What Are The Different Types Of Grass In The UK?

Even if you deem yourself to be a big gardening enthusiast, It’s highly likely that you haven’t thought that much about the grass.

We all know that gardens need great looking grass to improve your garden’s aesthetic appeal.

However, did you know there are various grass types, even though the majority of them are seen to be green, short, and pointy at their ends.

Understanding the multiple grass types and the preferred conditions that they thrive in is vital to getting the best in your garden.

In this article, we take a look at the different types of grass found in British lawns today:

Dwarf Ryegrass

Also referred to as Lolium perenne or Turf Ryegrass, the Dwarf ryegrass is a perennial strain that’s explicitly bred for its ability to yield more tillers (the grass shoots’ stem).

The Dwarf ryegrass has a relatively short growth span, which leads to a thicker lawn.

You can identify this species with the reddish or purple colouration at the plant’s base.

Over the past 30 years, this grass species has become a popular breed when it comes to lawns, mainly because it entrenches itself so fast.

The Dwarf ryegrass thrives in moist soil conditions and doesn’t do well when grown under the shade.

Red Fescue Grass

Best renowned by the Latin name Festuca Rubra, this grass species is more of a cool-season grass that does well in the shaded areas, which are for the most part challenging to maintain.

You can find Red Fescue at resorts, campsites, and anywhere that’s in the mountain shade.

Red Fescue is sought-after by many gardeners due to its low maintenance. It requires very little in the way of lawn mowing, irrigation, or fertiliser, making it affordable and labour saving.

While Red Fescue may thrive in shady, dry environments, it doesn’t do so well under hot climatic conditions.

Most gardeners prefer pairing up the Red Fescue with meadow grass to get an attractive covering in both sunned and shaded areas. It’s not as resistant as some grasses and can take a while to germinate.

You can recognise this species by its deep green colour and extremely fine blades. It has two varieties, Creeping Red Fescue, which spreads gradually with short root sequences, and Chewing Fescue, that’s a bunchgrass with an upright growth habit.

Slender Creeping Red Fescue Grass

Slender Creeping Red Fescue or going by its scientific name, Festuca Rubra Litoralis, is a more slender cousin of Creeping Red Fescue and is a common grass species that you’ll find in most British lawns.

Slender Creeping Red Fescue is a favourite among gardeners since it strikes a fine balance between looking aesthetically appealing and withstanding harsh environmental and weather conditions.

Slender Creeping Red Fescue will thrive when subjected to well-drained soil, do well in drought environments, and isn’t suited for moist soil conditions.

All you need to do is ensure that you’ve watered it at least two times per week.

The ideal conditions for Creeping Red Fescue are shaded environments and are perfect for tree-lined spots or areas that don’t receive a significant amount of sunlight.

You should know that when this grass species is planted, it takes hold pretty quickly and therefore is a perfect breed for new lawns with no grass.

Common Bent Grass

This grass species goes by various names. It is referred to as Agrostis Capillaris L. in Latin, while gardeners call it common bentgrass, brown bent, colonial bent, highland bent, and fine bent.

It’s renowned for being perennial (meaning it can live for more than two years) and rhizomatous (which means it has many roots).

Common bent is widely dispersed throughout the United Kingdom, thriving in varying terrains like acidic grassland, meadows, damp soils, rough pastures, and ground. It can also do well in nutrient-poor soil and is frequently found in upland areas.

This grass species is the real survivor. It can thrive under various climatic conditions and can be germinated in both autumn and spring. That’s why common bentgrass is the more prevalent wild grass and can be found in the Lake District and pretty much anyone’s back garden.

Smooth-Stalked Meadow Grass

This meadow grass goes by the Latin name Poa Pratensis.

In the United States, it is referred to as the folksy sounding Kentucky Bluegrass.

Smooth-Stalked Meadow Grass yields a hardwearing turf that’s distinguishable for its dark green leaf. You’ll realise it’s a bit broader compared to other slender breeds of grass species and benefits from a vast root system that makes it a survivor in droughts and with damage.

This grass species also lures various wildlife that makes it perfect if you envisioned your garden as a habitat for nature and a refuge to relax and enjoy a G’ n’ T and a good book.

The Smooth-stalked meadow grass attracts various wildlife, such as caterpillars that blossom into butterflies, and not forgetting the Common Sun Beetle.

Annual Meadow Grass

Going by the Latin name Poa Anua, this grass species is a staple of bowling and golf greens throughout Britain.

Annual Meadow Grass isn’t frequently used in seed mixtures, but it’s popular for cultivated turf and usually finds its way on lawns as a contaminant.

Annual Meadow Grass doesn’t do well in acidic soil or soil with low phosphate concentration and can especially be sensitive under drought conditions. This is why Annual Meadow Grass is more prevalent and thrives on lawns that are occasionally managed.

Note that Annual Meadow Grass flowers throughout the years, which means its seeds can be dispersed by getting attached to the undersides of shoes and tire treads etc.

To figure out which seeds the best suit your garden make sure you evaluate the landscape, note where the sun shines, check the amount of moisture your lawn has, and which seeds are more likely to come from neighbouring grassy areas and lawns.

Regardless of what your situation is, you are sure to find a grass breed that suits your garden.

If you need help selecting the best grass type for your landscaping project, check out our Landscape Gardening Services

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