Seed Questions

Which grass will let me stripe my lawn like a baseball field?
Stripes are the result of light reflecting off blades of grass rolled in different directions. Perennial ryegrass has a shiny leaf blade, and in new improved varieties, such as 'Amazing,' the color is nearly as good, and texture nearly as fine, as Kentucky bluegrass. For the South, improved Bermudagrass has similar shiny characteristics, and the dwarf habit of 'Yuma' means more blade, less stem, and so more reflective area. You'll have to roll swaths of grass in opposing directions using a lawn roller or an old-fashioned reel mower with rollers. The effect can last up to a week.

Are any turf grasses made to thrive in shade?
In the North, 'Saber II' Poa trivialis, with fine texture and deep-green color, is probably the most attractive grass for moist shade. For dry shade, plant a mix of 'Jamestown II' Chewings fescue and 'Flyer' creeping red fescue. Both have fine blades and a rich green color, and are much more shade tolerant than tall fescue. For the South, plant sprigs of any named variety of St. Augustinegrass, or sow 'Pensacola' Bahiagrass. Bahiagrass can be planted from seed, but its texture is even coarser than St. Augustine. 'Pensacola' is the least coarse variety.

My lawn is like a desert by midsummer. Which grass will survive without watering?
For the North, fine-textured, bluish-green sheep fescue such as 'Covar' puts down roots much deeper than many turf grasses, so it's more drought tolerant. To increase its ability to withstand heavy traffic, mix it with a medium-texture perennial ryegrass such as 'Dandy.' In the South, a deep-rooted Bermudagrass, either a hybrid like fine-textured 'Tifway II' or a coarser common variety such as 'Sahara,' withstands drought better than St. Augustinegrass and other southern standards. Keep in mind that all hybrid Bermudas must be planted from sod or sprigs.

Can I grow grass that early Americans grew?
Colonial bentgrass was one of the first turf grasses tended by American colonists. And with its fine texture and low-maintenance habit it still measures up well. Today's common varieties are very similar to that old-fashioned grass. For the South, common Bermudagrass resembles the Bermudagrass that was first brought to America from Africa in 1751. In the South as well as the Midwest, blue grama grass is another authentic option. It is a prairie grass and one of only a handful of native species currently used as turf. Its blades are grayish green with a fine texture.

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