Turfgrass Cultivars for Utah

Turfgrass

For many purposes, the turfgrass seed that may be purchased from a reputable garden center or nursery will usually fit the needs for most Utah lawns. When making such a purchase, look for a quality mixture of named turfgrass varieties avoiding those seed mixtures that contain annual ryegrass, ‘K-31’ or ‘Kentucky 31’ tall fescue, or ‘Linn’ perennial ryegrass. If you are interested in specific cultivars of turfgrasses, these guidelines will help you in making your choices. 

There are many cultivars of turfgrasses available each year and this large number can make your choice difficult. This guide is designed to help you
decide which cultivars to use from those that have performed well in tests in Utah and are commercially available. When choosing a turfgrass, consider the environmental aspects of where you plan to establish the turf and the cultural techniques that you will use to manage the grass. Then choose the appropriate grass for your situation.

You may consult your local phone directory to find suppliers of grass seed and sod. Remember that availability is sometimes a problem and you may not be able to find your first choices very easily. Packaged seed mixtures should list the species and cultivars that they contain. If you are unable to find pre-packaged seed for the cultivars you desire, you may choose to contact the suppliers listed at the end of this document. 

Kentucky Bluegrass is best suited to lawns that will have a lot of traffic and full sun to partial shade. Kentucky bluegrass recovers well from frequent use.

  • Med.-High Input Cultivars (4 lb N/1000 sq ft, mowed at 0.5-2.5″, irrigated)
    • Midnight, Midnight II, Everest, Bluestone, Impact, Perfection
  • Low Input Cultivars (2 lb N/1000 sq ft, mowed at 3.0-3.5″, minimal to no irrigation)
    • Baron, EverGlade, Award, Bedazzled, Total Eclipse

Tall Fescue is a good general purpose turfgrass for Utah. It often has greater heat tolerance and can tolerate more shade than Kentucky bluegrass. It may also get by on somewhat less irrigation due to its deep rooting. While older varieties were coarse in texture, most tall fescue varieties approach the look of Kentucky bluegrass.

  • Coronado Gold, Blade Runner, Inferno, Matador GT, Cayenne, Silverstar

Fine-Leaf Fescue is ideal for shady areas and has slower growth and low fertilizer needs. Most are drought tolerant.

  • Marco Polo, Bighorn, Little Bighorn, Audubon, Inverness, Florentine, Garnet, Dawson, Aruba, Tiffany, Windward, J5

Perennial Ryegrass is relatively high maintenance, but can provide the most formal appearance of the turfgrasses. It is often mixed with Kentucky bluegrass for quick establishment, diversity, and color.

  • Amazing GS, Calypso II, Caddieshack II, Paragon GLR, Uno 

Special Use Turfgrasses

Buffalograsses are native to the Great Plains region and require much less water to remain green during summer. They make a high quality turf and are soft during the summer growing season. However, because they are warm-season grasses, buffalograss is dormant (brown) in early spring and much of the fall season.

  • Texoka, Cody, Bison, Sharps Improved, Legacy (vegetative), Bowie (seed) SWI 2000

Wheatgrasses are most appropriate in areas where you cannot or do not plan to irrigate. They green up early in the spring but survive dry summers by going dormant.

  • RoadCrest, Fairway, Ephraim 

The National Turfgrass Evaluation Program (NTEP), sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture and the National Turfgrass Federation, Inc., coordinates and develops evaluation trials of promising new turfgrass varieties. We are privileged here in Utah to participate in the NTEP program and to have local data regarding new turfgrass varieties. The NTEP is an ongoing program that continually coordinates evaluation trials for new turfgrass cultivars. Because new turfgrass cultivars are being developed all the time, these recommendations may change as new results become available and this publication will be updated. You may also choose to access the NTEP directly on the world wide web at www.ntep.org.

Turfgrass Seed Suppliers*

Granite Seed
1697 West 2100 North
Lehi, UT 84043
(801) 768-4422

Great Basin Turf Products
1815 West Gentile Street
Layton, UT 84041
(801) 546-1147

Mountain Valley Seeds
1800 South West Temple, #600
Salt Lake City, UT 84115
(801) 486-0480

Oasis Seed Cooperative
2730 West 4000 South
Oasis, UT 84650
(435) 864-3614

Steve Regan Company
4215 South 500 West
Murray, UT 84123
(801) 268-4500

Utah Seed
10190 West 11600 North
Tremonton, UT 84337
435-854-3720

*These lists are not completely inclusive and should only be used as a guide. 

Authors

Kelly Kopp and Paul Johnson, Plants, Soils and Climate Department, Utah State University

Kelly Kopp

Kelly Kopp

Professor | Water Conservation and Turfgrass Specialist | CWEL Director

Plants, Soils and Climate

Phone: (435) 797-1523
Office Location: AGRS 334, USU Logan Campus

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson

Professor | Department Head

Plants, Soils and Climate

Phone: 435-797-7039
Office Location: AGRS 344, USU Logan Campus

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