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The most suitable grass for a lawn

By Gregg Eyestone

The perfect grass in my eyes would need little mowing, little water and be pest free. That is exactly how my lawn went this year.

My lawn isn’t green. One has to take the minuses with the pluses.

We planted grass the fall after construction of our home.

I decided on using a turf-type tall fescue blend with some bluegrass mixed in.

The cool and wet years made lawn care look simple. Now after a third summer of stress, bare spots and brown is more common than green.

Right plant, right place has been the Extension focus this year. Selecting the right grass for our area may be the hardiest choice.

Living in the transition zone of years of cool wet and hot dry seasons causes grasses to struggle. The allure of green grass most of the year, draws us to cool-season grasses like tall fescue and bluegrass.

Watering during years like this takes a toll on the grass and water resources.

My decision is to let the grass go naturally dormant which means a brown look.

With the lack of natural rainfall, some of it has likely died. This occurs to some degree even when using the recommended varieties.

There are a lot of fescue varieties to select from. K-31 is still a very hardy variety. It has a more coarse appearance with its wide blade. Genetic leaf color is not as dark green as turf-type varieties in side by side viewing. This is a good choice for a low input lawn.

Braveheart tall fescue got high ratings from field trials.

I couldn’t find a seed source.

Many similar tall fescues are available that have done very well. K-State Research and Extension has a list of them available from the office or online.

Caution comes with those varieties not on the list.

Bags of grass seed come in numerous choices. Many have grasses that don’t last in this transition zone. Trialed grasses are more like to be perennial.

You can find out more information on this and other horticulture topics by going to the Riley County, K-State Research and Extension website at Gregg may be contacted by calling 785-537-6350 or stopping by 110 Courthouse Plaza in Manhattan or e-mail:

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