What Type of Grass Is Best for Heavy Traffic?

Growing grass that is tough enough to stand up to heavy traffic from kids and pets is all about selecting the right type. Here is a list of the five best kinds of grass for your high-traffic lawn.

  1. Tall fescue
  2. Perennial ryegrass
  3. Kentucky bluegrass
  4. Bermuda
  5. Zoysia

Whereabouts in the country you live, whether or not you own pets, and how much sunlight, shade, and rainfall your lawn gets are all factors to take into consideration when choosing grass seed.

This article is going to take an in-depth look at each grass type that’ll ensure you get a strong, healthy lawn.

5 Best Types of Grass for High Foot Traffic

1. Tall Fescue

This is a favorite breed for owners that intend to use their lawns for parties and games. Tall fescues grow deep roots, which helps them to recover quickly and cope with adverse weather conditions.

The tall fescue is strong but coarse and offers a mix of medium to dark green blades of grass when healthy. The tall fescue enjoys cool northern climates, though it is resistant to drought and rapid temperature changes.

  • Classification: Cool-weather grass
  • Growth Habit: Bunch-type
  • Shade Tolerance: Medium
  • Drought Tolerance: Medium
  • Foot Traffic Tolerance: Medium to high
  • Maintenance: Low-nutrient needs; suitable for dry soil
  • Mowing: Weekly trim to between 1.5 – 3 inches
  • Resistance to Disease: High for both insects and fungus
  • Note: Green in the summer; low thatch production; slow to recover from damage

2. Perennial Ryegrass

Perennial ryegrass is an excellent choice if your lawn suffers from patches and thinning. This grass grows well with Kentucky bluegrass in the northern hemisphere, where the weather is cooler. Apart from preferring cool weather, this grass is low-maintenance and perfect for regular family use.

Perennial ryegrass produces tough blades of grass and a robust root system, allowing it to flourish in dry and low-nutrient soils. The ryegrass is popular on golf courses due to it being hardy and resistant to down-treading.

  • Classification: Cool-weather grass
  • Growth Habit: Bunch-type
  • Shade Tolerance: Low
  • Drought Tolerance: High; will go dormant in droughts but bounce back with watering
  • Foot Traffic Tolerance: High
  • Maintenance: Low
  • Mowing: Between 1 – 2 inches
  • Resistance to Disease: high; insect and disease resistant, except Grey Leaf Spot disease
  • Note: Produces minimal thatch. Also, consider the heavy traffic grass seed-black beauty, which is a combination of tall fescue and perennial ryegrass

3. Kentucky Bluegrass

Though more delicate than the fescue, the Kentucky bluegrass produces more attractive thick green blades. This low-maintenance grass is resistant to heavy foot traffic and poor soil, but it prefers shade and lower temperatures.

Kentucky bluegrass is what most people think of when they picture a perfect lawn. In fact, many professional photographers prefer to have the bluegrass variety in the background of shots. Colors range from light to blue-green, and the color should persist year-round.

  • Classification: Cool-weather grass
  • Growth Habit: Rhizomes
  • Shade Tolerance: Medium; less than four hours a day of sunlight
  • Drought Tolerance: Medium; droughts put the grass into dormancy
  • Foot Traffic Tolerance: High
  • Maintenance: Low; but will grow slower in low nutrient soils
  • Mowing: Keep between 2 – 3 inches
  • Resistance to Disease: Medium to high
  • Note: Better growth and color after an annual de-thatching. Also consider the high traffic grass seed, Scotts, which is a combination of bluegrass and ryegrass

4. Bermuda Grass

Bermuda grass is another popular variety used on golf grounds and sports pitches. This is a tough grass that copes well with heavy foot traffic, and its deep roots help it grow fast and recover quickly from droughts.

Colors vary from blue to gray to dark green depending on the soil and weather conditions. The best climate conditions are in the warmer southern regions, as it will go into dormancy in the winter. Bermuda grass is also called Scutch grass (Cynodon dactylon).

  • Classification: Warm weather grass
  • Growth Habit: Stolons and rhizomes
  • Shade Tolerance: Low; Preference for direct sunlight
  • Drought Tolerance: Low; droughts lead to dormant states
  • Foot Traffic Tolerance: High, though less tolerance in the cooler seasons
  • Maintenance: Medium to high; Hybrids breeds need more attention; fertilize monthly in the summer
  • Mowing: Keep between 1.5 – 2.5 inches; mow weekly
  • Resistance to Disease: Low, though prone to winter weed attacks
  • Note: Low pollen producer; can build up thatch; invasive

5. Zoysia Grass

Though zoysia prefers warmer climates, this thick and dense grass is robust and copes well with heavy foot traffic. The zoysia will grow in most soil types and produces light to medium-green blades during the spring and summer.

This is a high-maintenance grass that needs weekly mowing and watering to prevent dormancy during droughts. The zoysia is also more prone to disease and insect infestations than some other breeds.

  • Classification: Warm weather grass
  • Growth Habit: Stolons and rhizomes
  • Shade Tolerance: Medium, prefers indirect sunlight
  • Drought Tolerance: Low; needs lots of water to prevent dormancy in the summer
  • Foot Traffic Tolerance: High
  • Maintenance: Low; mow weekly to between 2.0 – 2.5 inches
  • Resistance to Disease: High, except for Large Patch disease; susceptible to insects
  • Note: The roots will need annual aeration and the grass thatch clearing

Best High-Traffic Grass for Dog Owners

Dogs love to roughhouse on grass, so if you have more than one dog, you will want a breed of grass that can spring back from the abuse. Fescue is a tough and durable grass for dogs and suitable for the extremes of dogs’ play-fighting and running around in circles.

Bermuda grass is a perfect choice for active dogs since its deep roots help it heal faster. Perennial ryegrass is another good breed for active dogs and recovers quickly from the foot traffic of pets and people.

Dog Urine Resistant Grass

One of the biggest enemies for grass is pet urine, which will turn patches of lawn yellow or brown. There is also a theory that because of how females pee in concentrated patches, their urine can do more damage to the grass than a male.

Zoysia is a strong grass that is great for high traffic but does not cope well with dog urine. The best grass for female dogs is perennial rye, Bermuda, and fescue, with perennial ryegrass as the preference.

What Kind of Grass Is Safe for Dogs to Eat?

Dogs love to eat grass. It’s a source of fiber and helps them with digestion. This means you want to sow a dog-friendly grass seed that will grow deep roots and repair quickly. Most grasses are safe for pets to eat, except for pampas and palm grass.

Fescue is dog safe, grows strong roots, and copes well with concentrated dog urine.

Best Grass for High Traffic and Shade

Grass that enjoys the shade and cool weather tends to grow deeper roots and spring back faster from heavy foot traffic. But there is no point in sowing a grass seed intended for a cool climate when you live in the South. So, start by figuring out the weather conditions of your area before choosing a grass variety.

Warm-Season Grass

  • Zoysia – The fine-blade variety grows the best in the shade. Standard zoysia can survive with less than three hours of sunlight.
  • Centipede – This is one of the stronger warm-weather varieties and copes well in sandy soils with low nitrogen levels. Ideal conditions are moderate sunlight.

Cool-Season Grass

  • Fescue – Deep roots help this grass to grow back from heavy foot traffic and need less than four hours of sunlight a day.
  • Perennial Ryegrass – Also prefers less than four hours of sun.
  • Kentucky Bluegrass – Does not like droughts and can survive with less than four hours of sunlight.

Joshua Milton

I want to share everything I know about home improvement in order to help you. Whether you're a home enthusiast or an industry professional, I have the information that you need.

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