Best Grass Types for Lawns in Portland, OR

There are certain types of grass which grow best in Portland, Oregon. Growing the right grass for your climate is vital to keeping your lawn healthy and looking good. The grasses most commonly planted in Portland are mixtures of Kentucky Bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, and fine fescue. Here are the best grass types to plant.

Each one of these grasses provides your lawn with a different benefit. Kentucky bluegrass will stabilize the soil and help to recover from heavy traffic because of it’s rhizomatous growth habit. Perennial ryegrass grows rapidly and established quickly, and fine fescue is adaptable to partial shade and does well in drought conditions.

1. Kentucky Blue Grass

This grass is a species which is native to Asia, Europe, Algeria, and Morocco and is a cool season grass. Even though it was not originally from the United States, Kentucky Blue Grass could be found in yards all over the East Coast. It can also be grown in the west if irrigated properly, growing to about 20-24 inches tall at maturity. The leaves are Y shaped, and it spreads by rhizomes which create new plants. The rhizomes grow fast and, in the spring, form a thick sod.

The best time to plant Kentucky Bluegrass seed is when the soil temperatures during the fall—as temperatures drop to 50-65 degrees F.  This is because the soil is warm enough for the seeds to grow and develop strong roots to survive through harsh winter.

Kentucky Bluegrass is a cool season grass and will need at least two inches of water a week. This will keep it growing green and healthy. If it rains less than this, you may have to water your lawn or irrigate. If it doesn’t get enough water in the summer, it may go dormant. Kentucky Bluegrass should be kept at a two-inch height and mowed before it reaches three inches.

2. Perennial Ryegrass

Perennial Ryegrass is a cool season grass, commonly used for home lawns, tees, baseball fields, and golf fairways. It holds up against foot traffic well, grows easily, and maintains a lush green appearance. It's also a perfect grass for overseeding lawns that go dormant in the winter. Plus, because it grows so rapidly, it suppresses weed growth.

This grass grows exceptionally well under the full sun but also can grow in partial shade. Fertile well-drained soil is ideal for this grass, though it handles wet soil better than other ryegrasses. However, it won't tolerate extreme drought or extended periods of heat.

In addition, this grass has a habit of growing without rhizomes or stolons. It ranks in the moderate to high maintenance care factor depending on the conditions of the environment in which it's growing. This grass should be mowed when it's between 1.5 and 2.5 inches high. It needs to be watered to a depth of six to twelve inches unless overseeding is done. Then you should water it deeply but not as frequently.

3. Fine Fescue

This is the perennial standard turf grass that is part of a cool season grass mixture. There are five species blended together and sold as a mixture. The different species of fescue are Sheep Fescue, Hard Fescue, Chewing Fescue, Creeping Red Fescue and Slender Creeping Red Fescue. All the species will form tufts except red creeping varieties. The Creeping Fescues are spread by rhizomes.

The leaves are medium green to a blue-green and have fine leaves. It germinates and establishes itself quickly because it's one of the most shade tolerant of all the turf grasses. It will grow in difficult soils such as clay, sandy or rocky soil but doesn’t perform well in a high traffic area. Also, it may go dormant if the temperature reaches 90 plus degrees F. However, it will come out of dormancy when it becomes cooler. Mowing height should be between two to two and a half inches in height.

By combining different grasses, it will ensure a green lawn throughout the growing season.

Need help caring for your lawn? Visit our Portland lawn care page to get in touch with a professional! In addition to Portland, we provide lawn care services in Northwest cities including Seattle and Spokane.