The state of North Carolina is commonly called a “transition zone” in terms of what grasses will best flourish here. North of us, cool season grasses which cannot survive high temperatures predominate. South of us, warm season grasses which cannot survive harsh winters are preferred. Here, we can experience both extremes of weather, so people wonder which grass variety is most likely to do best on their property.

Below are the most common grasses and how they may do in the Raleigh Durham area.

Grass Types

Warm season grasses

Bermuda - Bermuda grass is a very versatile grass. It can handle foot traffic well and grows quickly.

Centipede - Centipede grass is popular in coastal areas because it adapts to salt and sand better than others. The laid back beach culture is also well suited to it because it takes little upkeep.

St. Augustine - This grass type is a bit more sensitive. In drier areas of the state, it would not fare as well and will not do well on a high traffic property.

Zoysia - Zoysia is an import from Asia that stands up well in coastal and dry regions with lots of sun.

Cool season grasses

Fescue - There are a number of types of fescue. Tall fescue, tall turf-type fescue and fine fescue are especially popular. Despite being cool season grasses, fescues do very well in transition zones because they are more tolerant of high temperatures than other cool season grasses.

Kentucky Bluegrass - This is not just a music style but also a real type of grass, which isn’t blue. Also known as common meadow grass, this variety does well in cool, moist areas of the country.

Ryegrass - Very popular with farmers as a grazing grass and for erosion control, ryegrass, not to be confused with the similarly-named grain, is the most popular cool season grass.

Piedmont Region of North Carolina

Raleigh, Durham and the rest of the Triangle area is part of the wider Piedmont region of North Carolina. This includes the area between the mountains and the coastal plain, containing Charlotte, the Triad and the Triangle.

While cool season grasses do better in the mountains, and warm season grasses on the coastal plain, the Piedmont area can support both. When choosing among the ones mentioned above though, consider the moisture level, shade, foot traffic and style preferences.