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Best High Traffic Grass

One of the best memories I have as a kid is practicing cartwheels and playing tag with my friends and siblings on the lawn. I never did learn how to turn a cartwheel (I nailed somersaults, though), but the fact that we had a nice, soft, thick lawn meant that I could run and play to my heart’s content.

If you’ve got a backyard area that needs to stand up to kids playing and pets roughhousing, the type of grass you choose will be make-it-or-break-it. The last thing you want is a nasty-looking lawn with bare patches because it didn’t stand up to high traffic. And although grass that receives high traffic will typically need some extra love and attention to keep looking great, starting with the right type of grass is half the battle. One of these tough turfs is sure to be the right choice for you.

Boy throwing soccer ball with dog in yard

Kentucky bluegrass: One of the most cold hardy of the cool-season lawn grasses, Kentucky bluegrass has excellent winter-hardiness and impressive durability. It’s a self-spreading sod-type grass that offers a lush and dense appearance. While it prefers full sun, it will tolerate some light shade, and it will go dormant during high heat or extended drought. Establish it from seed in the fall, give it deep and thorough watering, and mow at 2 – 2 1/2 “ high.

Perennial Ryegrass: Perennial Ryegrass is another cool-season grass, thriving where winters are cool and summers are warm. Seed it in the fall and prepare to be impressed with how quickly it sprouts and grows — although once established, it spreads slower than Kentucky bluegrass. It prefers full sun but will tolerate light shade, and requires relatively high amounts of water and fertilizer to look and perform its best. Keep it mowed at a 1 ½ – 2 1/2 “ height.

All Natural Topper

Kellogg Garden Organics

All Natural Topper

**Product not available in AZ, CA, HI, NV, UT. For a comparable product in these states click here.

Kids rolling in the grass

Bermudagrass: This warm-season grass has exceptional heat and drought tolerance, and takes heavy use in relative stride (making it idea for athletic fields and golf courses). Bermudagrass has an extensive root system which allows it to be quite durable and resistant to stress, but also makes it a bit of a pest in garden areas where you don’t want grass. Give it full sun and good drainage — and because of its aggressive growth, regular fertilization, once to twice a week mowing at 1 – 2 ½” high, and regular irrigation.

Zoysia: Zoysia grass is another warm-season grass that takes tons of abuse like heat, drought, and heavy foot traffic. And while it prefers full sun, it will tolerate light shade much better than Bermudagrass will. It forms a thick, dense lawn with light-to-medium green blades. Plant it in spring by either seed or by sod pieces, give it deep and infrequent watering, and keep it mowed at 1 -1 1/2 “ height.

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    • Hi Sue! Sorry to hear you aren’t able to get your hands on Zoysia. If you are looking for a warm season grass, Bermuda Grass is a good alternative. Seashore Paspalum is another grass that is comparable to Zoysia. If you live in Washington state, Fescue seems to be a popular choice for that area that does well. Hope this helps!

  1. I have 7 very active German Shepard’s who have shredded my lawn. I intend on moving them to a fenced in unaffected area of my lawn but I need a grass to repair the muddy dirt area I have now. I live in Ohio and the affected area is a mixture of sun and shade. Please help. Thank you

    • Hi Teresa! Thank you for the comment. In Ohio, Kentucky Bluegrass and Perennial Ryegrass do well. There are some other varieties but they require a bit more care. Looking at sun, shade, and use of your lawn are all important factors but soil composition is also a consideration. Kentucky bluegrass requires moist, well-draining soil to develop. It will not do well in extremely acid or alkaline soils or in heavy shade. Perennial ryegrass has similar needs to the Kentucky bluegrass but is less tolerant to cold and is not as disease resistant. Fine fescue is another one planted in Ohio it is typically seeded with another cool-season grass The fine fescues need well-drained slightly dry soils but need minimum management. You can read about the other two kinds of grass here: Here is information on how to test your soil if you need to:

  2. I want to choose a kind of grass on a cold season. Through your sharing, I recognize that Kentucky bluegrass is a suitable grass for my garden. Thanks and keep it up!

  3. I live in southeast TN and it’s very hot and humid in the summers and mostly cool in the winters (avg low 45ish winters). The winter rye does well from October to about May but froM May to October our grass doesn’t do well. I’ve tried to plant Bermudagrass but it’s not taking over as fast as i would have hoped and fescue requires so much watering with our hot and humid climate in the summer months that I’m trying figure out the best seed to use?

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