6 Best Grass Types for New Haven

Connecticut House with Lawn

New Haven has a deep history of urban planning and creating green city spaces, so why shouldn’t you prioritize your lawn? 

Get your lawn to an ivy league level by taking care of your grass, and making sure you’ve planted the right kind of grass in the first place. Winters are harsh in Connecticut, so you need to have grass that can stand up to the brutal temperatures and piles of snow. 

Tall Fescue
Tall fescue | Robert Gaskin | Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

1. Tall fescue

Tall fescue is a very durable and drought-resistant cool-season grass type. It doesn’t require much fertilization, and it’s resistant to many pests and diseases. It is very low maintenance but can withstand plenty of outdoor activity, making it a very popular grass among busy homeowners with rambunctious kids and pets. 

Tall fescue is popular because it keeps its medium to dark green color from early spring through late fall. 

Classification: Cool-season grass
Spreads by: Bunch-type
Shade tolerance: Moderate; prefers direct sunlight
Drought tolerance: Moderate
Foot traffic tolerance: Moderate to high
Maintenance needs: Low; grows in nutrient-poor soil 
Mowing height: 2-4 inches (Check your cultivar and state recommendations. Many tall fescue lawns grow best when they’re mowed on the tall side.) 
Potential for disease: Low; high tolerance against pests and disease
Other notes: Grows slower than perennial ryegrass; will stay green during hot summers

2. Perennial ryegrass

Perennial ryegrass is another cool-season grass type that can thrive in New Haven. Perennial ryegrass is easy to grow and sprouts up quickly. It also can prevent erosion so it’s a great choice for steep banks and roadsides. It ranges from pale to dark green and has a fine leaf texture. 

Perennial ryegrass is very low maintenance and is disease and pest resistant. It can withstand high amounts of foot traffic, so this is a perfect option for busy and active homeowners. 

Classification: Cool-season grass
Spreads by: Bunch-type
Shade tolerance: Low — prefers full sun
Drought tolerance: Low; goes dormant during a drought, but will revive quickly when watered
Foot traffic tolerance: High
Maintenance needs: Low; responds well to a higher amount of nitrogen than other grass types  
Mowing height: Keep between 2-3 inches
Potential for disease: Low; it has a natural resistance to disease and insects; can develop grey leaf spot disease in summers with high levels of heat and humidity. 
Other notes: Does not produce a lot of thatch

Kentucky Bluegrass Lawn
Kentucky Bluegrass | LawnLove

3. Kentucky bluegrass

Kentucky bluegrass is a popular choice among homeowners across the United States. This is the type of grass you likely imagine when you picture the perfect lawn. 

Kentucky bluegrass is a dense, fine-textured grass type that can withstand cold winters. It ranges in color from blue-green to emerald. The beauty of this grass type does come at a price: Kentucky bluegrass is high maintenance and requires more water, fertilizer, and herbicide than other types. 

Classification: Cool-season grass
Spreads by: Rhizomes (underground shoots)
Shade tolerance: Moderate — requires four to six hours of direct sunlight
Drought tolerance: Moderate; thrives with proper irrigation, and will become dormant during periods of drought. 
Foot traffic tolerance: Low to moderate, but recuperates well
Maintenance needs: High. Needs to be fertilized because low fertility will delay growth and can cause stripe rust. 
Mowing height: 2-3 inches
Potential for disease: Moderate to high; iIncreases at lower mowing heights 
Other notes: Can produce a lot of thatch. Aim to dethatch annually or every other year.

Sheep Fescue - Fine Fescue
Sheep Fescue | Matt Lavin | Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

4. Fine fescue

Fine fescue is a fast-growing cool-season grass that can thrive in cold climates. Fine fescue is a group of five different fine fescue grasses: Chewings fescue, hard fescue, sheep fescue, slender creeping red fescue, and strong creeping red fescue.

Fine fescue has a soft texture but does not tolerate much foot traffic. It ranges in color from medium to blue-green and can be blended with Kentucky bluegrass for a thicker lawn.

It is drought tolerant and is perfect for lawns that have a lot of shade. It is not recommended for high-traffic areas but will stay green through the summer when temperatures remain below 90 degrees. 

Classification: Cool-season grass
Spreads by: Bunch-type 
Shade tolerance: High —- prefers less than four hours of sunlight per day
Drought tolerance: Moderate to high 
Foot traffic tolerance: Moderate
Maintenance needs: Low
Mowing height: 1.5-3 inches; should be mowed weekly, but will be fine if left unmowed for much of the growing season 
Potential for disease: Moderate 

5. Zoysiagrass 

Zoysiagrass is a dense warm-season grass type that ranges in color from light to medium green and will dull in color during the winter months. 

Despite being a warm-season grass type, Zoysiagrass can withstand cold weather, which is why it’s the only warm-season type to make this list. Zoysiagrass can handle drought, heat, and high levels of foot traffic, all while requiring little amounts of maintenance from you. This is a wonderful option for busy homeowners with active kids and pets. 

Classification: Warm-season grass
Spreads by: Rhizomes and stolons
Shade tolerance: Moderate: prefers full sun and will thin in large shaded areas
Drought tolerance: High
Foot traffic tolerance: High
Maintenance needs: Moderate; requires more frequent dethatching and aeration than other grass types
Mowing height: 1-2.5 inches 
Potential for disease: Moderate

Poa Supia Front Lawn in Hirschegg, Austria
Oleg Brovko | Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 2.0

6. Poa Supina grass

Poa Supina grass (also known as Supina bluegrass) is a durable, light green, cool-season grass type originating from the Austrian Alps. It is not common in the United States, but it has adapted to cool, mountainous climates. It is commonly used for athletic fields in Europe. 

It is fast growing and recovers quickly from damage. It has a high tolerance for shade and foot traffic, making it a great option for shady yards where kids and pets play. It does not fare well in high temperatures, but can handle winter weather and is disease resistant. 

Classification: Cool-season grass
Spreads by: Stolons
Shade tolerance: High
Drought tolerance: Moderate
Foot traffic tolerance: High
Maintenance needs: Needs to be watered once or twice a week; may require more frequent dethatching and aeration than other cool-season grass types
Mowing height: ½ – 1 ½ inches 
Potential for disease: Low 
Other notes: May produce a lot of thatch

How to choose the best grass type for your New Haven home

There are plenty of things to keep in mind while picking out which grass type is right for your home. While tall fescue, perennial ryegrass, Kentucky bluegrass, fine fescue, Zoysiagrass, and Poa Supina grass can all grow well in New Haven, it’s a good idea to keep the following things in mind when making your final decision:

  • How much time and effort can you spend on lawn maintenance? 
    • If you want to save time on lawn care, look into planting tall fescue and perennial ryegrass. 
  • How much shade does your lawn receive?
    • Poa Supina and fine fescue are great options for lawns with a lot of shade. 
  • Do you have active kids or pets?
    • Zoysiagrass, tall fescue, perennial ryegrass, and Poa Supina can handle plenty of outdoor activity.
  • How much water can you use?
    • If you’re trying to limit your water usage, plant perennial ryegrass or Zoysiagrass. 

Use these questions to guide you on your search for the perfect grass type for your New Haven home.

Need a hand with taking care of your lawn? Contact a New Haven lawn care professional to assist with all of your landscape design, installation, and maintenance needs. 

Main Photo Credit: Curtis Adams | Pexels

Sav Maive

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