Choosing Grass Seed

Choosing Grass Seed

Lawns in Canada consist mostly of cold weather grasses that have their main growth periods in the spring and fall. There are a variety of grasses for a variety of lawn conditions from which to choose from:

Kentucky Bluegrass:

A finely textured, winter-hardy, disease resistant, deep blue-green grass used for home lawns, sport fields and golf courses. Its root system spreads out to damaged turf. However, it is slow to germinate (up to 30 days), requires sun, and requires considerable maintenance. If you desire a pesticide-free lawn, you’ll have to give up on the idea of solely having Kentucky bluegrass. Its roots generally grow fairly shallow, making it more prone to drought and infestations during the hot summer months.

Fine Fescues:

A very fine-textured, shade tolerant, disease-resistant and winter-hardy grass. This low maintenance grass is slow to germinate (up to 21 days) and is not durable in heavy traffic.

Perennial Ryegrass:

A very popular grass here for the southern Ontario climate. It is fast to germinate (7days), disease resistant, and dark green in colour. It is found on golf courses, sport fields, and home lawns all over the world. This high maintenance grass, however, does not spread, is not shade-tolerant, and is not winter-hardy.

Annual Ryegrass:

A coarse light green grass recognized as a ‘nurse grass’ due to its quick germination stage (5-7 days). It is termed this because it is capable of holding back weeds until other more preferable grasses have time to establish themselves. It is not shade-tolerant, though, and as the name may suggest, it will not live through the winter.

Tall Fescues:

This highly drought-tolerant grass has roots capable of reaching 3-6 feet in search for moisture. It has fairly undesirable qualities, including being somewhat prone to disease and infestation.

Creeping Bentgrass:

Creeping bentgrass is a famous type of grass due to its use on the putting greens of golf courses. This type is not regularly found residentially because it requires almost daily maintenance.

Some grass varieties (eg. tall fescues, fine fescues, perennial ryegrass) may contain the beneficial fungi known as ENDOPHYTES. Seeds that contain endophytes are more resistant to many common insect pests.

When choosing a type of grass seed, remember that a package made up of a variety of seed types can tolerate a range of growing conditions and is less susceptible to pest damage than a lawn of a single grass type. This variety in plant types will also prevent pest problems from spreading to the whole lawn.