In Eastern Tennessee, you will experience the greatest lawn success by planting cool-season grasses that are able to tolerate the weather changes throughout the year. While not as cold as some other areas of the United States, Tennessee does experience colder temperatures that are not conducive to warm-season grasses.
Kentucky bluegrass is a common cool-weather grass that will grow well in East Tennessee. Because it develops rhizomes that spread under the ground surface to reproduce, it develops a dense lawn with a strong root structure. The common use of this seed is attributed to its tolerance of varied light conditions and quick establishment time. One disadvantage of bluegrass is its lack of drought resistance. If it is not watered during times of low rainfall, the grass will turn brown and enter a dormant state.
Another common cool season grass that grows well in this region is tall fescue. It is a good seed to mix with bluegrass because it has a higher drought tolerance. This will leave your grass looking healthy even if the bluegrass becomes dormant. It will grow well if there is a high level of clay in your soil composition.
Ryegrass is commonly used in residential lawns because it quickly establishes a strong root structure and healthy lawn. There are both perennial and annual varieties of ryegrass. The perennial varieties are commonly used on lawns that have wet conditions or poor drainage. The annual variety is used as a temporary grass to provide erosion control while other varieties of grass establish a healthy lawn.