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December 01, 2018 | Grass Seed

The ultimate list of cool-season grasses: they don’t need much warmth

The ultimate list of cool-season grasses: they don’t need much warmth

Of course, like many other homeowners, you’re also eager to know how to maintain a wonderful green yard the whole year. You definitely want plants tolerating shade? Perhaps, you’re also interested in plants you could let go dormant in the hot summer to save a lot on water usage. Well, cool season sod could be a nice solution for you. With frost tolerant plants at hand, you can afford to be less concerned about their growth.

Common winter grass types

Cool season grasses are used to growing well in the cool weather of spring and autumn. Frigid cold winters as well as moderate summers can’t be a problem for these plants. These specialized plants provide a green, lush lawn no matter how cold it is.

The ideal temperature for cool season plants ranges between 65 and 80°F. As a matter of fact, when the thermometer hovers between these two readings mentioned above, cool weather plants enjoy the best surge. If you reside in the northern half of America, this lawn seed is for you!

When should cool-season plants be utilized?

Cool season plants can be utilized by all homeowners residing in cool climates. The most popular types of cool season plants include Kentucky bluegrass, fine fescue, perennial ryegrass, and tall fescue. These given plants can be successfully employed for overseeding problematic spots in yards, new lawns and also for livestock forage areas.

Even although cool season plants grow well during the autumn and spring months, you shouldn’t plant your lawn in the spring. The matter is that planting in the autumn gives these plants time to establish before the summer stress and it will give you a healthier garden with little reseeding required. When the soil temperature accounts for 55°F, it’s the best time for cool season grass seed germination.

However, if live in the south, it’s not a problem because you can still choose cool weather plants for your area. That’s especially true if you reside in the so-called “transition zone.”

The transition zone: definition

The continental United States can be divided into three key turf-grass areas:

  • The transition zone: It stretches across the middle section of the United States, and cool-season plants feel good there.
  • Cool season zone: It involves the top half of America. This area is very favorable for cool-season plants.
  • Warm season zone: It’s where south and southeast states are located. The given zone is suitable for warm season plants tolerating extreme heat as well as drought conditions.

If you reside in the transition zone, you have enough options to choose from. Both warm-season and cool-season grasses perform well there. You can even combine cool and warm season plants to make your dream lawn, which stays green and nice all year long.

When to plant cool season grass

Well, you’re currently geared up towards planting. At first, you need to have your calendar cleared. If you’re actually nurturing a fresh lawn, you’d better avoid taking a vacation. It’s because grass seeds should be watered every day until they germinate and the small grasses are firmly established.

Utilize a sprinkler on a daily basis just to ensure your investment in seeds results in a well-established and healthy lawn.

You require spreading the seed following the instructions on the bag. You can effectively utilize a hand-held rotary easy-to-use seed spreader. When it comes to seeding huge areas, you can opt for a walk-behind spreader. In order to utilize any of them, you require filling the hopper and walking back and forth across the garden while evenly spreading your seed. After this, you should walk the area again perpendicular to the first pass in order to make a grid across your garden. It will provide seed coverage and also ensure the lawn surge in thick, lush and full. You shouldn’t worry about stepping on the seeded areas because in this case, you’ll establish direct contact with the soil for better germination.

Watering cool-season plants

Of course, your newly-seeded area can’t do without water. You’re highly recommended to take advantage of Gilmour’s Adjustable Length Wind-resistant Rectangular Sprinkler. The given device ensures the gentle rain, which is ideal for your newly-growing garden. Its 20 jets are capable of covering about 3,800 square feet. What’s more, it effectively resists wind draft simultaneously eliminating evaporation. With this extremely effective sprinkle, wasting a single drop of water will be impossible.

Perhaps, the easiest way to properly water your new cold-season plants is to make use of a timer. Avoid setting it for longer than 8 minutes. Keep in mind that you don’t require watering deeply at this point. On the contrary, you’re expected to have your seeds moistened. Flooding them with a huge amount of water can have the seed washed into clumps and generate bare spots.

You require watering your plants every day just to provide them with consistent moisture. Wind and sun are capable of rapidly sucking the moisture from the soil and also away from the grass. You shouldn’t let immature cool-season plants wilt or dry out because they will hardly recover in this case.

Once, your plants reach a height of about 3 inches, you need to have them mown. Having mown three times, you have grounds to ascertain that your plants are already established. Then, at this point, you require watering less frequently, although the very procedure should be longer. Such deep watering will enable your plants’ roots to surge deep into the soil, resulting in a healthier lawn.

At the peak of the summer, your cool-season plants might struggle with soaring temperatures as well as dry weather conditions. To keep your plants green, you require setting a regular watering schedule of one inch of water a week. It will help you to maintain a splendid green lawn. Every watering needs to  ensure moisture to a depth of about 6-8 inches.

You can decide to conserve water, enabling your cool-season plants to go dormant. Dormant plants get brown while preserving living roots. Keep mowing your plants as required during this time. When cutting water usage, you shouldn’t completely stop it because dormant plants often require supplemental moisture under drought conditions. The vast majority of cool-season plants need ½- 1 inch of water every week just to stay healthy.

The best cold weather grass seed

Nurseries are used to selling grass seed all the time, which can make it a bit more difficult to choose what kind of seed fits your specific lawn needs. Many experts advise planting a blend of different cool- season plants for good lawn outcomes. Some blends are specially designed for specific locations. For example, some thrive only in the shade, while others require high traffic areas.

It makes sense to consider the following cool-season plants:

  • Tall fescue
  • Fine fescue
  • Bentgrass
  • Perennial ryegrass
  • Kentucky bluegrass
  • Rough bluegrass
  • Annual ryegrass
  • Creeping fescue

You will have to make some effort to establish new plants, although with just a minor investment of water, time, and seed you can create a green, lush lawn of your dream.

Is tall fescue a warm season grass?

The answer is no! It’s a cool-season plant, which grows well during cool spring as well as autumn months. Perfectly adapted for northern lawns, the plant also tolerates the turfgrass region also dubbed the transition zone. Despite being a cool-season plant, tall fescue demonstrates greater heat tolerance than other cool-season plants. So, we can call it a universal plant, which will enable you to keep a wonderful lawn for the whole year.