Choosing the right variety of grass to plant in your Kansas City area lawn can be a bit confusing, especially if you are trying to grow grass in the shade. Different varieties have different pros and cons. To make it a bit easier to decide, the team at Custom Lawn & Landscape has narrowed it down to the top four grass varieties that do well in our climate, shady areas, and hardiness zone.
What Is Kansas City’s Hardiness Zone?
Based on the recommendations of Sal Vaglica of This Old House Magazine, Kansas City lies within Climate Zone 1, and according to the USDA Hardiness Zone Finder provided by the National Gardening Association, Kansas City lies in hardiness zone 5b. Hardiness zone maps were originally drawn to help serious gardeners know which plants are best suited to survive in different locations. By knowing which zone and climate your lawn is in, you can choose the plants, including grasses, that will grow best in your lawn.
Whether you are in Kansas or Missouri, it is recommended that you plant grass seed in early fall or by dormant seeding in the winter for best results. Cool weather grasses grow better in areas that have cooler summers and winters and warm weather grasses grow better in areas that have warmer summers and winters. Kansas City lawns generally do best with cool-weather grasses. Now, for the varieties…
Which Grass Type Is Right for Your Lawn in Kansas City?
There are four varieties of grass to consider:
- Tall fescue
- Kentucky bluegrass
According to American Lawns, all three of these types grow well in the “transition zone” where hardiness zone 5b is located. However, each has its pros and cons.
Comparing the alternatives can help you reach an informed decision about what to plant in your lawn.
Tall Fescue Grass
Tall fescue is a cool-season grass that grows in bunches and is ideal for lawns with shady areas.
- When tightly sewn, forms a lush covering even in areas that are partially shaded from full sunlight
- Withstands heat and drought and moderate traffic
- Not hardy in sub-zero temperatures
- Bunch formation can cause bald patches that will need to be re-sown occasionally
Kentucky bluegrass has a solid advantage over other cool season grasses because of its ability to spread.
- Very dense coverage
- Stands up to drought conditions well due to long root system
- Slow growth means fewer mowings
- In extremely dry conditions for extended periods, becomes straw-colored
- Can spread into neighboring lawns due to its long roots
Zoysia grass is a dense, warm-season turfgrass that can provide a lush and manicured-looking lawn.
- Spreads easily making it an ideal solution for re-establishing growth in thin/bald patches
- Can survive in both hot and cold temperatures by entering a dormant state during harsh weather conditions
- Not suitable for shady areas because it needs a lot of sun and water in dry conditions
- Shorter root systems make it unable to draw from deep groundwater, making matenience more intensive than other types of grass
Lawn care is not easy. Depending on whether your lawn is high traffic, a mix of sun and shade, or thinning a patchy, different grass varieties will solve your individual issues. Sometimes a mixture of two types of grasses is recommended.
If you’re still not sure which varieties of grass would be best for your lawn, give the professionals at Custom Lawn & Landscape a call at (913) 782-8315 or contact us online and we’ll be glad to help you decide.