A Guide to Identifying Lawn Grass Species

3 min read

Like all plants, there are many different species of grass, each with its own benefits, uses and drawbacks. Here is a guide on how to identify three of the most popular grass varieties used in turf, and which is the best grass for your lawn.

Meadow Grass

There are over 500 different varieties of meadow grass alone, each receiving the designation “Poa” in their scientific names. Although some meadow grasses are used in turf mixtures, poa annua, or annual meadow grass, is a problematic weed in many lawns. Annual meadow grass is a low-growing grass that can be identified by its light green appearance and blunt, triangular leaves.

Varieties of meadow grass used in turf like smooth-stalked meadow grass (poa pratensis) are favoured for their 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 hard-wearing “Shadesman” turf.

Red Fescue

Red fescue is a variety within the larger category of fescue grasses (Festuca).

This grass is favoured for lawns for its low water, low fertilisation and low mowing characteristics, which make it both friendly to the environment and easy to maintain. Moreover, the fine leaves of Red Fescue add a more ornamental appearance to lawns and it is tolerant of shady areas.

Red Fescue has creeping roots that grow out horizontally below the soil, allowing the grass to establish new plants and remain green and access water during drier periods.


You will often find ryegrass on the roadside, and as you can infer, they are tough. Though less shade-tolerant than the varieties of meadow grass and fescues used in lawns, it can withstand far more and will quickly repair itself if damaged. Plus, it has a great disease and pest resistance, which means it is extremely well-suited for turf mixtures.

Much like meadow grass, perennial ryegrass can be identified by its narrow, blade-like leaves. Its quick germination and spread support turf-growers by suppressing weeds. Ryegrass is useful when repairing damaged lawns and bare patches, and it will grow well from just being thrown onto the soil without tilling or planting. Great for those gardeners who like low-maintenance grass species.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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?
  3. Economy: By tweaking the seed species and varieties we can give you the best value for money on all of our products.

Ready to get started? Use the Quick Quote calculator to quickly compare our products

Let's get connected

“Stay in touch with Turfonline for the latest ideas, inspirational gardens and lawncare advice”

Sign up for regular updates

We use cookies and other tracking technologies to improve your browsing experience on our website. For more information, visit our Privacy Policy.

    Your Basket
    Your basket is emptyReturn to Shop