Answer: In Ohio, only a few species of grass are useful for home lawns. The recommended species include: Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, tall fescue and fine fescue.
Kentucky bluegrass is the primary lawn turfgrass grown in Ohio. With proper management, Kentucky bluegrass forms a fine-textured, high-quality, long-lasting turf. This species produces rhizomes (underground stems) that give rise to new bluegrass plants. This ability enables bluegrass to rapidly recuperate from injury and fill in thin areas in the lawn. Kentucky bluegrass is winter-hardy and capable of withstanding temperature and moisture extremes. During hot, dry periods it tends to become dormant and lose color. If high quality is desired during the summer period, lawn irrigation is often necessary.
Perennial ryegrass, like Kentucky bluegrass, is a fine-textured species with the potential to develop into a high quality lawn. Perennial ryegrass has rapid seed germination and seedling establishment qualities. This species has a bunch-type growth habit, which enables it to form density through tillering. The cold tolerance and disease resistance capabilities are less than for Kentucky bluegrass but are acceptable for most areas of Ohio. All perennial ryegrasses require well-drained soils of medium to high fertility. The maintenance, fertility and pH requirements are similar to the improved Kentucky bluegrasses. Perennial ryegrass has better drought tolerance than Kentucky bluegrass but normally requires irrigation to maintain quality during most Ohio summers. The optimal mowing height is 2-2 1/2" inches.
Tall fescue has been used traditionally as a low-maintenance grass in areas where a coarser texture is not objectionable. This species is coarser textured than the other recommended turfgrass species. Tall fescue tolerates soils of low fertility, persists well under low maintenance and possesses good tolerance to insects and diseases. This species germinates and establishes quickly but slightly slower than perennial ryegrass. When mature, tall fescue has excellent wear tolerance and, due to its deep-rooted nature, tolerates drought and will remain green throughout most Ohio summers without supplemental irrigation. Juvenile tall fescue seedlings are not cold-tolerant and will be prone to winterkill. However, well-established seedlings and mature lawns will endure most Ohio winters.
Or, you can get the best features and characteristics if you plant a mixture of all three. Enjoy your lawn!
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