When it comes to deciding which kind of grass to plant on your lawn, you have two options: St. Augustine grass or Kentucky bluegrass. Each type of grass has its own unique characteristics and can complement different landscapes, but which one will be the best fit for your yard?
Here’s what you need to know about each option so you can make an informed decision before buying any new seeds or plants.
St Augustine Grass Vs Kentucky Bluegrass Differences
Both types of grass look good, so it really comes down to preference here. If you want a finer, softer green lawn with less care required, go with Kentucky bluegrass-but if you like a taller, fuller-looking green turf that requires fewer annual mowings and doesn’t need as much water or fertilizer, try Saint Augustine instead.
Generally, both types of grass are equally hardy and cost about equal to install. The difference lies in how long each species lasts; bluegrass requires far less upkeep than St. Augustine does over time, thanks to its superior drought tolerance and disease resistance. However, if you want a beautiful lawn right away-with no concern for long-term costs-St. Augustine grass is your best bet here as well.
While both grasses can have a high-maintenance reputation, they’re not as bad as you might think. For one thing, both varieties are much more resistant to most insects and diseases than, say, Bermuda and Zoysia grasses-which means less time watering and fertilizing (and weeding).
In addition, their wide leaves make them more shade tolerant than narrow-leafed varieties; so, if you live in an area with low light conditions (like a shady backyard), many gardeners prefer St. Augustine or bluegrass for their cool-season shade tolerance and dense growth habit that helps choke out weeds. Plus, homeowners with irrigation systems tend to choose St.
If you have a shady lawn, it might seem as though you’re at a disadvantage when it comes to growing turf. But that doesn’t mean that your lawn has to look bad or have no playability if you use one of these two types of grasses:
St. Augustine or Kentucky bluegrass. In fact, both can survive and even thrive in low-light conditions if they’re planted in areas with enough moisture and fertilization; otherwise, they’ll yellow and die over time.
Both are good choices for growing turf in your yard, though there are some key differences between them (see below). To pick which kind of lawn will be best for your property, consider how much sun your space gets as well as what type of soil you have.
One of the first things to know about both these types of turfgrass is that they are different, not just in name but also in climate adaptation. Both are warm-season grasses and will only thrive during summer temperatures and winter dormancy periods, but there’s a key difference when it comes to cold tolerance.
While some varieties of Kentucky bluegrass will continue to grow even into temperatures in the single digits, st. Augustine grass stops growing at around 20 degrees F (6 C).
That means if you have an area that freezes over during wintertime, you should definitely consider planting st. Augustine grass instead as it will give your lawn a rest from growth each year during cold weather while Kentucky bluegrass will keep going and go dormant again when spring hits.
Whereas perennial ryegrass typically struggles with leaf disease and only tolerates partial shade, both species of St. Augustine have great resistance to leaf diseases like dollar spot and rust, as well as full sun exposure.
Both types of St. Augustine grass also provide excellent drought tolerance thanks to their rhizomatous root systems; they are also considered more low-maintenance than Kentucky bluegrass due to their aggressive growth patterns that prevent other weeds from establishing themselves in your lawn’s soil.
Now, let’s talk about shade tolerance. Ideally, you want to choose a type of grass that will be able to thrive in your shady yard or garden spot.
For example, st. Augustine grass and fescue are more shade tolerant than Bermuda and Kentucky bluegrass because they are adapted to growing under a dense canopy of trees (like when they grow on golf courses).
However, all three still need some sunlight to thrive. To understand how much sun each species needs, visit our planting guide. You can also find tips for gardening in shade here.
For a while, at least, they are both going to be just fine in your yard or garden-assuming you have them planted and maintained properly.
(How many of us do that?) Still, one isn’t inherently better than another. Which one you should choose will come down to your personal taste or what happens to be available at your local nursery or home improvement store.
If all other things are equal, it’s worth considering how each lawn variety grows and how difficult each is to maintain.