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What Is Turf Grass - Types of Turf Grasses

Updated on July 22, 2019
Vellur profile image

A graduate in botany, Nithya Venkat enjoys writing about plants that help sustain life on planet Earth.

Turf grass is a type of grass that you can see growing in lawns, golf courses, sports fields and playgrounds. The turf grass differs from the ornamental grass varieties. They are thicker, stronger and grow in dense patches carpeting the ground.

When you choose a turf grass, you must take into account the climate that is best suited for the turf grass to grow and the amount of foot traffic it has to withstand. This article will introduce to turf grasses and the commonly grown turf grass types.

Bermuda Grass
Bermuda Grass | Source

Bermuda Grass

The botanical name of Bermuda grass is Cynodon dactylon. It is a native of the African Savannah's and thrives well in warm temperate climates. This type of grass is called Bermuda grass because it was introduced by the Americans from the Bermuda’s.

Bermuda grass can bear the hot sun and is drought resistant, but it does not grow well in shady areas. The blades of the Bermuda grass short and are dark green in color and are 2 cm – 15 cm long. The stems of this grass grow to about 1 cm – 30 cm in height. They have an extensive root system that penetrates deep into the soil in search of water.

The Bermuda grass creeps along the ground and sprouts roots wherever the node touches the ground. They also reproduce through seeds and rhizomes. During winter, the grass turns brown and stops growing.

Bermuda grass is a summer grass that is aggressive in nature. It can grow very fast and crowd out the plants nearby. It shows high resistance to diseases and can grow in different types of soil provided they are fertile. They can flourish in soils that are acidic, alkaline or highly saline.

Another feature of this grass is that when it is damaged, it recuperates and quickly grows back. This grass is also known as devil grass due to its aggressive nature of growth.

Bermuda grass is best suited for lawns, golf courses, athletic fields, bowling greens, tennis courts, home putting greens and landscaping areas.

Kentucky Bluegrass
Kentucky Bluegrass | Source

Kentucky Bluegrass.

The botanical name of Kentucky Bluegrass is Poa pratensis. It is a popular lawn grass in the United States and has more than 200 varieties. The Kentucky Bluegrass is very sturdy and can withstand pressure due to constant walking or running.

This turf grass grows well in fall and spring when the temperatures are cold, and the climate is pleasant. Kentucky Bluegrass can also grow in summer but only when the temperatures are not too high.

This type of turf grass needs regular watering, fertilization and mowing. The optimum mowing length of this grass is 2 – 3.5 inches. It reproduces by rhizomes and has an extensive root system.

The Kentucky Bluegrass has a smooth texture with rich green color. The root system of the Kentucky Bluegrass is extensive and interweaves to form a dense mat of grass. It has great drought tolerance capacity. It can become dormant when there is a scarcity of water and can spring back to life whenever it is watered.

This grass is suitable for residential lawns, parks and athletic fields and golf fairways. It is also grown as pasture for horse, cattle and sheep.

Perennial Rye Grass
Perennial Rye Grass | Source

Perennial Rye Grass

The botanical name of the Perennial Ryegrass is Lolium perenne. Perennial Ryegrass is a bunch type turfgrass that is dark green in color with smooth to medium texture.

The Perennial Ryegrass is a cool-season grass that grows well in regions that have moderate temperatures throughout the year. It can tolerate cold temperatures very well. The leaves are dark green and have a smooth, glossy lower surface. There are prominent parallel veins running across the upper surface of the leaves.

The Perennial Ryegrass has a thick taproot system with a single main root with branches extending on either side. It is suited for home lawns, parks, playgrounds, golf courses and sports fields.

The Perennial Ryegrass does not carpet the ground with extensive interweaving growth but grows in single bunches.

It does not reproduce by rhizomes and stolons. It is aggressive in growth and can be grown alone or along with other turf grasses. Due to the aggressive growing nature of the Perennial Ryegrass it is only used for up to 20 percent of coverage when grown along with other grasses.

Creeping Red Fescue Grass
Creeping Red Fescue Grass | Source

Creeping Red Fescue Grass

The botanical name of the Creeping Red Fescue grass is Festuca rubra. The Creeping Red Fescue grass is a cool season grass that grows well in regions that have a temperate climate. This type of turf grass gives great coverage because of its dense matted growth. It spreads on the ground by means of short underground stems called rhizomes.

The Creeping Red Fescue grass can easily be grown from seeds and does not need frequent watering and fertilization to grow well.

The Creeping Red Rescueis a turfgrass that can grow well in transition zones because it can tolerate medium summer temperatures when compared to other types of cool season grasses. It is also grown as ornamental grass. The mowing height for this grass ranges from 1.5 inches to 2 inches.

The blades of the Creeping Red Fescue grass is very fine and narrow and have a rich green color. This type of turf grass does not take long to grow and cover the lawn. Another advantage with the Creeping Red Fescue grass is that it is not aggressive in growth and is easy to maintain.

This grass remains green all year long in cool climate regions. During summer, the grass turns a pale green color and become dormant. It can turn brown when temperatures are very high.

The Creeping Red Fescue grass is grown as turf grass in golf course areas including the greens, tees, fairways, and roughs. It is not suitable for athletic fields because it cannot withstand heavy foot traffic and does not have the capability to grow back easily after being damaged.

Buffalo Grass
Buffalo Grass | Source

Buffalo Grass

The botanical name of Buffalo grass is Buchloe dactyloides; it is native to the Great Plains from Montano to Mexico. It belongs to the warm season perennial shortgrass variety. It can withstand extreme hot or cold temperatures and survive extreme drought conditions.

The grass blades of the Buffalo grass measures 12 inches in length. Buffalo grass spreads using stolons (stems that grow on the surface of the soil or just below the ground).

Buffalograss is a low maintenance grass that needs occasional watering and mowing. This grass requires fertilization twice a year. It can be planted by using seeds, sods or plugs. It can be grown on roadsides, school grounds, parks, open lawn areas and golf course roughs.

New varieties of all of the grass mentioned above are being developed for lush green and good quality turf grass.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2015 Nithya Venkat


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    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      3 years ago from Dubai

      It is a great feeling to watch plants grow and flowers bloom. Hope you have a nice garden soon.

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 

      3 years ago from Philippines

      I never knew there were so many types of grasses, and you only mentioned five! Gardens die under my care. I keep thinking one day I will have a nice garden and then someone offers to fix my garden and it's good for one month.But a part of me also enjoys watching how plants grow wildly and freely. Maybe I'm just making excuses, though. Wish they had one of those home renovation shows in the Philippines that they have in the US. I would volunteer my garden.

    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      4 years ago from Dubai

      ladyguitarpicker (Stella) Bermuda grass is great and can withstand dry spells. Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment.

    • ladyguitarpicker profile image

      stella vadakin 

      4 years ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

      I planted the Bermuda grass and it has done very good. I like it because it can stand the Fl. dry spells. I have tried others, but this seems to tolerate the heat. Very interesting, Stella

    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      4 years ago from Dubai

      peachpurple there are many types and I have mentioned only a few. Carpet grass grows best in shaded areas.

    • peachpurple profile image


      4 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      What about carpet grass? I heard there are japan, taiwan, phillipine types. I bought the phillipines.

    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      4 years ago from Dubai

      midget38 some grass species can be really aggressive and requires regular mowing. Thank you for your visit.

      Nell Rose thank you and am glad you came to know about different types of grass through this hub.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      4 years ago from England

      Hi, well I never realised there were that many different types of grass! I learned something new! great hub and really useful, nell

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 

      4 years ago from Singapore

      Woo. We always have to trim ours. it is completely aggressive, just as you said!

    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      4 years ago from Dubai

      agusfanani I hope you are able to choose the right kind and make it grow well. Thank you for stopping by.

      Nadine May it must be great out there in Western Cape - South Africa. When there is absolutely no rain then grass has to be watered to thrive. Thank you for your visit.

    • Nadine May profile image

      Nadine May 

      4 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Interesting post. We have Buffalo grass on our lawn against the mountain in the Western Cape - South Africa, but it needs to be daily watered in our summer when we get no rain.

    • agusfanani profile image


      4 years ago from Indonesia

      Very interesting information. I often try to grow grass but not so happy with its growth. I think I have chosen wrong kind of grass. Thank you for sharing this interesting article about grass.

    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      4 years ago from Dubai

      AliciaC thank you for your visit, nowadays new varieties of turf grasses are coming up that grow well and are resistant to diseases.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Your hub is a very useful reference for anyone interested in turf grass, Vellur. Thanks for sharing all the information.

    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      4 years ago from Dubai

      thumbi7 thank you for reading, vote up and share, much appreciated.

      DDE thank you for reading and leaving a comment.

      FlourishAnyway thank you and am glad you came to know more about the types of grasses.

      ChitrnagadaSharan thank you for your appreciation and vote ups.

      BlossomSB yes, there are some grasses that can grow in saline water. Thank you for stopping by.

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 

      4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      So interesting. When we were in England we saw near the Lake District where 'sea-washed turves' were grown. We'd never heard of such a thing before. We thought the salt would have killed the grass, but apparently there are some grasses that are resistant to salt.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      4 years ago from New Delhi, India

      A very informative and interesting hub. Normally we term 'grass' as 'grass' only. At the most we refer to them as long or short. Your hub is indeed educative, since I did not know that they are called by different names.

      Nice pictures and a well researched hub. Voted up and thanks!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      4 years ago from USA

      I didn't know there were so many different types. Mostly I was familiar with the types that do well in my area, Good research and presentation.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Interesting and definitely a useful hub.

    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 

      4 years ago from India

      New information on types of grass. Beautiful pictures

      Voted up and shared

    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      4 years ago from Dubai

      Ericdierker thank you and I do hope your area gets plenty of rainfall and your lawn turns a luscious green in color.

      tillsontitan thank you for stopping by. Brown lawn syndrome is a sad thing when it affects beautiful green grass. Thanks for the vote ups, much appreciated.

      billybuc times do change and turf grass is becoming big business indeed! Thank you for your visit.

      always exploring Kentucky bluegrass is great! It is difficult to make choices! Thank you for stopping by.

      AudreyHowitt thank you, it is a great sight to see the green, green grass!

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 

      4 years ago from California

      Well done! So very interesting to hear about grasses that I see so seldom!

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      4 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Interesting hub. I like the Kentucky bluegrass the best, although the picture of the rye grass is beautiful...

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It's still interesting to me when I see grass farms. It's not something I saw as a kid, but today turf farms is a big business...ready made lawns....times change, don't they? Anyway, interesting article.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      I share Eric's problem. Though I live in the northeast our soil is sandy and once the summer is in full swing my lawn is b-r-o-w-n. I have used mixed/combination seeds but still have the brown lawn syndrome.

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Your article is great. I learned a great deal. OK I admit it, I read it mainly to drool over the pictures. With our water rationing here in So Cal. our area lawns look like dried straw.

    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      4 years ago from Dubai

      Peggy W thank you. A combination of grass seeds give great results. Your lawn must be beautiful!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      When we lived in Wisconsin and started a new lawn, we had a combination of 3 seeds which we used. We used Kentucky bluegrass, a fescue and rhy combination. It turned out to be a beautiful lawn. Where we live now in Houston we have Saint Augustine grass for the most part. Good primer on some of the grasses used in various places.

    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      4 years ago from Dubai

      word55 thank you!

    • word55 profile image

      Al Wordlaw 

      4 years ago from Chicago

      Excellent hub on the various grasses; very educational. Great research! Thanks a lot Vellur!


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