Seed Questions Continued

What grass can I grow in my soggy backyard?
In the North, the short roots of Poa trivialis, a.k.a. rough bluegrass, allow it to survive damp soils that would destroy its Kentucky bluegrass cousin. The variety 'Sabre II' sports fine blades and a deep-green color. For the South, carpetgrass beats Bermudagrass in wet areas, and it can even withstand some shade, though its blades are light green and coarse.

I prefer not to use lawn chemicals. What's the best grass for me?
Some perennial ryegrasses, tall fescues, and Chewings fescues contain endophytes, microscopic fungi that repel pests. Most are also disease-tolerant. Look for the bright-green, fine-textured 'Jamestown II' Chewings fescue; the leafy, medium-textured 'Repell' perennial ryegrass; or dark-green, fine-textured 'Rebel Sentry' tall fescue. In the South, centipedegrass resists chinch bugs and diseases. You can grow common centipedegrass from seed, but improved varieties with finer blades and better color, such as 'AU Centennial,' 'Oaklawn,' and 'Tennessee Hardy,' must be purchased locally and planted by sprigs.

What's a good low-maintenance grass?
Colonial bentgrass is one of the most fine-textured, and therefore most attractive, northern turf grasses. It's also amazingly carefree. 'Bardot' colonial bentgrass needs very little fertilizer and requires only a few mowings per year, compared with a typical Kentucky bluegrass, which might need 20 or more mowings over the course of a six-month growing season. In the South, centipedegrass is known as the lazy man's grass because it thrives with virtually no fertilizer and requires infrequent mowings, perhaps twice a month.

Which grasses will stand up to heavy wear and tear?
Kentucky bluegrass is a tough performer in a pretty package. Its fine, deep-green leaves can bear heavy traffic; 'Midnight' is one of the toughest. A mix with 'Manhattan II' perennial ryegrass will withstand the most abuse. Though this variety's blades aren't as fine, its color is good, and it's not nearly as coarse as perennial ryegrass varieties of the past. Bermudagrass has made similar advances in the South. Improved varieties, including 'Sahara' and 'Yuma,' have much finer blades than common Bermudagrass. They also have a rich green color and can be planted from seed.

I'm looking for a slow-growing grass that can withstand neglect at my vacation house.
Hard fescues, particularly 'Attila,' grow slowly and need only a few mowings per year. They are often used as roadside grasses. The color is dark green; the blades are medium-fine. For the South, 'Texoka' buffalograss can grow an entire summer without mowing or watering. Its texture is fine; its color grayish-green.

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