Lawn care: A guide to identifying grasses

by Stockman Farrar Group 11/24/2022

Identifying grasses is an important step in understanding the best way to care for your lawn. Knowing warm-season grasses from cool-season grasses, for example, is crucial to providing the right amount of water at the right time of year.

But how do you identify different grass types? Browse through these basics to help guide you through lawn grass journey:

Growing region

Grass types’ growth and health depends on the region it typically grows in. Most of the perennial lawn grass varieties grown in the northern United States are called “cool-season grasses.”

Their peak growth happens during the spring and fall, when temperatures are cool. While these types of grass lawns flourish in cool climates, cool-season grass will die out quickly in hotter Southern weather.

Common examples of cool-season grasses include perennial ryegrass, tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass.

Warm-season grasses, by contrast, thrive in the hot summer months. These grass types are at the peak of their growth in warm temperatures, even during periods of drought. However, lawns of this grass type can’t survive cold winters.

Some examples of warm-season grasses are Bahiagrass, centipede grass and Bermuda grass.

Grass features

The next step in identifying lawn grass is to observe the physical characteristics of the grass itself. There are a few specific things that set different grass types apart from one another, including:

  • Shape of the grass blade tips.
  • The shape & arrangement of new grass shoots.
  • Whether it has a clumping or spreading growth pattern.

These are just the basics of how to tell one type of grass from the next. If you’re stumped, you can take a sample to a professional lawn service or county extension agent. The more you know about your lawn, the better you can ensure it thrives.