4 Best Grass Types for Asheville

Historic Rumbough House in Asheville, NC

What grass types are best for your Asheville yard? We get the beauty of all four seasons at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains, but humidity and seasonal temperatures can be hard on our lawns. What this means: We will need cool-season grasses that can withstand our unique weather. 

In this guide, we’ll discuss the most common types of turf grass used in Asheville and the maintenance needed to keep your lawn green and healthy:

First, let’s look at how to choose the best grass type for your Asheville lawn. This will help as you read about each of the four best grass types.

Most Asheville lawns are in full sun with some shaded areas due to trees and structures. To choose the best grass type for your Bee City yard, take a look at your property and answer these questions:

  • Do you have full sun in front but partial shade in the back or on the sides? 
  • Do you like to admire your lawn from the house or throw the block’s best barbecue? 
  • Does your lawn slope or incline? 

1. Perennial Ryegrass

Close up image of perennial ryegrass
Photo Credit: Dr Mary Gillham Archive Project / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Whether it’s a newly established lawn from seed, fresh sod, or an existing lawn, perennial ryegrass takes root quickly and is generally drought tolerant. Its fine, glossy deep green blades are comfortable underfoot and withstand high foot traffic. 

However, finding this grass seed alone may be difficult as it’s typically mixed with other grasses like fescue or Kentucky bluegrass. Perennial ryegrass is best for lawns that get full sun during the hottest part of the day. 

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 with a 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)

2. Tall Fescue

tall fescue
Aaron J. Patton, Ph.D. / Turfgrass Extension Specialist Purdue University

Tall fescue is a great choice for controlling erosion on sloped or rolling lawns because it roots quickly creating a mesh to stabilize topsoil. This grass also is a star when it comes to growing in partial shade or full sun and can withstand fluctuating temperatures. 

Tall fescue is considered low maintenance due to its slow growth and drought tolerance. 

Note: Tall fescue is not easy on bare feet and may develop brown areas with heavy foot traffic. Keep in mind that you will need to reseed each fall to keep your lawn looking lush. 

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.)

3. Fine Fescue

Close up image of fescue grass with a hand on it
Photo Credit: Aaron J. Patton, Ph.D. / Turfgrass Extension Specialist at Purdue University

Fine fescue is usually a combination of common fescue grass seeds that produce delicate, thin grass blades. As a shade-loving grass that is drought tolerant. It thrives in the shade of trees and in low-traffic areas. 

Fine fescue is perfect for shader spots in your yard. It’s slow growing and grows best in drier soils. 

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.)

4. Kentucky bluegrass

Bluegrass lawn in Aurora, Colorado.
Photo Credit: Brenda Ryan‘s Kentucky bluegrass backyard / LawnStarter

Kentucky bluegrass is easily one of Asheville’s most popular grass types. Kentucky bluegrass is a great choice if you’re looking for a dense, lush, and durable lawn. It can handle moderate traffic with little to no damage. 

However, Kentucky bluegrass is fast-growing and requires more maintenance than other cool-season grasses. Keeping a good schedule for mowing, weed control, and fertilizer application will keep it healthy. 

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.)

FAQ about Best Grasses for Asheville Lawns

What’s the best grass type for bees and other pollinators? 

Asheville is called “the bee city” due to its commitment to recognizing the essential role of pollinators. According to Bee City USA, the best bee friendly grass types are fine fescue, tall fescue, and Kentucky bluegrass. 

How can you grow cool-season grass in shaded areas? 

Fine fescue can handle shade and drier soils, making it a great choice for yards with trees, dark corners, and shaded side yards. Seed with fescue in the patchy shaded areas near trees.

Pro Tip: Consider mulching directly at the tree base with wood chips where grass no longer grows. 

How can you prevent soil erosion on sloping or rolling lawns?

Perennial ryegrass and fescues are great for hills, slopes, and hard-to-mow areas. Fescues are fast-growing, develop root systems that prevent erosion, and grow well in shaded areas.

When to Hire a Lawn Care Pro

Choosing the right grass for your lawn can be challenging, but if you have questions, local lawn care pros have the answers to help. And if you’re too busy or just don’t want to deal with taking care of your yard, let LawnStarter’s Asheville lawn care pros take that job off your to-do list.

Main Photo Credit: Teemu008 / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

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Robin Chipman

Robin Chipman

Robin Chipman is a technical writer working toward her master's degree in Strategic Communication. She teaches QiGong in her community and enjoys exploring nature or sipping on a cup of herbal tea.