Choosing which grass to grow can be challenging, as it can often be a significant investment and time-consuming to start and maintain your grass. If you have narrowed down your options between Kentucky Bluegrass (Poa pratensis) and St. Augustine (Stenotaphrum secundatum), you are likely wondering which one will last longer.
Kentucky Bluegrass is a perennial, cool season grass and St. Augustine is a warm season grass that can live over 15 years, but both can last longer with the right care and environment.
You can make either type of grass last longer by choosing the appropriate grass type for your zone, considering the intended use for your grass and giving it proper care.
Kentucky Bluegrass vs. St. Augustine: Which Grass is Best?
St. Augustine is undoubtedly the better choice for your climate if you live in Southern climates, such as Florida or Texas. It is much more tolerant to warm temperatures and will be significantly easier to maintain.
On the other hand, if you live in Northern climates and expect a lot of traffic on your lawn, Kentucky Bluegrass is much more versatile, as long as you are mindful of temperature and heat stress during the summer.
Grass generally has a reputation for being very thirsty, but if you do not have the time or budget to water your Kentucky Bluegrass frequently during the summer, it may not be the correct choice for you.
|Wide, course blades
|Life span in ideal conditions
|15+ years under optimal care
|Perennial Grass (returns year after year)
|Very shade tolerant
|Full sun or partial shade
|Typical Water Requirements
|1-2 inches (2.5-5 cm) per week
|2 inches (5 cm) per week
|Will turn brown after frost, or cold conditions
|Will turn brown in excessive heat conditions
How Long Does St. Augustine Grass Last?
How long St. Augustine grass lasts will depend on your climate and care. St Augustine turns brown and goes dormant after the first frost, so if you are looking for grass that will last into the colder months, St. Augustine may not be the best choice. However, your St. Augustine grass can live over 15 years with proper care.
Is St. Augustine Grass Durable?
St. Augustine is durable in higher temperature environments, as they will go dormant during the winter. They are highly susceptible to cold damage and will turn brown when temperatures drop. You can remedy this by giving your St. Augustine grass a fertilizer lower in nitrogen to help the grass develop a strong and healthy root system. This will significantly increase its chance of surviving over winter.
St. Augustine is also not very durable in high-traffic areas. It can tolerate typical home use, but it will not handle excessive traffic. You shouldn’t use St. Augustine if you cover a sports field, a busy park, or any other areas with high foot or vehicle traffic, as it will not be very resilient to physical damage. St. Augustine does best as an ornamental lawn grass for home use in southern zones.
When mowing St. Augustine, it prefers to stay around 3 to 4 inches (7.6 to 10 cm) for durability. If you choose to have a shorter lawn, you can opt for some of the dwarf varieties instead.
Is St. Augustine the Best Grass?
Between St. Augustine and Kentucky Bluegrass, it comes down to your location. St. Augustine is much more likely to last if you are in zones 8 and 10, with a preference closer to zones 9 and 10. It also depends on the desired use of the grass. St. Augustine will not do well on a sports field, for example, but it will on a decorative lawn.
How Often to Water St. Augustine Grass in the Summer?
The frequency you water your grass will vary from week to week, depending on temperature or rainfall. St. Augustine grass prefers moist soil, particularly in the summer months.
A good way to tell if your St. Augustine needs water is that it will change color to a more blue-green than solid green. Another way to know if it is time to water your St. Augustine grass is to step on it. If the blades do not immediately bounce back up, then it is time to give your grass a drink.
When watering St. Augustine, ensure you are thorough and water the soil up to 4 inches deep. This will ensure that your St. Augustine grass develops a healthy root system that runs deep under the soil. As a result, your grass will be much hardier and more resilient to adverse conditions.
What Are The Pros and Cons of Kentucky Bluegrass?
Pros of Kentucky Bluegrass
The biggest pro for Kentucky Bluegrass is that it is compatible with northern lawns. It’s a very hardy grass to maintain over the winter months, and it tends to grow the most during the spring and fall. Kentucky Bluegrass prefers moderate warm summer temperatures paired with cold winters. However, it can still survive in hot summer months if you give it plenty of irrigation.
Cons of Kentucky Bluegrass
Kentucky Bluegrass isn’t very shade-tolerant grass and is susceptible to stress damage, particularly during heat and drought conditions. Kentucky Bluegrass can survive in warmer temperatures as long as it is watered frequently.
If you aren’t careful and miss a watering, you may notice your Kentucky Bluegrass turn brown and go dormant in the summer. It can also take a bit of time for Kentucky Bluegrass to mature, so it will take a lot of time and patience to get started.
How Long Does Kentucky Bluegrass Live?
Kentucky Bluegrass is a cool-season grass, which means that it can withstand colder winter months. How long your Kentucky Bluegrass lives depends on your climate and care. Kentucky Bluegrass is sensitive to drought and extreme heat, so it may turn brown if you don’t give it plenty of water to compensate. The stress will correlate with how long your Kentucky Bluegrass will live.
Is Kentucky Bluegrass Hard to Maintain?
Whether you find Kentucky Bluegrass hard to maintain will depend greatly on your location and climate. Most northern zones have no problem supporting Kentucky Bluegrass as it is very hardy to colder temperatures. However, in the summer, you may need to give your grass extra care if your location is prone to extreme heat waves or dry conditions.
Is Kentucky Bluegrass Durable?
Kentucky Bluegrass is a hardy, cool-season grass, but some varieties are more sensitive to extreme heat temperatures or drought. Kentucky Bluegrass is most durable if you live in zones 3 to 9. However, if you keep Kentucky Bluegrass in zones 8 or 9, you may have to be cautious about the hotter summer months and give your grass a bit more attention.
Kentucky Bluegrass is a very durable grass for high-traffic areas. In addition, it has the capacity to self-repair so that it will fill in any damaged locations. This would make it an excellent choice for a busier area, sports field, or park. In addition, Kentucky Bluegrass will still do great on a traditional home lawn.
Kentucky Bluegrass can be mowed lower and remain durable. It can tolerate a half inch at its lowest, but it looks best around 2 inches (5 cm).
How Often Should I Water Kentucky Bluegrass in the Summer?
If your climate experiences hot summers, you must keep an eye on your Kentucky Bluegrass to ensure it stays hydrated. Generally, you will want to water your Kentucky Bluegrass 2 inches (5 cm) each week, but the frequency will vary based on the amount of rainfall and the extent of the heat. In addition, it has a shallow root system, so it needs more water in the summer months.
If you notice some brown patches on your Kentucky Bluegrass due to heat extremes, Kentucky Bluegrass can self-repair. It spreads quickly, so it can fill in that area with new, healthy grass to replace the dead patches.
Is Kentucky Bluegrass the Best Grass?
Whether Kentucky Bluegrass is the best grass for your location will depend on your climate. It is much more versatile than the St. Augustine grass regarding usage and the ability to last longer throughout the year. However, you may find the extra watering and attention during the warm summer months unsuitable for your lifestyle.
When choosing a type of grass that will have plenty of longevity in your space, choosing between Kentucky Bluegrass and St. Augustine will depend on your climate and the intended use for your grass. Kentucky Bluegrass does best in hardiness zones 3-9 and St. Augustine does best in zones 8-10.
Kentucky Bluegrass is a perennial, cool season grass that can withstand cold temperatures and St. Augustine is a warm season grass that can live over 15 years. Kentucky Bluegrass is best suited for a sports field or park with heavy foot traffic and St. Augustine is best suited for a decorative lawn.