Guide to Identifying Lawn Grass Species
Like all plants, there are many different species of grass. Each have their own benefits, uses and drawbacks when it comes to creating a lawn. Here is a brief guide to three of the most popular grass varieties used in turf.
There are over 500 different varieties of meadow-grass alone, each receiving the designation “Poa” in their scientific names.
Although a number of meadow-grasses are used in turf mixtures, poa annua or annual meadow grass is a problematic weed in many lawns.
Varieties of meadow-grass used in turf like smooth-stalked meadow grass (poa pratensis) are favoured for their dark green colour, resistance to wear and drought tolerance. Since leaves spread from the bottom of the plant, smooth-stalked meadow grass also offers dense ground coverage.
Other varieties of meadow-grass used for turf include poa supina which creates the most shade tolerant lawns available. You’ll find this grass in Turfonline’s “Shadesman” turf.
Red fescue is a variety within the larger category of fescue grasses (Festuca).
The fine leaves of red fescue add a more ornamental appearance to lawns and it is tolerant of shady areas.
This grass is also favoured for its low water, low fertilisation and low mowing characteristics. It is environmentally friendly as well as easy to maintain.
Red fescue has creeping roots, growing out horizontally below the soil. This allows the grass to establish new plants and to remain green and access as much water as possible during drier periods.
Ryegrasses receive the Latin designation “Lolium” and it is perennial ryegrasses (Lolium perenne) which are most commonly used in turf mixtures.
Though less shade tolerant than the varieties of meadow-grass and fescues used in lawns, it is the most hardwearing and will quickly repair itself if damaged. Its also has great disease and pest resistance.
Quick germination supports turf-growers and it spreads quickly helping to suppress weeds. It is useful when repairing damaged lawns and bare patches. Not only that but it will grow well from just being thrown onto the soil without tilling or planting.
Using mixed grass species on a lawn
Most turf growers will use a mixture of grass species to create their lawn turf. This has several advantages for gardeners:
- Maximise the benefits: disease resistance, wear resistance, great texture, thick sward, good looks, speedy establishment. Each variety has its strengths and weaknesses. So by mixing them up we can maximise the strong points and cancel out the weak ones.
- Choices: You can choose the mix that best suits your purpose. Do you need shade tolerance, wear resistance, or maybe a fine texture for a bowls green?
- Economy: By tweaking the seed species and varieties we can give you the best value for money on all of our products.