Choosing the best type of grass to fill your lawn with can be a tough decision. That’s why we put together a Minneapolis grass types guide to help our readers and customers out. Check out the info below for help in deciding which type of grass to choose for your new lawn.

Cool-season Grasses Are the Only Recommendation

Minneapolis, MN is located far north of the transition zone so only cool-season grasses thrive here. Cool-season grasses are grass types that perform well in areas with cold winters and mild summers. These grasses experience the highest growth rates in temperatures between 65 – 80 degrees F, which means that they do the bulk of their growing in the spring and fall.

The most common cool-season grasses in Minneapolis are Kentucky bluegrass, fine fescue, and perennial ryegrass. Often these seeds are blended together for different needs and uses, such as high-traffic areas or lawns with either a lot of sun or a lot of shade.

Before choosing a type of seed there are some questions you may want to ask yourself: Is there mostly sun or shade hitting the lawn during the bulk of the day? Is there excessive foot traffic or use? Do you want a lawn all of the neighbors are going to be jealous of or a lawn that only fulfills the basic qualifications with very little maintenance? These are some important questions to keep in mind while making your decision.

  • For shady lawns, look for seed mixtures highlighting shade tolerance. These will mostly contain fine fescues along with some common and shade-tolerant Kentucky bluegrasses.
  • For sunny lawns that receive a lot of abuse, mixtures of 50% improved Kentucky bluegrasses and 50% perennial ryegrasses are considered to be the best.
  • For a low maintenance lawn, mixtures of Kentucky bluegrasses and fine fescues will offer a durable, long-lasting lawn.

Kentucky Bluegrass

Photo: Flickr / Dan Dickinson

Recommended: Scotts Turf Builder Kentucky Bluegrass Mix Grass Seed

Fine Fescue

Photo: Flickr / Uncle Millborn

Recommended: WaterSaver Grass Mixture with Turf-Type Tall Fescue

Perennial Ryegrass

Photo: Flickr / Jonathan Green

Recommended: Scotts Turf Builder Perennial Ryegrass Mix Grass Seed

Grasses to Avoid

Zoysia: This warm-season grass is well adapted to the southern U.S., but not Minnesota. Establishes slowly and is green only between the last spring frost to the first frost of fall.

Annual Ryegrass: This is a very cheap grass that’s really only used as a proxy in warm-season grass lawns during their winter dormancy to provide color and will not come back the following year. Completely different from perennial ryegrass.

Bentgrass: Mostly used as a golf course turf under low mowing heights (⅛” to ½”). At lawn mowing height (2” to 3”), bentgrasses tend to be very puffy, not uniform, poorly colored, and disease prone.

Tall fescue: Older varieties and cultivars haven’t performed well in Minneapolis due to their coarse texture and limited hardiness. Newer varieties, however, are being developed and could be recommended in the near future.

Have any questions about lawn care? Visit our Minneapolis lawn care page or share your thoughts in the comments below.