We all have those areas in our yard where grass just seems impossible to grow successfully. Ideally, a blend of grass varieties and types makes the best solution since different grasses have different qualities, characteristics and habits. It is important when planning to seed your yard that you consider a blend or mixture of turf varieties. This will help ensure that your lawn has the proper plant for the proper environment.
Common cool season grass that spreads well and fills in bare spots. Will go dormant in hot, dry weather. Recommended blend with creeping red fescue and perennial ryegrass to up wear and drought tolerance.
Kentucky Bluegrass is desirable for many reasons, one of them being the plants ability to spread through the use of rhizomes ( sub-surface stems which produce new sprouts/grass blades). This allows for bare spots and damaged areas to be filled in through the plants natural growth tendency. Another desired trait of this turf type is the deep green color.
Insects can do damage to Kentucky Bluegrass. Some of the pest to look out for are: white grubs, billbugs, sod webworms, and leafhoppers. Insecticides and grub control can be applied as a preventative or curative, depending on the extent of damage and time of year. For more information in insects, refer to Turf: Insect Control.
A good choice for a shade tolerant turf type, though does not withstand normal wear and tear well. It is recommended to blend fine fescue with a perennial ryegrass.
Fine fescue 'clumps' as it grows, meaning that the plant does not spread like Kentucky bluegrass. Instead, fine fescue will expand in diameter which makes it a desired turf-type for areas that have planters or areas of the lawn designated for gardens or mulched areas. This turf type is considered low maintenance.
Insects can damage any turf-type, and fine fescue is no exception. Grubs, a sub-surface feeder, can be controlled with a Grub Control (as a preventative) or Dylox (as a curative), while surface feeding insects can be controlled with a surface-feeding insect control. For more information in insects, refer to Turf: Insect ID.
Perennial Ryegrass germinates quickly (in as little as half the time as other turf types) allowing your other turf types to establish in the process. It is a durable species that blends well with other turf types.
Perennial Ryegrass is quick germinating, has a lush green color and can form a thick carpet of grass. This grass type has good performance for wear and tear though it is recommended to lay a blend (mixture of different seeds) down for better resistance to disease and high traffic. This cool seasoned grass is a good choice for overseeding. Perennial Ryegrass has a clumping nature, though it is not uncommon for stems to become subsurface and produce new growth (similar to that of a rhizome).
Perennial Ryegrass is susceptible to disease and fungus activity, especially during the hot, humid days of summer. Follow proper watering and maintenance techniques to help keep damage to a minimal. For more information, refer to Turf: Disease.
Tall fescue, once it begins to establish, is a rapid growing plant capable of withstanding high traffic and partial shade. There are blends that are disease and insect resistant as well as drought tolerant. The blade of this grass is courser than Kentucky Bluegrass and may be considered an undesired turf-type in Bluegrass lawns (is it visually sticks out like a sore thumb).
Tall fescue adapts well to moist and dry conditions as well as heavy soil conditions. The deep root system of this turf type allows for tall fescue to draw water from deep within the soil. This allows the plant to survive during prolonged periods of drought and heat. Another desirable trait of tall fescue is its wear resistance, an excellent choice for high traffic areas that can also withstand full sun. For the most part, tall fescue clumps, though short subsurface rhizomes can form.
In areas of heavy shade, you may consider groundcover or mulch instead of turf.