5 Best Grass Types for Camden

Aerial view of Camden, NJ

With Camden’s extremely cold winters and warm, humid summers, selecting an optimal grass type can be a challenge for this transition zone city. Depending on your needs and abilities, you will want to find a grass type best suited for both your environment and lifestyle. But there are five grass types that thrive in the Camden area:

  • Kentucky bluegrass
  • Perennial ryegrass
  • Tall fescue
  • Fine fescue
  • Meyer zoysia

1. Kentucky bluegrass

Loved for its pleasing green color and attractive, smooth leaf texture, Kentucky bluegrass is one of the most popular and recognizable lawn grasses in the U.S. It looks great but it’s finicky and tough to maintain. It requires moderate fertilizer, weed control, disease control, and irrigation. New varieties have better disease resistance and some shade tolerance.  

  • Classification: Cool-season grass
  • Spreads by: Rhizomes 
  • Shade tolerance: Poor; thrives in full sun
  • Drought resistance: Moderate, but will survive by going dormant
  • Foot traffic tolerance: Low to moderate, but recuperates well 
  • Maintenance needs: High; requires at least 2 inches of water per week 
  • Mowing height: 2-3 inches

Other notes: Produces a dense lawn under ideal conditions; many of these traits (shade tolerance, drought resistance, etc., vary widely by cultivar, with newer cultivars generally being hardier, more resistant to disease, etc.). Mow taller in summer. Most often mixed with other species, such as tall fescue, in home lawns. 

2. Perennial ryegrass

Perennial ryegrass is grown in both cool-season and warm-season lawns. It’s often used as a mix with Kentucky bluegrass and fine fescue. It has a beautiful dark green color and fine blade texture. Although it prefers full sun, it can tolerate partial shade. Perennial ryegrass is a great choice not only for residential lawns, but golf courses and athletic fields, as well. Given the right conditions, perennial ryegrass germinates faster than any of the other common grass types.

  • Classification: Cool-season grass
  • Spreads by: Bunch-forming 
  • Shade tolerance: Designed for full sun areas but will tolerate some shade
  • Drought tolerance: Low
  • Foot traffic tolerance: Moderate but slow to recuperate
  • Maintenance: Moderate mowing requirement, depending on cutting height (lower cutting heights require more frequent mowing) 
  • Mowing height: 2-3 inches

Other notes: Most often mixed with Kentucky bluegrass and fine fescue in a cool-season mix; well known for its excellent striping ability, low mowing tolerance (reel mower fans, this one’s for you), and rapid germination rate (4-7 days). Needs moderate levels of fertilizer. 

3. Tall fescue

If you like a green lawn almost year-round, tall fescue is for you. It greens up early to mid spring and keeps its color into late fall. Tall fescue is also great for homeowners who like a low-maintenance lawn. It has few disease problems, is extremely heat, drought, and salt-tolerant, and can withstand heavy foot traffic. Due to its deep root development, this grass type is extremely eco-friendly because it can thrive in drought conditions. 

  • Classification: Cool-season grass
  • Spreads by: Bunch-type
  • Shade tolerance: Prefers full sun but can tolerate moderate shade
  • Drought tolerance: High
  • Foot traffic tolerance: Moderate, but low ability to recuperate from wear
  • Maintenance needs: Low. Does well in most soil types, requires little watering, is extremely disease and insect resistant. It grows quickly, so plan to mow often. 
  • Mowing height: 2-4 inches 

4. Fine-leaf fescue

Named for having the finest leaves, fine-leaf fescue is the ideal grass for lawns with abundant shade. It’s also a dream grass for homeowners who want a low-maintenance lawn or meadow-like landscape. This cool-season grass stays green year-round, needs little water or fertilizer, and can be left unmowed. Fine-leaf fescue is extremely resistant to insects but is prone to fungal diseases, especially during prolonged periods of humid, wet weather. 

  • Classification: Cool-season grass
  • Spreads by: Bunch-type grasses except creeping red fescue, which spreads by rhizomes
  • Shade tolerance: Moderate to high 
  • Drought tolerance: Moderate to high
  • Foot traffic tolerance: Low to moderate 
  • Maintenance needs: Low; grows well in difficult soil mixes and requires little water, fertilizer, or mowing
  • Mowing height: 1.5-3 inches

Other notes: Often used in a mix with other cool-season grasses, especially in sun/shade mixes 

5. Meyer Zoysia

A great choice that does well in the transition zone, Meyer Zoysia is a warm-season grass that can adapt well to Camden’s extremely cold winters and warm, humid summers. It’s dense grass with dark green blades that have a soft texture. Meyer Zoysia is cold, drought, and shade tolerant. It’s also extremely salt-tolerant, and disease and insect-resistant. 

  • Classification: Warm-season grass
  • Spreads by: Stolons
  • Shade tolerance: Grows well in partial shade
  • Drought tolerance: High
  • Foot traffic tolerance: High
  • Maintenance needs: Needs about 1 inch of water per week and 3-4 fertilizer applications a year
  • Mowing height: 1-2 inches

How to choose the best grass type for your Camden lawn

All of the grass types discussed can do well in your Camden landscape, but thinking about your yard’s particular qualities will help narrow down your choice:

  • How much shade does your yard get?
    • Fine fescue and Meyer Zoysia will do well if you have a yard shaded by trees.
  • How much sun does your yard get?
    • Tall fescue, perennial ryegrass, and Kentucky bluegrass like direct sunlight.
  • Is a lush lawn important to you?
    • Kentucky bluegrass and Meyer Zoysia make for a dense, richly colored yard.
  • Do you have less time for maintenance?
    • Fine fescue and tall fescue are lower-maintenance options.

So now you have your new grass and you need help maintaining it. Call a Lawn Love lawn care pro to mow, edge, and fertilize to keep your new grass green and healthy.

Main Photo Credit: BruceEmmerling | Pixabay

Hilary Walker