Guide to Lawn Grass Species

Like all plants, there are many different species of grass which each has their own benefits, uses and drawbacks when it comes to creating a lawn. This is a brief guide to three of the most popular grass varieties often used in the 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 very prevalent and problematic weed in many lawns.

They have however inherited some good things from their parents - hard wearing, frost hardiness, strong root systems and a love of being mown (or grazed).
They have however inherited some good things from their parents – hard wearing, frost hardiness, strong root systems and a love of being mown (or grazed).

Varieties of meadow-grass used in turf such as smooth-stalked meadow grass (poa pratensis) are favoured for their dark green colour, resistance to wear and tear 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 in turf include poa supina creates is the most shade tolerant lawns available.  You’ll find this grass in Turfonline’s “Shadesman” turf.

Red Fescue

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, like meadow-grasses, it is tolerant of shady areas.

As well as its appearance, this grass is favoured for its low water, low fertilisation and low mowing characteristics making it environmentally friendly as well as easy to maintain.

Red fescue has creeping roots, growing out horizontally below the soil. As well as allowing the grass to establish new plants, these creeping roots (or rhizomes) allow the plant 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 as well as having a great disease and pest resistance.
It is favoured by turf-growers as it germinates and spreads quickly helping to suppress weeds. This property also makes it useful to repair damaged lawns and bare patches as it will grow well from just being thrown onto the soil without tilling or planting.

Perennial ryegrass: You wouldn’t normally see the seed-head on a lawn that is regularly mown

Using mixed grass species on a lawn

Most turf growers you’ll find 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, 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.