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What is Turfgrass? - Types of Turfgrasses
Turfgrass is a type of grass that you can see growing in lawns, golf courses, sports fields and playgrounds. The turfgrass differs from the ornamental grass varieties. They are thicker, stronger and grow in dense patches carpeting the ground.
When you choose a turfgrass, you must take into account the climate that is best suited for the turfgrass to grow and the amount of foot traffic it has to withstand. This article will introduce to turfgrasses and the commonly grown turfgrass types.
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.
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 turfgrass 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
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
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 turfgrass 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 turfgrass 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.
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 turfgrass.