Last week I went over getting lawns in the warmer climates ready for the summer months, and now I’d like to touch on the grasses that work best for the cooler climates.   There are several cool season grasses to choose from, but I’ll keep them to a minimum and stick to which ones are the most landscape and homeowner friendly.  For those of you in Arizona we will have these grasses available locally between February and June.  If you will be planting your lawn after that date, don’t worry we can bring it to you from our California farms where we grow them year round.

Ryegrass/Bluegrass Mix

I know many of you really enjoy the golf course look to your lawn or putting the stripes in like a baseball field.  If this sounds like you, the rye/blue is an excellent mix.  It’s a lush dark green lawn that will hold up to any traffic that you put on it.  This is 85% ryegrass and 15%  bluegrass, and is the same mix we use for all of our stadiums and several of our northern climate golf courses.   If you want a more manicured looking lawn it can be maintained between ¼ inch and 2 inches.  The ryegrass has a very fine leaf texture and the blue is slightly coarser.  You should plan on mowing at least one to two times per week.   As with all grasses it does look better with a reel mower versus a rotary mower.  The rotary will do a good job of cutting it, but it will not allow you to get to the lower mowing heights.  This is a grass with moderate shade tolerance but does best in full sun.

West Coaster  Dwarf Tall Fescue

This is the most popular grass for homeowners in the cooler climates and higher elevations.  The dwarf tall fescue has a coarse leaf blade and grows very upright.  If you have partial shade or if your lawn is in full sun then this is an excellent choice for your house.    The dwarf fescue should be maintained between ¾ inch and 2 inches, but you can go a little higher in height if you desire.  You will often see the fescue in parks and home lawns and in some shaded areas on golf courses.  Take a look at the pictures below to see the deep dark green color and imagine how good that would look in your front yard.

Chaparral Ryegrass

Chaparral ryegrass is the optimal choice for those who like a real manicured lawn and like to keep the heights very low.  We use Chaparral ryegrass for all of our overseeding during the cooler months of the year, but you can also grow it year round in the cooler climates.  It has a very fine leaf texture which tolerates close mowing heights, a deep green color, and excellent wear tolerance.  The ryegrass can handle moderate shade during the day,  but still needs a few hours of sunlight to keep it thick and lush year round.  I suggest that you keep your ryegrass between ¼” and 2”.  If you are using a reel mower it can easily be maintained at the lower end of the height chart and be transformed into a fairway in your front yard.


Bluegrass/Ryegrass Mix (Bayside Mix)

The blue/rye is an 80 percent bluegrass and 20 percent ryegrass mix.  This is perfect mix for those of you who like the manicured look, and want a grass that will hold up to traffic.  I cannot say enough about the color of this grass as it is a beautiful deep blue green in color and will stripe up your lawn unlike anything else on the market.   The blue/rye has excellent wear and disease resistance and will stay green year round in much of the southwest.  You will often see this grass used in parks, golf courses, and home lawns.   If you are in a cooler climate and want to maintain your color longer into the winter months I would suggest the blue/rye.  The heavy rate of bluegrass allows it to maintain good color throughout the year and thus it uses less nitrogen than some of the other cool season varieties.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Thanks, Jay