4 Best Grass Types for Asheville

Aerial view of Asheville, NC at dusk

Tucked in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville’s cool climate makes it the perfect place to spend time outdoors year-round. If you are spending so much time outdoors, you want a great-looking lawn.

But grass is just grass, right? Well, not really. With over 10,000 species of grass, it’s important to choose the best type to handle Asheville’s mild climate. The best grasses are cool-season grasses that thrive in the spring and fall but can survive the summer and winter. 

There are four grass types that thrive in Asheville’s four beautiful seasons:

Perennial ryegrass flowers. Poaceae prennial grass.
Perennial ryegrass
iStock

1. Perennial ryegrass

Perennial ryegrass grows well in Asheville because it thrives in areas with moderate summers and mild winters. It distinguishes itself with its fine blades that have a glossy shine on one side. This turf type grows a dense, spiky seed head if unmowed.

Perfectly suited for the cool mountain air, perennial ryegrass stands up well to foot traffic, so it’s great for those backyard barbecues. Perennial ryegrass also establishes itself quickly and can easily be grown from seed. In North Carolina, perennial ryegrass is typically only planted as part of a mixture, usually with Kentucky bluegrass.

  • Classification: Cool-season grass
  • Spreads by: Bunch-type
  • Shade tolerance: Low 
  • Drought tolerance: Moderate 
  • Foot traffic tolerance: High
  • Maintenance needs: Moderate; performs best in soil pH of 5.5-7.5 
  • Recommended mowing height: 1.5-2.5 inches
  • Potential for disease: Low 

Grass Seed Options:
Outsidepride Perennial Ryegrass Seed (5 lbs.)
Eretz ProTurf Perennial Ryegrass Fine Lawn Seed (choose your size)

Kentucky Bluegrass Lawn
Kentucky bluegrass
Brenda Ryan | Lawn Love

2. Kentucky bluegrass

When you think of the ideal lawn, you picture Kentucky bluegrass. With its rich green color and medium-fine texture, Kentucky bluegrass is one of the most popular cool-season grasses in the United States.

Kentucky bluegrass spreads by an aggressive rhizome system which allows it to recover quickly from damage or stress. This makes Kentucky bluegrass a favorite for anyone who has pets or kids or enjoys outdoor entertaining. However, this grass also needs more maintenance than most on our list. 

  • Classification: Cool-season grass
  • Spreads by: Rhizomes
  • Shade tolerance: Low to moderate; prefers full sun
  • Drought tolerance: Moderate, but will survive by going dormant
  • Foot traffic tolerance: Low to moderate, but recuperates well 
  • Maintenance needs: Moderate mowing frequency; a high-maintenance grass 
  • Recommended mowing height: 2.5-3 inches
  • Potential for disease: Moderate

Grass Seed Options:
Jonathan Green (11970) Blue Panther Kentucky Bluegrass Grass Seed (3 lbs.)
SeedRanch Midnight Kentucky Bluegrass Seed (5 lbs.)
– Jacklin Seed – Biltmore Blue Blend – 100% Kentucky Bluegrass (5 lbs.)

Tall Fescue
Tall fescue
Ty Haller | Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

3. Tall fescue

Tall fescue makes a great choice for anyone who wants a green lawn year-round. This grass stands up to drought, heat, and shade better than most cool-season lawns, and can take the cold better than warm-season lawns. The coarse texture and wide leaf blades distinguish tall fescue from other grass types.

Tall fescue makes the perfect turf for anyone looking for a low-maintenance lawn. This grass grows well without regular watering and fertilization. The downside? Tall fescues will have a hard time growing back once damaged. Any dead or thinning patches will require re-seeding.

  • Classification: Cool-season grass
  • Spreads by: Bunch-type
  • Shade tolerance: High
  • Drought tolerance: High
  • Foot traffic tolerance: Low
  • Maintenance needs: Low
  • Recommended mowing height: 3.5-4 inches 
  • Potential for disease: Moderate; vulnerable to brown patch and gray leaf spot 

Grass Seed Options:
Triple-Play Tall Fescue Grass Seed Blend (5000 sq ft)
Eretz Kentucky 31 K31 Tall Fescue Grass Seed (choose your size)
Pennington The Rebels Tall Fescue Grass Seed Mix (7 lb.)

Fine Fescue - Red Creeping Fescue
Creeping red fescue
Matt Lavin Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

4. Fine fescue

Fine fescue is an umbrella term for a variety of fescues, including Chewings fescue, hard fescue, creeping red fescue, and sheep fescue. These grass types are defined by their fine blades, which can get as thin as pine needles. Fine fescue grows well in poor soil and boasts an impressive tolerance for shade and drought.

You’ll find fescues work well for low-maintenance lawns. Unfortunately, fine fescue also damages easily under heavy foot traffic and sometimes catches blights or grass disease. It’s the perfect grass for anyone who spends more time looking at their lawn than rolling around on it. To make it more durable, fine fescue seeds are often blended with Kentucky bluegrass.

  • Classification: Cool-season grass
  • Spreads by: Bunch-type
  • Shade tolerance: High 
  • Drought tolerance: High
  • Foot traffic tolerance: Low
  • Maintenance needs: Low
  • Mowing Height: 1-3 inches
  • Potential for disease: High

Grass Seed Options:
Outsidepride Legacy Fine Fescue Grass Seed (5 lbs.)
Eretz Creeping Red Fine Fescue Seed (choose your size)
Outsidepride Creeping Red Fine Fescue Grass Seed (25 lbs.)
Outsidepride Hard Fine Fescue Grass Seed (10 lbs.)

How to choose the best grass type for your Asheville lawn

Not every turf will suit your needs. Here are three important considerations when picking out the best grass type for your yard.

  • How much time do you spend on your lawn?
    • Does your yard host the neighborhood kids for flag football every weekend? You’ll need a grass that can stand up to foot traffic. Perennial ryegrass or Kentucky bluegrass are your best bet.
  • How much sunlight lands on your yard?
    • Most of these grass types work well in sunny yards. If you have a big, leafy shade tree that acts as an umbrella, you’ll need a shade-tolerant grass type like fine fescue. 
  • How much time do you want to spend on yard work?
    • Be honest. If lawn care is more like a hobby than a chore, you’ll do fine with a high-maintenance turf like Kentucky bluegrass. If yard work every weekend sounds like a drag, try out a tall or fine fescue.

Looking for a hand with your Asheville lawn? Check out our Asheville lawn care page. We’ll connect you with a local lawn care professional who will keep your grass beautiful and green. 

Main Photo Credit: Asheville at dusk | Michael Tracey | Wikimedia Commons | CC0

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Cory Ferrer

Cory Ferrer is a Lawn Love growth writer with a background in communication, creative writing, and education. He spends his free time exploring Denver, riding his mountain bike, and browsing used bookstores.