The 5 Best Grasses for Minnesota

The best types of grass seed for Minnesota are cool-season grasses, including Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, fine fescue, and tall fescue. Another unique option for dealing with the rough Minnesota climate is artificial grass.

The best grass for your specific needs and climate will depend on several factors. Here’s everything you need to know about each option to help you pick the best one for your Minnesota lawn.

1. Kentucky Bluegrass

Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis) is a cool-season grass that is a popular choice for Minnesota lawns.

It is one of our top picks due to its very strong tolerance of extreme cold. In fact, it is arguably the most cold-resistant seed variety, making it great for the cold Minnesota winters. It also produces a lush green and healthy overall appearance.

These two big benefits are not without their cost, however. The main drawback with Kentucky bluegrass is its high maintenance requirements. It has a relatively low tolerance to heat and dry spells. This means it needs lots of water to avoid going dormant. It also requires nitrogen and regular maintenance to stay looking its best. Lastly, it has a low shade tolerance, so it won’t perform well in low-light areas.

Overall, Kentucky bluegrass is an excellent choice for Minnesota due to its extremely high cold-weather tolerance and strong aesthetics. As long as you have a bit of a knack for yard work, Kentucky bluegrass will serve your Minnesota lawn very well.

2. Perennial Ryegrass

Perennial ryegrass is another cool-season grass and an effective choice for Minnesota lawns. It’s known for its fast germination, fine texture, and wear resistance.

Similar to Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass requires a relatively high level of maintenance, but when cared for properly, it can produce a lush green lawn.

As a cool-season grass, it performs better in the cold than many other grasses. However, it’s significantly less tolerant of extreme cold conditions than Kentucky bluegrass.

Since Kentucky bluegrass thrives so well in the cold and perennial ryegrass germinates so quickly, the two seeds are often combined to produce lush, well-rounded lawns in Minnesota.

3. Fine Fescue

Fine fescue is a collective term used to describe several grass species including creeping red fescue, chewings fescue, hard fescue, and sheep fescue.

The fine fescue family is known for its shade tolerance, fine texture, drought resistance, and low maintenance requirements.

While it require significantly less maintenance than Kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass, fine fescue is less resistant to foot traffic and heat.

As another cool-season grass, the fine fescue does great in the cold. It is less cold-resistant than Kentucky bluegrass and more cold-resistant than perennial ryegrass.

Overall, the fine fescue is a great option for those looking for a cold-resistant lawn with minimal maintenance.

4. Tall Fescue

The tall fescue (festuca arundinacea) is another cool-season grass and can be a great option for Minnesota.

It has a coarse texture, deep green color, and does particularly well in droughts and high heat. It also does pretty well in the cold.

As a moderate-maintenance grass seed, it requires more maintenance than the fine fescue, but less maintenance than perennial ryegrass and Kentucky bluegrass.

Overall, the tall fescue’s ability to withstand a wide variety of climates makes it well-suited for the varying weather in Minnesota.

5. Artificial Grass

So far we’ve covered a variety of cool-season grasses. While they all fare pretty well in the cold (some better than others), they are still not without their challenges and maintenance requirements.

On the other hand, artificial grass maintains a perfect aesthetic year-round with very little maintenance. The only thing you need to do to keep your synthetic turf installation in top top shape is clean it from time to time. Additional benefits of fake grass include savings on the water bill, enhanced durability, and elimination of grass & mud stains.

Some prefer the the look and feel of real grass, but in climates with short grow seasons and extreme cold like Minnesota, artificial grass in Minneapolis and surrounding Minnesota regions can be an extremely effective option.

So What’s the Best?

We’ve covered our top 5 picks for grass in Minnesota. To recap:

  • Kentucky bluegrass is the most cold-tolerant, but also has the highest maintenance requirements.
  • Perennial ryegrass is less cold-tolerant than Kentucky bluegrass. It also has high maintenance requirements. Its main advantage is how fast it grows.
  • Fine fescue is the lowest maintenance seed and it also fares very well in the cold . Its main disadvantage is its vulnerability to foot traffic and heat.
  • Tall fescue is the most drought and heat resistant seed. It requires a moderate amount of maintenance and is known for its versatility.
  • Artificial grass is a unique option that withstands all climates and virtually eliminates any maintenance requirements. Its main drawback is its inherent “artificial” nature, as many prefer the overall look and feel of a real grass lawn.

Based on your willingness to do maintenance, aesthetic preferences, and specific climate, each option could create a great Minnesota lawn. But you asked what the best was. Here’s our insight.

The Verdict

So what’s the best grass for Minnesota? It depends.

  • Kentucky bluegrass – The best grass in Minnesota for lawn enthusiasts. While it requires the most maintenance, it also produces the most durable, lush aesthetic.
  • Fine fescue is the best grass in Minnesota for those seeking low maintenance. That’s because it does great in the cold and has the lowest maintenance requirements of all our real grass options.
  • Artificial grass is the best grass in Minnesota for the innovators. It requires virtually no maintenance, and creates a flawless year-round aesthetic. Its great for those who value modern appeal and are willing to break from the mold of traditional lawns.

In conclusion, our final pick is awarded to the Kentucky bluegrass. It is the best, most cold-tolerant and physically appealing grass for Minnesota climates.

However, we think artificial turf is a solid pick for the adventurous.

We are American Greens, Midwest-based artificial grass suppliers and installers. If you’re interested in exploring the benefits of installing a synthetic turf lawn for your Minneapolis or surrounding home, give us a shout. We’d love to chat.