Choosing Grass for Your Climate

By: Julie Day

I live in Pennsylvania and have recently had my yard dug up due to a sewer problem. I need help choosing the right kind of grass seed to replant. The yard is very small (I live in a townhouse) and shaded by a dogwood tree. Please advise me, and thanks for your help! -Louise

Choosing the right kind of grass seed depends on the answers to a few questions:

  • Is the area in full sun, or is the shade light, medium, or heavy?
  • Does the area tend to stay moist or dry?
  • Does your climate call for cool-season (such as fescue, bluegrass, or ryegrass) or warm-season (including Zoysia, St. Augustine, Centipede, and Bermuda) turf grass?

With these answers in hand, the choices become easier. For instance, fine fescues tolerate shade but prefer drier soil while rough bluegrass does best when the soil is moist. If the shade is medium to light, then bluegrass or tall fescue are good options. As for the warm-season grasses, zoysia is the only species adapted to a climate as cool as Pennsylvania, but it is less likely to tolerate shade that far north.

For specific recommendations for your area, check out your local agricultural extension service.

Julie

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