5 Best Grass Types for Boston

South End skyline of Boston in the Fall

Whether you want a lawn that rivals Fenway Park, or you need a hardy grass type to survive your Boston Marathon training regimen, picking the best grass type for your home isn’t an easy task. 

Good thing we’ve narrowed it down to the 5 best grass types for Bostonians: 

Kentucky Bluegrass Lawn
Kentucky bluegrass
Brenda Ryan | Lawn Love

1. Kentucky bluegrass

Want a lawn that contends the perfect, smooth grass of your favorite baseball stadium? 

Kentucky bluegrass is not only Fenway Park’s go-to, it’s a favorite grass for homeowners across the country. When people imagine turfgrass, they’re usually picturing dense, fine-textured Kentucky bluegrass. This grass type remains hardy through cold winters, and its emerald or blue-green color shines through in the springtime. 

Kentucky bluegrass can be high maintenance, requiring proper irrigation, dethatching, and fertilization to remain lush and healthy. Low levels of nutrients will delay grass growth and can lead to stripe rust, and this grass type will go dormant during periods of drought. 

Classification: Cool-season

Spreads by: Rhizomes

Shade tolerance: Moderate; prefers full sun

Drought tolerance: Moderate

Foot traffic tolerance: High

Maintenance needs: High

Mowing height: 2.5-3.5 inches

Potential for disease: Moderate to high

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.)

Perennial ryegrass flowers. Poaceae prennial grass.
Perennial ryegrass

2. Perennial ryegrass

If you don’t have the time or energy to take care of high-maintenance grass, you can still achieve a lush green lawn with a low-maintenance grass like perennial ryegrass. This is a cool-season grass that grows quickly and easily, ranging in color from pale to dark green, with a fine leaf texture. 

What makes perennial ryegrass so low-maintenance? It’s disease and pest-resistant, durable against heavy foot traffic, and does not produce much thatch. Perennial ryegrass will become dormant during drought conditions, but revives quickly once watered. 

It can grow well in soil with high levels of nitrogen, and helps to prevent erosion on roadsides and steep banks. Watch out for gray leaf spot disease, which can pop up in hot and humid summers. 

  • Classification: Cool-season
  • Spreads by: Bunch-type
  • Shade tolerance: Low; prefers full sun
  • Drought tolerance: Low
  • Foot traffic tolerance: High
  • Maintenance needs: Low 
  • Mowing height: 1.5-2.5 inches
  • Potential for disease: High

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

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

3. Fine fescue

Fine fescue is another low-maintenance, cool-season grass that can thrive in your Boston backyard. Fine fescue is fast-growing, but has a soft texture and can’t handle high levels of foot traffic. It is tolerant to drought and shade but needs to be irrigated consistently to prevent damage. It can even be blended with Kentucky bluegrass. 

Fine fescue ranges in color from blue-green to medium green and will stay green through the summer, as long as temperatures stay below 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Fine fescue requires consistent watering and should be mowed weekly

  • Classification: Cool-season
  • Spreads by: Bunch-type
  • Shade tolerance: Moderate to high; prefers at least four hours of sunlight per day
  • Drought tolerance: High
  • Foot traffic tolerance: Low
  • Maintenance needs: Low
  • Mowing height: 2.5-3 inches
  • Potential for disease: Moderate; chance of developing disease or snow mold

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.)

Forest and Kim Starr | Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

4. Zoysiagrass

While most warm-season grass types won’t be able to handle winters in the Northeast, Zoysiagrass sure can. Zoysia dulls in color during the colder months but has a beautiful light-medium green shade to your lawn the rest of the year. 

In addition to standing tough against cold weather, Zoysiagrass is also durable against heat, drought, and foot traffic, while requiring little maintenance from you. Be sure to dethatch and aerate regularly, and avoid planting in large, shaded areas; Zoysiagrass will thin in limited light conditions. This grass type grows dense and thick, which prevents most weeds from taking root.  

  • Classification: Warm-season
  • Spreads by: Rhizomes and stolons
  • Shade tolerance: Moderate; most cultivars prefer full sun, others can tolerate partial shade
  • Drought tolerance: High
  • Foot traffic tolerance: High
  • Maintenance needs: Moderate
  • Mowing height: 1-2 inches 
  • Potential for disease: Low

Grass Plug and Seed Options:
Zoysia Plugs (50 Large Grass Plugs)
Zoysia Plugs (50 Full & Lush Grass Plugs)
Zoysia Plugs (100 Plugs)
– Zoysia Emerald Grass Seeds (1/8 lb. of seeds)
Zenith Zenith Grass Seeds (1/8 lb. of seeds)

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

5. Tall fescue

Tall fescue is low-maintenance, durable cool-season grass. Resistant to most pests and diseases, and with little fertilization needed, this is a great choice for homeowners who don’t want to worry about lawn care chores other than mowing. This grass type grows very quickly, especially during the fall. 

Tall fescue is also tolerant of foot traffic, making it a great choice for families with children or pets. Tall fescue ranges in color from medium to dark green and has a coarse texture. It will remain green from early spring through late fall. 

  • Classification: Cool-season
  • Spreads by: Bunch-type
  • Shade tolerance: Moderate; prefers direct sunlight
  • Drought tolerance: Moderate 
  • Foot traffic tolerance: Moderate
  • Maintenance needs: Low
  • Mowing height: 3-4 inches
  • Potential for disease: Low

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.)

Choosing the best grass type for your Boston home

The options may be overwhelming, but asking yourself a few questions can help you narrow down the search for your perfect grass type. Keep the following in mind while researching the best grass for your yard:

  • How much time and effort are you willing to put into maintaining your lawn?
    • If you’re a busy bee and want to save time, opt for perennial ryegrass and fescues.
  • How sunny (or shady) is your lawn?
    • Fine fescue is the best option for lawns with abundant shade.
  • Do you have kids or pets running around?
    • Kentucky bluegrass, Zoysiagrass, and perennial ryegrass can withstand high levels of foot traffic.
  • Are you trying to be mindful of your water usage?
    • Zoysiagrass and fine fescue don’t require as much watering as other grass types.

Keep these questions in mind to hit the ground running with your lawn care. 

Don’t have time to keep up with your lawn care duties? Hire a Boston lawn care pro to hit your to-do list out of the park. 

Main Photo Credit: Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism | Flickr | CC BY-ND 2.0

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Sav Maive

Sav Maive is a writer and director based in San Antonio. Sav is a graduate from the University of Virginia and is a loving cat and plant mom.