What Is Cool Grass?
Cool season grasses are perennials that grow best in partial sun during the summer months. They require well drained soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.5 (7 being neutral). These types of grasses do not tolerate wet soils and will die if planted too close together or in areas where they may get water runoff from nearby waterways.
Cool season grasses have small stems and leaves which are usually white or pale yellow. They have no flowers, but instead produce seeds that fall off after flowering occurs.
Cool season grasses need good drainage so they do not rot easily. If these plants are left in poor condition, their roots will rot as well causing them to become weeds.
Cool season grasses can be used year round because they do not require much maintenance other than watering regularly when needed. However, they are most productive in the spring and summer months.
How To Identify Cool Season Grasses
Cool season grasses are often confused with annuals such as dandelions, clover, ragweed and others. There are many different species of cool season grasses.
Some common names include: bluegrass, Kentucky bluegrass, mohair lawn grass, rye grass and Spanish moss. Each one has its own characteristics that make it unique from the next.
Cool season grasses are most common in the northern states and are not as common in southern states. The reason for this is they cannot handle as much heat and need to be kept moist or they will start to bleach out and turn brown.
In hotter climates, cool season grasses will grow, but they do not thrive and fail to produce a lush appearance.
The leaves of cool season grasses are flat and wider than many other types of turf. They are also more coarse and less appealing to look at when compared to other types of turf.
The blades may be wide and short or narrow and long. They are typically wide enough and flat enough that you can sit on them without feeling any discomfort. The leaves of cool season grasses are also easy to cut and grind down shorter without dying or losing their vibrant green color.
Cool season grasses are commonly found in pastures due to their ability to grow with little maintenance and stress. They can survive in wet soil and still thrive.
In other words, they will grow in areas where other types of grasses cannot grow or will not thrive.
Cool season grasses are recognized by their white or pale yellow flowers. Many people mistake them for weeds at first glance.
These types of grasses are short which makes them perfect for children’s lawns and pet areas.
Cool season grasses can grow up to 5 inches in height with leaves that measure 2 to 4 inches wide. They have short stems that branch out near the top and have leaves coming out of the nodes.
The blades are narrow, long and flexible so they can bend without snapping under their own weight or stress from outside forces. The stems are typically hollow.
Cool season grasses often come in clumps and can spread out to cover a large area if left unchecked. They reproduce by seed and by creeping rootstock.
If you are trying to grow a specific type of cool season grass, you should take care to plant it in an area where it has room to spread out. Otherwise, it may creep into nearby flower beds or other areas that you don’t want it to invade.
Cool season grasses don’t typically grow as tall as warm season grasses do. Most grow less than 2 feet tall.
Some types of cool season grasses can grow up to 4 feet in height, but this is rare.
Cool season grasses don’t typically have many problems with pests or diseases. They are also easy to maintain and don’t require much upkeep.
You will rarely have to worry about them becoming diseased or damaged by insects or animals.
Cool season grasses tend to grow slowly during the spring and summer months when the temperatures are consistently above 80 degrees. However, they grow much faster during the fall and winter when temperatures drop below 75 degrees.
This growth cycle makes them a great type of grass for lawns that don’t get a lot of sunlight due to them growing more during the fall and winter months when days are shorter.
Cool season grasses are often treated with a fungicide to help them grow better and remain green throughout the fall and winter months. For this reason, they are not an ideal type of grass for those who want a natural look or don’t want to use chemicals on their lawns.
Cool season grasses will only turn a rich brown color when exposed to extended periods of darkness. They don’t typically turn brown during the day and then green at night like other types of grasses do.
Cool season grasses are popularly used on golf courses and sports fields. This is because they can easily survive harsh weather conditions such as extreme cold or heavy snow.
They also grow much faster than warm season grasses, which makes them desirable as well.
Cool season grasses are classified into three types. They are:
Hard Fescue: These types of grass grow in medium thick clumps and have a bluish-gray tint to them. They resist insects, drought and cold weather well.
Hard fescue grows slowly which makes it a good choice for putting greens. It does not grow as well in warmer climates, but it can survive in them. Sheep Fescue: These types of grass have wide leaves with a green-gray tint to them. They grow in thin patches and are much more resistant to insects, drought and cold weather than other types of cool season grasses. They also grow very slowly which makes them a good choice for lawns that you don’t want to be mowed often. Rough Fescue: These types of grass have narrow leaves with a blue-green tint to them. They grow in thin patches just like sheep fescue and are about as durable. They do not grow as well in warmer climates due to them being more heat-resistant than other types of cool season grasses.
Sources & references used in this article:
Performances of some cool season turfgrasses in different fertilizer doses. by A Salman, R Avcıoğlu – Ege Üniversitesi Ziraat Fakültesi Dergisi, 2010 – cabdirect.org
The role of conventional breeding and biotechnical approaches to improve disease resistance in cool-season turfgrasses. by WA Meyer, FC Belanger – … resistance in cool-season turfgrasses., 1997 – cabdirect.org
Ovipositional preferences of the Japanese beetle (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) among warm-and cool-season turfgrass species by TN Wood, M Richardson, DA Potter… – Journal of economic …, 2009 – academic.oup.com
Heavy nitrogen fertilization of cool season turf grasses. by NR Goetze – Heavy nitrogen fertilization of cool season turf grasses …, 1960 – cabdirect.org
A review on heat tolerance of cool-season turf-grasses. by YL He, WX Cao, YL Liu, HD Jiang – Acta Prataculturae Sinica, 2000 – cabdirect.org