Which Type of Grass Is Best for My Lawn?

Grass Tolerance to summer heat / winter cold Shade tolerance Texture Mow height Cultural needs Uses
Kentucky bluegrass Good / Excellent Poor Fine to medium 1.5–2.5” Well drained fertile soil; pH 6.0–7.0; 1” water/week. Sow 1–2 lbs/1000 sq ft. Lawns, athletic fields.
Red fescue Good / Good Good to excellent Fine 2.0–2.5” Well-drained to dry soil; pH 6.0–7.0; 1” water/week. Sow 4–6 lbs/1000 sq ft. Mixed with other grasses for tolerance of shade, drought, acid soil, low fertility.
Tall fescue Excellent / Good Good Coarse 2.0–3.0” Moist fertile soil; pH 4.7–8.5; 1–1.5” water/ week. High wear resistance. Sow 7–9 lbs/1000 sq ft. Can be weedy in bluegrass lawns. Used in transition areas, slopes, banks, near water.
Perennial ryegrass Poor / Poor Poor Coarse to medium 1.5–2” Medium to high fertility; pH 6.3–7.0; 1–1.5” water/ week. Sow 7–9 lbs/1000 sq ft. Used in seed mixes for quick cover as “nurse crop.” Hard to mow.

From the GardenPro Answer Book; revised and updated by Lois Berg Stack, Ornamental Horticulture Specialist, University of Maine Cooperative Extension.