Grass comes in many different varieties and is used for many purposes, including ornamental cover for lawns or putting greens for golf courses. Farmers use grass to graze animals, and grass provides wildlife habitats or protection against soil erosion. Different grasses grow better in certain regions of the country or in different soil environments. Grass types might be categorised by how the grass is used or planted or the climate in which the grass grows best.
Switchgrass is a warm season perennial grass that grows 3 to 8 feet high and has a bunch-like appearance. Most warm season grasses are slow to establish, drought-tolerant and tolerant of acidic or alkaline soils. Warm season grasses are often used for wildlife cover, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Like most warm season grasses, big bluestem is a tall grass that can grow up to 12 feet, but usually grows to 5 to 8 feet. Mature big bluestem grass has a reddish-purple colour. Big bluestem is found on tallgrass prairies and grasslands and is considered a preferred forage grass, according to the USDA.
Saltmeadow cordgrass, another warm season grass, is a short perennial grass that grows to up to 3 feet tall. This grass has droopy, wiry leaves and grows in marshes and dunes.
Tall fescue grasses tolerate shade well and grow like a bunch-grass. Fine-leaved fescues, including the creeping red and chewing varieties, are shade-tolerant, have short roots and require well-drained soil.
Kentucky bluegrass, the most common turfgrass in the northern U.S., does not do well in shade, but it is one of the most drought-tolerant of the cool season grasses. Kentucky bluegrass is slow to germinate so it is not a good choice on slopes for use as soil protection, according to Cornell University.
Ryegrass requires more than moderate sun and it stands up well to traffic. Perennial ryegrass germinates quickly, which makes it a better choice for slopes and soil protection. Annual ryegrass also germinates quickly; however, it dies during the winter.
Eastern gamagrass, which grows 5 to 9 feet tall, is a warm weather grass and a perennial that is drought-tolerant although it grows best in moist soils. Eastern gamagrass is used in wildlife habitats.
Indiangrass is also a warm weather grass that is used in wildlife habitats. Indiangrass, which can grow in sandy soils, is a bunchgrass that grows 3 to 5 feet tall, tolerates drought and requires medium-heavy to light soils.
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