Kentucky Grass Types

Looking for the optimal grass varieties for lawns in Kentucky? Below is a comparison table and accompanying data that will give you information about what grasses are best suited for Kentucky and its inner counties.

Note: Cold, heat, drought, and saturation tolerance are measured on a score of 0-5 with 0 being the least tolerant and 5 being the most.

Tall Fescue

Most suitable grass (on average)

Zoysia Grass

2nd most suitable (on average)

Kentucky Bluegrass

Optimal for hotter areas

Buffalo Grass

Optimal for colder areas

Annual Ryegrass

Best suited for shaded areas

Centipede Grass

Ideal for drought-prone areas

Kikuyu Grass

Great for areas with heavy rainfall

Bahia Grass

Perfect for sunny areas

Lawn Visual
Seasonal Type Cool Warm Cool Warm Cool Warm Warm Warm
Cold Tolerance 4.0 2.5 4.0 3.5 4.0 1.0 1.5 1.5
Heat Tolerance 3.5 4.0 2.5 4.0 2.0 4.5 4.5 4.5
Drought Tolerance 3.5 3.5 3.0 5.0 2.5 4.0 4.5 5.0
Saturation Tolerance 3.0 2.0 3.0 2.0 4.0 4.0 2.5 3.5
USDA Zone(s) 5-8 6-13 1-7 5-9 1-7 7-13 6-13 4-13
Sun Exposure Mostly Sun, Deep Shade Full Sun, Partial Shade Mostly Sun, Partial Shade Full Sun, Deep Shade Mostly Sun, Deep Shade Full Sun, Light Shade Full Sun, Light Shade Full Sun, Light Shade
Traffic
Resistance/Recovery
Moderate, Moderate Moderate, Moderate Moderate, Moderate Low, Slow Moderate, Rapid Low, Slow High, Moderate Moderate, Moderate
Watering
Duration/Amount
Weekly, 1-1.5 inches Weekly, 1 inch Weekly, 1-1.5 inches Bi-weekly, 0.5 inches Weekly, 1-1.5 inches Weekly, 1 inch Weekly, 1-1.25 inches Bi-weekly, 0.5-0.75 inches
Mowing
Duration/Height
Every 5-7 days, 2-3.5 inches Every 7-10 days, 0.5-1.5 inches Every 5-7 days, 2.5-3.5 inches Every 10-14 days, 2-3 inches Every 5-7 days, 1.5-2.5 inches Every 10-14 days, 1-2 inches Every 7 days, 1-1.5 inches Every 7-14 days, 2.5-4 inches
Soil Adaptable
pH: 5.5-7.5
Well-drained, Loamy
pH: 6.0-7.0
Well-drained, Loamy
pH: 6.0-7.0
Well-drained, Loamy to Sandy
pH: 6.0-7.5
Adaptable
pH: 5.5-7.5
Sandy, Acidic
pH: 4.5-6.0
Well-drained
pH: 5.5-7.0
Acidic, Sandy
pH: 5.5-6.5
Texture Coarse Fine to Medium Fine to Medium Fine Fine Medium Medium to Coarse Coarse
Color Dark Green Light Green Rich Green Blue-Green Bright Green Light Green Dark Green Light Green

Kentucky Zones

The interactive map below shows the USDA plant hardiness zones specific to Kentucky. Each zone in the map represents a certain temperature range that is critical for plant survival and growth, divided based on the average annual minimum winter temperature. Click on the map to see the optimial grass types for each county.

Zone No. 6 7
Map Color
Lowest Avg. Winter Temperature -10° to 0°F 0° to 10°F

The chart and table below shows the average monthly precipitation and minimum/maximum temperatures in Kentucky over the last 5 years.

Month Min Temp (°F) Max Temp (°F) Prep (in)
Jan25.64 °F43.22 °F4.22"
Feb29.76 °F49.16 °F7.15"
Mar36.4 °F58.82 °F5.18"
Apr41.9 °F66.2 °F4.36"
May55.22 °F77.74 °F4.66"
Jun62.4 °F84.56 °F5.43"
Jul67.02 °F87.66 °F5.79"
Aug65.54 °F85.74 °F4.65"
Sep59.38 °F81.92 °F3.68"
Oct47.02 °F70.56 °F3.96"
Nov33.3 °F56 °F3.46"
Dec31.48 °F50.64 °F4.63"

The chart below shows the optimal months for seeding or sodding new grass in Kentucky. Suitability for each month is based on the average monthly temperature in Kentucky.

May, June and September are the most optimal months for planting cool-season grasses in Kentucky.

June and July are the most optimal months for planting warm-season grasses in Kentucky.

Grass Types by County in Kentucky

Below is a list of counties in Kentucky. Click on any county to get a more detailed analysis.

Data source and citation

Raw data for the grass characteristics was sourced from the USDA's PLANTS Database.

Data for climate zones in Kentucky was gathered from the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map as well as GIS datasets from the Oregon State University PRISM Climate Group.

Average monthly temperatures and precipitation data for Kentucky was sourced from the NOAA National Centers for Environmental information.

Please use the citation tool below to reference any information found on this page.

  • "Kentucky Grass Types". LawnVariety.com. Accessed on July 20, 2024. https://lawnvariety.com/kentucky.

  • "Kentucky Grass Types". LawnVariety.com, https://lawnvariety.com/kentucky. Accessed July 20, 2024

  • Kentucky Grass Types. LawnVariety.com. Retrieved from https://lawnvariety.com/kentucky.