Turfgrass Cultivars for Utah
Kelly Kopp, Extension Turfgrass Specialist
Paul Johnson, Turfgrass Management and Genetics
Revised July, 2012
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.
Medium-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.
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 Building F-9, Freeport Center P.O. Box 160502 Clearfield, UT 84016 (801) 774-0525
*These lists are not completely inclusive and should only be used as a guide.