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Grass Identification Guide For Nebraska

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Grass types can be categorized into two groups: cool-season and warm-season. Nebraska’s climate is best suited to the properties of cool-season grass types, but certain warm-season types can be utilized if they are maintained properly. This guide will help you determine which grass is best for your lawn in Nebraska.   

Remember—your grass is only as good as the care you put into it. For the best fertilizing and mowing services in the Lincoln area, make sure you call Summit Lawns!

Best Grasses For Nebraska

Kentucky Bluegrass

identifying Kentucky Bluegrass

Kentucky bluegrass is one of the most popular cool-season grass choices in America, and our corner of Nebraska is no different. It boasts a very unique color that is often described as having a blue tint. Aside from its color, Kentucky bluegrass is the preferred cool-season grass for many lawns because it is soft to the touch. This grass spreads through rhizomes, which makes it a popular choice to mix with bunch-type grasses for a more versatile lawn. Though Kentucky bluegrass is a cool-season turf, it can handle direct sunlight relatively well, and it recovers from daily wear easily.

Characteristics

  • Medium-to-dark green color
  • Medium texture
  • Thin-to-medium leaf blades
  • Folded vernation
  • Boat-shaped tips
  • Optimal height of 2.5-3 inches
  • Medium heat tolerance
  • Medium drought tolerance
  • Medium-to-poor shade tolerance
  • Very good cold tolerance

Buffalograss

identifying buffalograss

Despite being a warm-season grass, buffalograss is native to the Great Plains and performs well in the natural soils of Nebraska. Buffalograss loves direct sunlight and grows by seeds and stolons. However, the tolerance to sunlight and drought conditions means that buffalograss grows slowly when it is trying to establish itself. On the other hand, once established, buffalograss is one of the most low-maintenance turf types. As compared to other warm-season grasses, buffalograss requires less water and less fertilizer in order to achieve a lush and healthy appearance, which makes it the best warm-season option for Nebraska lawns.

Characteristics

  • Medium-to-dark green color
  • Medium-to-coarse texture
  • Medium-sized leaf blades
  • Rolled vernation
  • Pointed tips
  • Optimal height of 2-3 inches
  • Excellent heat tolerance
  • Excellent drought tolerance
  • Poor shade tolerance
  • Very good cold tolerance

Most Common Cool-Season Grasses

Tall Fescue

identifying Tall Fescue

This type of fescue grass is one of the more adaptable varieties you will find anywhere in the country. On its own, tall fescue has a light green color and a coarse texture, but many people choose to mix tall fescue with other grass types because of its many positive qualities. For example, Kentucky bluegrass is often mixed with tall fescue because Kentucky bluegrass does not handle foot traffic as well, and it grows outward rather than upward like tall fescue. When combined with bluegrass, tall fescue becomes softer and darker. Because it is so resilient and grows so quickly, tall fescue lawns require more frequent mowing but are generally low maintenance.

Characteristics

  • Light-to-medium green color
  • Medium-to-coarse texture
  • Medium-sized leaf blades
  • Rolled vernation
  • Pointed tips
  • Optimal height of 3-4 inches
  • Good heat tolerance
  • Very good drought tolerance
  • Good shade tolerance
  • Very good cold tolerance

Fine Fescue

identifying Fine Fescue

There are several different types of fescue grasses that get combined to form fine fescue. Fine fescue is a mixture of species, such as hard fescue, sheep fescue, red fescue, and others. Fine fescue typically grows in a bunch-type manner, but the presence of certain grass types in the fine fescue mixture could cause the grass to spread via multiple methods. Lawns that are naturally shaded would benefit from fine fescue because it is well known as the most shade tolerant of all the cool-season turfs. Like tall fescue, fine fescues are very adaptable to varying climates. Though fine fescue lawns will not be able to repair themselves as easily as tall fescue, people often prefer fine fescue for its soft texture and uniform growth.

Characteristics

  • Medium-to-dark green color
  • Fine texture
  • Medium-to-thin leaf blades
  • Folded vernation
  • Pointed tips
  • Optimal height between 1-3 inches
  • Medium heat tolerance
  • Good drought tolerance
  • Excellent shade tolerance
  • Very good cold tolerance

Most Common Warm-Season Grasses

Bermudagrass

identifying bermudagrass

Though warm-season grasses are not always the best choice for Nebraska lawns, Bermudagrass is quite adaptable to the more mild temperatures and weather conditions in the southern part of the state. Bermudagrass is most often desired for its extremely high tolerance to foot traffic and daily wear, making it the ideal grass for large families with children and pets. Unfortunately, Bermudagrass does require a high level of maintenance, such as fertilizing, watering, and mowing. Growth spreads very rapidly by both stolons and rhizomes, and the result of that growth is typically a very dense lawn.

Characteristics

  • Medium-to-dark green color
  • Normal-to-coarse texture
  • Thin leaf blades
  • Folded vernation
  • Sharply pointed tips
  • Optimal height of 1-2 inches
  • Excellent heat tolerance
  • Excellent drought tolerance
  • Very poor shade tolerance
  • Medium-to-poor cold tolerance

Zoysiagrass

identifying zoysiagrass

This hardy warm-season grass is usually found in the southern parts of the country, but it can perform well in transition climates and even in parts of lower Nebraska. Zoysiagrass is beloved for its cushion-like feel and low-maintenance qualities. Though it is a bit more slow to recover from damage, zoysiagrass can be mowed very low to the ground and tolerates foot traffic well. This grass can tolerate shade better than most warm-season grasses, but it will require daily sunlight to thrive. Zoysiagrass, like all warm-season grasses, will start to struggle and lose its color when temperatures drop too low, so always make sure lawns with zoysiagrass are in good shape before winter.

Characteristics

  • Light-to-medium green color
  • Fine or coarse texture
  • Medium leaf blades
  • Rolled vernation
  • Sharply pointed tips
  • Optimal height of 1-1.5 inches
  • Very good heat tolerance
  • Excellent drought tolerance
  • Medium-to-good shade tolerance
  • Medium-to-poor cold tolerance

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