The Best Grasses to Plant in Canada

Part of the Gardening Basics For Canadians For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Growing and maintaining a lush green lawn in Canada can be a challenge. It starts with choosing the best type of grass. The best types of grasses to grow in Canada are cool-season grasses because our summers are short and our winters are cold – and usually snowy. Cool-season grasses grow actively in spring and fall, slow down in summer, and go dormant in the winter. They do best at temperatures between 16°C and 27°C (60°F and 80°F) and can survive freezing winter temperatures. The following cool-season grasses thrive in Canada’s cooler climate.

Cool-Season, Northern Grasses
Type of Grass Appearance Ideal Mow-to Height Description and Care
Kentucky bluegrass Fine to medium texture
Canoe-shaped
Dark blue-green
6 to 8 cm Hardy but not drought-tolerant so water generously
Disease resistant
Needs more fertilizer
Shallow roots make it a good showpiece lawn but unsuitable for heavy foot traffic
Fescues, fine and tall Fine texture
Bristle-leaved
Medium green
6 to 8 cm Water deeply and infrequently (do not soak or make soggy)
Shade-tolerant
Tolerates foot traffic very well
Can perform well in poor soil
Is often mixed with other grasses
Bent grass Fine texture
Blades begin to bends at a couple of centimeters tall (hence the name)
3 to 4 cm Needs generous watering (weekly during the height of the growing season)
Cut regularly to avoid stems from forming thick mats and thatching
Popular for golf and tennis courses
Use a mower with very sharp blades
Perennial ryegrass Fine texture
Glossy
Dark green
6 to 8 cm Has shallow roots, likes consistent water
Disease resistant
Tolerates foot traffic well
Nice in full sun or shade (but not reliably hardy)
Germinates and grows quickly and is often used in blends
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Gardening Basics For Canadians For Dummies Cheat Sheet

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