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Best winter(cool season) lawn grasses in USA

As we are moving towards the upcoming winters in the USA, it becomes difficult for lawn lovers to choose the best lawn grass in winter for their lawns. Many people try to grow the same warm or hot season lawn grasses on their lawns and become upset when they get very bad results. 

There are some very good native and foreign lawn grasses that perform well in winter and cold season(from 10 degrees Celcius to 25 degrees Celcius in summer) in the USA. 

Here, we discussed their features and performance in lawns in cool seasons. 

Best cool season(winter) lawn grasses in USA

Let's understand all the features and performances of some best cold climate winter grasses- 
Winter and cool season lawn grasses in USA

1. Bluegrass for lawn 

Most of the researchers consider Kentucky bluegrass as a native North American grass of the southern Appalachian Mountains.

Bluegrass is cool-season lawn grass that doesn't get dormant in normal winter conditions. It is easy to maintain in winter too. But like other cool-season lawn grasses, Kentucky bluegrass can't survive in freezing conditions. Although it needs extra care in hot summer still, its overall performance in lawns is very good. 

Identification of Kentucky Bluegrass

  • Leaves- Narrow and boat-shaped 
  • Color- Blue-green
  • Nature- Invading and fast-spreading
  • Max. height and length- 8 to 12 inches

Dormant conditions

In extreme heat conditions(over 32 degrees Celcius in summer)

Maintenance cost- $250 to $300(annual)

Mowing required 

Regular mowing(every 12 days during the growing period) and no mowing in dormancy


Regular irrigation(1.5 to 2 inches) in summer(>30 degrees Celcius) and least irrigation in the dormant period


Regular fertilization(every month in growing stages) and no fertilization in dormancy

2. Bentgrass for lawn

A foreign grass, Creeping bentgrass originated in Northern Africa and some parts of Eurasia. 

People in the USA. don't want to consider it as lawn grass Because of its aggressive and invading nature, but it is very good winter grass for lawns if you use its pure seeds in lawns. In cool climate conditions, where most of the lawn grasses get failed, Bentgrass performs well. 

Identification of Creeping Bentgrass

Following are the basic identity factors of Bentgrass that you can easily identify

  • Leaves- Sharp and pointed towards the end and fold towards the lower surface
  • Color- Light green
  • Nature- Invading and quick spreading
  • Max. height and length- 6 to 8 inches

Dormant conditions

In hot summer of 2 consecutive weeks(above 30 degrees Celcius)

Maintenance cost- $300 to $400(annual)

Mowing required

Regular mowing(while growing stages), 2 inches height of mowing, and no mowing in dormancy


2 inches irrigation in growing stages regularly and least irrigation in the dormant period


No fertilization in dormant conditions and for the growing period make it regular(every 20 days) with organic fertilizers.

3. Tall fescue for lawn

Tall fescue is a foreign grass that is found in Europe, Africa, and some parts of Asia. In the USA, tall fescue performs well in cold regions. It is one of the best cool season lawn grass and is popular among all the winter grass. If you use pure tall fescue seeds, then you will get the least mortality rate from them.

Even in very low temperatures, tall fescue gets semi-dormant but throughout the year, it maintains its color from medium to dark green. 

Identification of Tall Fescue

  • Leaves- Broad leaves with line texture 
  • Color- Medium to dark green
  • Nature- Less invading but spreading fast
  • Max. height and length- 5 to 8 inches 

Dormant conditions

In lower temperatures(>8 degrees Celcius or freezing temperature)

Maintenance cost- $300 to $350(annual)

Mowing required

Every 7 days(growing period) and no mowing in the dormant period. Maintain mowing height 2 inches to 2.5. inches 


Regular in summer(2 inches) and 0.8 to 1.2 inches in winter


No fertilization in dormancy and regular fertilization(every month in the growing period)

4. Ryegrass for lawns

From Southern Africa, and Europe to Asia, Ryegrass found most of the places in the world.

In the USA, the Ryegrass mortality rate is very low and performs very well in cold climate conditions of USA. With high resistivity of diseases and insects, Ryegrass maintenance cost is very low.   

Identification of Ryegrass

  • Leaves- Folded leaves in buds with a fine texture on it
  • Color- Green 
  • Nature- Moderate spreading
  • Max. height and length- 7 to 10 inches

Dormant conditions

Ryegrass gets dormant if it gets very low(<10 degrees Celcius) in winter(or freezing temperature) or hot(>30 degrees Celcius). During this period, it is not suitable to fertilize or mow your lawn grass anyway. 

Annual maintenance cost- $250 to $300


Every 10 days(2.5 inches) while full growth


Regular(up to 1.5 inches) irrigation in summer and 1 inch in winter


Not in dormancy period and regular(in every 25 days of the growing period)

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