Does your lawn get at least six hours of sun?
If not, warm-season grass will not do well in your yard. Fescue is the choice for shade, and Kentucky bluegrass can be part of the blend for areas that are very shady. Bluegrass generally can’t take our summer heat, but it may do well in the right microclimate.
Do you have the icky soil of a newly built house?
Fescue is most tolerant of it. It can take the widest range of soil pH.
Is there a homeowners association covenant that restricts what kind of grass you can plant?
Some associations are strict about requiring fescue, and some don’t care.
What type of grass do your next-door neighbors have?
Bermuda in one lawn usually leads to Bermuda in the adjoining lawn. Be aware of how your neighbors’ lawns are affecting yours, and of how any choices you make may affect your neighbors because of Bermuda creep.
Do you have a high-traffic yard where dogs and/or children wear the lawn down and you need to plant anew?
You’ll need to go with sod or keep the traffic off the area until a new lawn is established, or it never will be. Your best choice is Bermuda, because it’s fast to come back from damage (ever tried to kill it?); fescue is the second choice, but it can thin out at times. Zoysia grows slowly, so you’d have to plant sod if you went with it. Buffalo is not tolerant of a lot of traffic.
Do you have chronic problems getting grass established?
Get a soil test if you haven’t already. You do this by taking samples of your soil to the Extension Center at 21st and Ridge Road, and it is sent off for analysis. The cost is $18.50. For instructions on how to collect your samples, go to www.sedgwick.ksu.edu, then click on “Lawn and Garden,” and then “Fertilizing & Soil Testing.”
When do you want your grass to be green?
Cool-season grasses stay greenest the longest, from about March through November. Warm-season grasses are green from about May through September. But fescue will turn brown in the summer if you let it go dormant, cutting into its streak. If you keep it watered and/or fertilized too much, it also can turn brown in summer from the disease of brown patch. Warm-season grasses usually maintain some semblance of green in the summer even if they’re not watered.
Source: Sedgwick County extension agent Rebecca McMahon