How to Identify Spring Grasses
With the warmer seasons approaching, getting the yard read for good times is a must. It is important to know what your grass needs in order to get it ready to go. To know what it needs you need to know what kind of grass you have in your yard. Knowing which spring grasses are in your yard will help you determine what kind of fertilizers you will need and if you need a weed killer in the fertilizer.
The Good Grasses
There are many types of grasses, but the most prominent grasses are Kentucky bluegrass, thick fescue and fine fescue.
Bluegrass is a cool season grass and has a deep green to bluish color. It develops shallow root system and does not grow well in the shade. The blades are described as soft with a V-shaped tip. Kentucky bluegrass mows clean with a sharp blade and endures being walked on very well.
Tall fescue is found in hotter regions and tolerated high temperatures well. This grass type usually grows in bunches and has coarse, stiff, and jagged edged blade with a pointed tip. Tall fescue has a very deep green look and can withstand a lot of foot traffic. This is why it is usually used in sports fields.
This grass type is a catchall for the rest of the fescue. The fine fescue covers the red, crawling, hard, and sheep fescues. These grasses are very pointed and thin like a needle and they are also shade tolerant and do not like the heat. Fine fescues are soft, a dull green color, and crush easily. So, tread lightly on the fine fescue.
The Bad and the Ugly Grasses
There are some grasses that will try and blend in with your turf, but in reality they are weeds. A few examples of these undercover weeds are crabgrass, witch grass, and the creeping thistle.
Crabgrass is a weed that will take over your turf if not handled quickly. It starts to grow looking like a normal blade of grass, but when it reaches maturity its blades will fork out and start spreading through your yard. It is best handled early in the spring before it matures and spreads more of its seeds. If you don't then you will have to wait until winter for it to die and handle it the following spring.
Witch grass is a bundle grass that grows very tall and spreads seeds when fully matured. It is coarse, hairy, and tufted at the top when it is fully grown. The tufts at the top are where all the seeds are held and when it dies the seeds are released. These weeds can grow to be 30 inches tall, have lightly compressed blades, and have a purple color to them. Be sure to get these out of your turf before the seeds are released and more of them start popping up.
Creeping thistles do not look a lot like grass, but they are a weed that will take it over if you are not looking for them. They tend to like areas that have been recently reseeded but will grow wherever they can push their roots. Although the thistles do not like hot temperatures, so keep an eye out for them in the shady areas of your grass. They have a purple flower on the top of their stems with dark green wavy leaves.
It is good to know which grasses are good and bad so that this spring you know what you need to be able to perk your turf back up. The winter can be hard on grass and tends to harm the good grasses which makes room for the weeds. Knowing what your yard is made up of can help you determine which fertilizer and weed killer you will need this spring.