Best Grass for Northern California

Published Categorized as Turfgrass
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WHILE THERE could be as many as 13,000 grass species worldwide, 1,400 of these are confirmed to be in the United States of America. With this vast number, how can you get the best grass for northern California? Not every turf can grow in your area. You need the best grass for northern California. The beauty is different grass varieties do well in all parts of California, whether it is central California or northern California.

Some of the best grass for northern California include Tall Fescue, Bluegrass, Bermuda grass, Ryegrass, and Native Bentgrass. Each grass type has its growing and maintenance practices that you must implement to grow a thicker and fuller lawn.

Which is the Best Grass for Northern California?

The best grass types you can grow in northern California can also do well in central California. See some of the turfgrasses below:

Tall Fescue

Best Grass for Northern California

Tall fescue is among the grass varieties grown in American lawns. It is the best drought-tolerant grass for northern California. The grass has different subtypes, including Fine fescue. Over the years, Tall fescue has named itself the best grass for California because of its drought-resistance qualities.

This grass is found along Californian roadsides, sports fields, commercial properties, recreational areas, parks, and residential properties. The grass spreads quickly and among the renowned cool-season turfgrasses.

How to Maintain Tall Fescue Grass

Like any other turfgrass, maintaining Tall fescue requires constant attention. 

Mowing – After laying sod, you must mow Tall fescue after 12-14 days. Mow this grass once a week during the warm season. For best practice, do not exceed 2 to 2.5 inches high when mowing.  

Watering – water Tall fescue frequently during the first 14-21 days after installation. Frequent watering during this early stage helps maintain the needed moisture in the topsoil. During the warm season, water your grass 3-5 times a week, but once or twice a week during the cold season. 

If you live in coastal cities, you may need to reduce the amount and the frequency of water, but it increases if you live inland. For areas with sandy soil, you should water your grass more frequently. 

Sloppy grounds, too, may warrant frequent watering because of surface runoff. 

Fertilizing – an all-purpose fertilizer will give you the best results when growing the best grass for central California. Give your grass 4-8 weeks intervals before applying fertilizer during the warm season. Watch out for the color of your grass.

If Tall fescue turns light green, it is an indicator that you need to apply fertilizer.

Controlling weeds – watering, regular mowing, and fertilizing are some of the best practices to keep weeds away from grass. But if weeds have invaded your lawn, using pre- and post-emergent commercial herbicides can help.

NB. You must wait until your grass is at least 4 weeks after installation to apply any herbicide. 

Related: St Augustine Grass Diseases


Best Grass for Northern California

Bluegrass got its name from its unique emerald to blue-green color. Different varieties of Bluegrass, including Four-Way Bluegrass and Kentucky Bluegrass, exist in northern California. 

You will likely love Bluegrass because it is the best grass for California and grows well in sunny and shady areas.

Although you will find Bluegrass in residential properties, the grass does better in commercial properties, sports fields, play areas for children and adults, and parks.

How to Maintain Bluegrass

By no means is Bluegrass no exception. Like any other turfgrass, you need to maintain it to have a lush lawn.

Mowing – mow Bluegrass 12-14 days after installation and at least once or twice weekly during the warm season. When mowing, maintain a height of 1 ½ – 2.5 inches to encourage proper growth. 

Watering – water Bluegrass frequently during the first 14-20 days. Doing this ensures enough moisture in the topsoil, necessitating grass growth. Afterward, water your grass 3-5 times weekly during the warm season but reduce watering to the utmost twice a week during the cold season. 

You need to water your grass more frequently for sandy soil because the soil drains a lot of water. 

Fertilizing – apply nitrogen-rich fertilizer when the grass is 4-6 weeks after installation. Generally, the ideal amount of fertilizer per 1,000 square feet is 1 pound. It would be best if you also were on the lookout for any signs that your grass needs additional fertilizer or lime application

Weeding – try as you may, weeds will always find their way to your lawn. If you don’t remove weeds, they will eat up your grass quickly. The best and first way to deal with weeds is to water, mow, and fertilize your grass appropriately. 

However, if weeds overwhelm your grass, you can apply pre-and post-emergent herbicides. 

Also read: Grass Turning Brown Despite Watering

Bermuda Grass

Best Grass for Northern California

Bermudagrass is, so far, the best grass seed for northern California for a reason. The grass grows superfast, quickly recovers from dog urine and other damage, and is readily available. This dark blue-green turf is among the best disease-resistant grasses. It also can withstand drought conditions.

How to Maintain Bermudagrass

Proper maintenance is crucial for turfgrasses to ensure no weeds and pests invade your lawn.

Mowing – unlike the two types of turf we have covered, you need to mow Bermuda grass a week after installing. Mow the grass once weekly during the warm season. No matter the season, do not mow Bermudagrass more than two inches high. The ideal mowing height is 3/8” – 2”. 

Watering – water Bermudagrass frequently during the first 2 – 3 weeks to keep the topsoil moist, which is crucial for the grass at this early age. Afterward, water the grass 2-4 times weekly during the warm season but reduce watering to the utmost twice a week in colder weather.

Water your Bermuda grass frequently if the soil in your yard is sandy. If you live in central California, you may also water your turf more often than those in coastal cities. 

Growing Bermudagrass in sloppy areas that experience surface runoff may also require frequent watering to keep the grass healthier.

Fertilizing – any best grass for northern California needs proper fertilization, and bermudagrass is no exception. Feeding your Bermuda grass with nitrogen-rich fertilizer 4-8 weeks apart will make your grass grow healthy.

Weeding – are there weeds on your Bermudagrass? Maintaining a proper mowing schedule, ideal watering, and fertilizing grass as required will keep the weeds away. You can also use pre-and post-emergent herbicides if there are too many weeds on the grass.

Dealing with diseases – although being the best drought-tolerant grass for northern California, Bermudagrass is not immune to diseases. The turf resists common lawn diseases, so you do not overly worry. 

Brown spots are the first indicator a disease has attacked your Bermudagrass. At first, you may need to adjust your watering frequency, but if the brown spots persist, find out from a garden center near you to ascertain the problem and the correct remedy. 

Also read: What Happens if You Use Too Much Peat Moss on Grass Seed?


Best Grass for Northern California

Ryegrass has the best grass seed for northern California. The grass has different varieties, but Perennial Ryegrass is the most common. This cool-season grass grows fast and blends well with turfs such as Fescue and Bluegrass.

Unlike other northern California-friendly grasses, Ryegrass is commonly used in residential and commercial properties and sports fields. 

How to Maintain Ryegrass

Like any other turf, maintenance is critical, whether you grow Ryegrass on your private residence, in a commercial premise, or at sports fields. So, which is the correct maintenance pattern for Ryegrass?

Mowing – you should mow Ryegrass between 12 and 14 days old. Mow it once a week; the climate is warm, and once every two weeks during cold weather. 

To encourage strong root development and healthy growth, mow your grass 1 ½ – 2 inches high. 

Watering – water your grass frequently during the first 2-3 weeks to ensure the topsoil is moist. Afterward, water your grass twice or thrice a week during the warm season but reduce the frequency to once or twice during the cold weather.

If you grow your grass in sandy soil, you need to increase watering frequency because the soil has poor water retention compared to clay soil. Do the same if your grass grows on steep or sloppy ground. 

Fertilizing Ryegrass – use an all-purpose, slow-release fertilizer on Ryegrass, giving it 4-8 weeks before the second application. Although fertilizer is suitable for grass, you must supplement it with peat moss

You can also consider mulching to retain the needed moisture in the soil.

Weeding & disease control – the best way to control weeds on your grass is by maintaining unwavering mowing, watering, and fertilizing routine. Ensuring the ground is moisturized using the proper mulching matter is also crucial. 

You can use herbicides on your grass, but you must be cautious, for overdoing it will kill the grass. Ryegrass is resistant to most grass diseases; thus, you shouldn’t overly worry. However, if need be, you can get the proper grass treatment for your grass from lawn care near me or a lawn care service near me. 

Native Bentgrass

Best Grass for Northern California

Unlike its cool-season counterparts, Native Bentgrass is slow-growing, drought-resistant turf. Native Bentgrass is the best drought-tolerant grass for northern California that adapts well to the region’s versatile climate. 

How to Maintain Native Bentgrass

To get the best of Native Bentgrass, establish and follow a proper maintenance plan. 

Mowing – mow Native Bentgrass when it is 12-14 days. You can plan to cut it once per week during the warm season and once after 10-12 days during cold weather. When mowing, maintain a height of 1 ½ – 2 inches.

Watering – water Native bentgrass as frequently as possible to keep the topsoil moist when the grass is 2-3 weeks old. During the warm season, you can water your grass 2-3 times a week, but reduce watering to the utmost twice a week during the cold season. 

Fertilizing – Native Bentgrass needs fertilizer to thrive. Apply a nitrogen slow-release fertilizer 30 days after its installation. There is no harm in applying an all-purpose fertilizer, for it has the required nutrients (NPK) the grass needs.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What is the most popular grass in Northern California?

A: The most popular grass in Northern California is Tall Fescue.

Q: What type of grass grows best in California?

A:  The grass that grows best in California is Fescue because it is drought-tolerant and absorbs water well.

Q: How do I reseed my lawn in Northern California?

A: Depending on the density of the lawn, apply 12-18 pounds of grass seed per 1,000 square feet.

Q: When should I fertilize my lawn in Northern California?

A: Generally, you need to fertilize your lawn twice a year when the grass has started to take root 

Final Words

If you were looking for the best grass for northern California, this blog has given you more than you needed. Apart from pointing out the five grass varieties that do well in California, namely Bermuda grass, Tall Fescue, Bluegrass, Native Bentgrass, and Ryegrass, this writeup has shown you how to maintain each of them.

You can now choose the best grass for northern California that will give your yard the look you need. So far, Tall Fescue stands out, but it is not the only one. The rest are also good options.