A Guide to Grass Types for Your Philadelphia Lawn

Grass Root Oregon State University

If you’ve ever purchased grass seed before, you’ve probably been faced with these kinds of questions: Sun or shade mixture? Dense shade or full sun? Perennial ryegrass or Kentucky bluegrass? And what percentage of each? The short answer is, it depends. As a general rule, light conditions, along with the eventual purpose of the lawn (sports field or simply something green to look at?) will all determine what type of grass seed, and what mixture you will need. Here is a breakdown of some of the common grass types that do well in Philadelphia’s climate, along with other relevant information such as their respective levels of drought resistance and preferred light conditions.

Kentucky Bluegrass

Drought Resistance: medium

Water Needs: medium to high

Texture: fine to medium

Traffic Tolerance: medium

Sunlight: full sun to partial shade

Other Attributes: cold resistant, fairly resistant to insects and disease

Mowing Height: no less than 2 ½ inches in height (once per week minimum during the growing season)

Recommended: Scotts Turf Builder Kentucky Bluegrass Mix Grass Seed

Perennial Ryegrass

Perennial Ryegrass

Drought Resistance: low

Water Needs: high

Texture: medium to course

TrafficTolerance: medium to high

Sunlight: full sun to partial shade

Other Attributes: Does not require as much fertilizer or water as Kentucky bluegrass

Mowing Height: keep at about 2 ½ inches high (mow once per week)

Recommended: Scotts Turf Builder Perennial Ryegrass Mix Grass Seed

Tall Fescue

Drought Resistance: High

Need For Water: Low

Texture: Course

TrafficTolerance: medium

Sunlight: full sun to partial shade

Other Attributes: many varieties to choose from, thrives in mild winters and warm summers

Mowing Height: for an extra textured look, mow at 3 to 3½ inches; an average height of 2 to 3 inches works well.

Recommended: Pennington Kentucky 31 Tall Fescue Grass Seed

Feature image source: Oregon State University, CC by SA 2.0


Kathleen Johnson