Best Grass Types for Lawns in Knoxville, TN

Knoxville, Tennessee sits in the USDA Hardiness Zone of 7a, which unfortunately means that it’s not an optimal place for either warm-season or cool-season grasses.

While this can cause confusion for lawn owners when choosing the right grass seed, there are options that thrive in the area’s temperate climate. When renovating, establishing, or overseeding to fill in unwanted dirt patches, try using these recommended species of grass in order to get the best turf possible for your yard.

Bermuda Grass

Bermuda grass is a medium to coarse textured warm-season turfgrass, with high tolerance for heat, salinity and even foot traffic. Perfect for the temperate climate in Tennessee, Bermuda grasses look beautiful during warmer months but often turn brown during the winter.

A complete fertilizer application in early fall should do the trick anytime between late August to late September. If this fertilizer application is not completed, Bermuda grass may thin out as the weather gets colder. Also, weeds grow more easily when the yard is not fertilized. It is also recommended that this grass is only used on unshaded lawns because it needs 6 to 8 hours of daily sunlight for best results.

Mowing Height: 1 to 1.5 inches

Tall Fescue

This cool-season turfgrass is one of the most popular species strains throughout Tennessee. While tall fescues tend to grow the most during the spring and fall, this grass species is also heat and drought resistant.

When choosing this grass seed blend, make sure your lawn receives anywhere from 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight per day for the best result. Slightly shaded lawns will also work with tall fescues. This dark green grass is perfect for the fall, allowing for 21 to 30 days to germinate completely before winter.

Mowing Height: 2 to 3 inches

Creeping Red Fescue

Creeping Red Fescue is a particular species of turfgrass within the Fine Fescue category. These grasses are cool-season grasses, shaded by a dark green hue. This turfgrass is actually one of the best for shade tolerance, and any lawn with this turfgrass will need only about 4 to 6 hours of direct daily sunlight. If your lawn receives more sunlight than this, you may need to water your grass more often.

Mowing Height: 3 to 3.5 inches

Buffalo Grass

Buffalo grass is low-maintenance turf for most Tennessee lawns. This warm-season grass has a very high tolerance against droughts and heat. They do take a relatively long time to germinate compared to other grass species, but they survive well during a Tennessee summer. The best time to plant this grass is during the late spring, right after the last frost around mid to late April.

In order to maintain the green color of this grass during winter, use a complete fertilizer between late August and mid-September. This allows for your grass to fortify against the following cold months. Do not fertilize after late September because that will not allow enough time for your grass to absorb nutrients before frost sets in mid to late October.

Mowing Height: 3 to 4 inches

Centipede Grass

Centipede grass is a perennial warm-season turfgrass, used many times for lawns, golf courses, and other public spaces throughout the southeastern United States. Due to its relatively slow growth rate, this grass requires less upkeep and maintenance. It also requires less nitrogen fertilizer than most turfgrasses for lawns.

Traditionally, this grass is strongly resistant against heat, though recent cultivations and hybridizations have built a resistance against colder weather as well. This makes them perfect year-round grass in Knoxville.

The species consists of above ground runners with alternating leaf blades on both sides that form a dense, weed-resistant turf layer. Since this is a warm-season turfgrass, it’s advised you mow more often during the summer when the grass is in its peak growth rate.

Mowing Height: 1 to 1.5 inches

Need help preparing your lawn? Visit our Knoxville lawn care page to get in touch with a professional! In addition to Knoxville, we provide lawn care services to Tennessee cities, including Nashville, Memphis, Hendersonville, and Smyrna.