Around here, lawns are typically pretty lush compared to some other places, so it’s easy to take them for granted. They’re often thought of as being uniform and durable. In reality, there are many different species of grass plants with distinct characteristics. Not all of them are suited to the Ann Arbor Michigan climate. One of the most important features in choosing the right kind for this region is winter hardiness. Here’s a list of lawn grasses that have the right stuff for the area.
*Creeping Red Fescue
This grass stands out as the fastest-germinating turf grass available. It can be up in less than a week. Specially prepared seeds with the hulls removed will sprout even quicker. Like the other grasses on this list, ryegrass is best planted in the fall. Once established, perennial ryegrass easily handles low temperatures while maintaining a fairly green color. The grass does tend to grow in clumps but still provides an evenly distributed mat that withstands foot traffic better than any others. Ryegrass won’t need many winter services, but it can be vulnerable to severe heat, heavy shade, and dry spells.
This fescue grass was originally rather coarse, but newer varieties have been bred with finer blades that look great in the lawn. Aside from its winter tolerance, tall fescue also supplies durability and a fair amount of drought and shade tolerance. Since it grows in clumps, it’s usually best not to mix it with mat-forming species like bluegrass.
Creeping Red Fescue
This species of grass has three outstanding features. First, the fine blades produced by creeping red fescue don’t grow very fast or very high. This keeps mowing to a minimum. Second, it doesn’t mind the shade. It’s a great backup for other grasses when the lawn comes up against the north side of a building. Finally, it doesn’t demand much fertilizing. The only real drawback to this grass is its moderate tolerance for being trampled. On the other hand, it can tackle the occasional Ann Arbor Michigan dry spells along with winter cold.
Bluegrass is just as tough as ryegrass against cold temperatures. Also, like ryegrass, its seed can be spread on top of snow cover. Having a winter services business perform this job can ensure some quick green in the spring after the snow melts, but it won’t have nearly the success rate of a fall planting. With a period of two to four weeks, Kentucky bluegrass has the slowest germination time of all the species on this list.
Several species of bentgrass are used in lawn mixes, but this is the most common variety. It easily tolerates winter temperatures but it loses most of its deep green color as early as fall. Creeping bentgrass is a favorite on golf courses due to its delicate appearance and thick, matted growth habit that crowds out other grasses and weeds.