Centipede grass credit lawn care nut

Centipede
(Eremuchloa ophiuroides)

Germination Period: 14-20 days. Light green color. Thick coarse characteristics. Requires moist conditions and acid soil. Grows in sun and light shade and warm temperatures. Good for slopes and terraces

Photo Credit: The Lawn Care Nut

St. Augustine grass credit the lawn care nut

St. Augustine
(Stenotaphium secundatum)

The best time to plant is during active growth, which is normally between May and August. Other times may be suitable for sodding as long as the sod is prevented from drying out.  Blue green color. Thick coarse characteristics. Requires moist earth and acid soil. Grows in full sun, light shade and shade within warm climates. Good for slopes and terraces.

Photo Credit: The Lawn Care Nut

Zoysiagrass credit the lawn care nut

Zoysiagrass
(Zoysie japonica)

Germination Period:10-15 days. Dark green, gray green color (turns brown in cold weather). Fine characteristics. Requires good drainage and acid soil. Grows in full sun, light shade and shade within warm climates. Good for play areas, slopes and terraces. Excellent for general utility.

Photo Credit: The Lawn Care Nut


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