Many species of grass do best with an annual trimming to rejuvenate the plant and remove any dead foliage and flowers. Mexican feather grass is one that definitely does best with a trim. The proper way to do it is using hand pruners or shears and cut almost all the way to the soil line leaving only an inch above ground. Depending on the number of plants it can be time consuming, but only needs to be done once a year. You cannot trim them back too far, but can trim not far enough. Closer to the ground is better. This may seem drastic and too hard, but I assure you this is by far the best way and will quickly come back looking much better. Within just a week new foliage will be pushing up fast and replace the old growth. You will be pleasantly rewarded in trimming them this way and will look like new plants surprisingly fast. This is a good time to add a little fertilizer and provide a deep watering to promote faster bounce back. This is a common horticultural technique for rejuvenating grasses.
Called hardy pampas grass, native to Southern Europe and the Meditterean. Large, full flowered species grows up to 14' tall.Truly one of the giants of the grass world. Certainly its most outstanding feature is its size. The tall flower stalks of Erianthus extend high above the foliage,and appear in late September to late October. The foliage itself is a handsome gray-green mound, similar in appearance to 'pampas' grass and is often used as a substitute in northern growing areas. Prefers full sun and well-draining soil; is somewhat drought tolerant when established. Wet sites shorten its life considerably and leads to extensive winter injury. Spectacular fall color and considered deer resistant when established.
USDA ZONES: 6, 7, 8, 9
EXPOSURE: full sun
HEIGHT: 8 - 10' foliage, plumes reaching 12 - 14'
SPREAD: 6 - 8'
BLOOM TIME: late summer to early fall
FLOWER COLOR: white
SOIL/WATER REQUIREMENTS: Average Water Needs; well-drained soil; drought tolerant
We think your grass is Plains lovegrass, 1-3 ft., tufted, perennial bunchgrass with long, narrow leaf blades. The stout, erect flowering culm supports a seed head nearly half as long as the entire plant. The airy seed head is diffusely branched with many small spikelets.
This plant grows in desert grassland, prairie, chaparral, shrubsteppe, pinyon-juniper woodland, and oak-dominated woodlands. It is often found in dry, sloping areas. It can take hold easily in disturbed habitat. It does best in sandy soil types, and areas with bimodal precipitation patterns, having wet seasons in winter and summer. In its native habitat it is one of the first plants to turn green in the spring. It has been observed to increase in abundance after wildfire.This grass makes a good forage for livestock, but it decreases with overgrazing. Some game birds have been noted to eat the seeds
Grasses can be very hard to identify without seeing the structure of the stems and leaves.
Hope this is of some help.
The top left photo appears to be Bermuda grass which is a good semi-drought tolerant grass. The bottom left could be St Augustine which requires more water, and can be damaged in extreme winters.The 2 on the right we are assuming are of your yard. It is very difficult to positively ID them. But we would like to make you aware that trying to grow grass under large shade trees is difficult if not impossible without doing damage or harm to the trees themselves. It's not just the shade that makes it difficult, it's the feeder roots of the trees, these are the part of a trees rootstock that spreads out horizontally just under the soils surface and extend out to the edges of the tree canopy. As a tree ages and gets broader so do the feeder roots below. This broadening begins to compress or 'squeeze ' the soil between the roots. This heavy compression of the soil is too hard packed to allow most things to grow under it. In the natural world this is a trees defense, disallowing things to grow under it also means it's not in competition for food or water. We would highly recommend you speak to a licensed arborist before attempting to lay a sprinkler system or install a lawn near your trees. As far as making a good grass choice you should contact your local extension service and find out what they would recommend for your area and soil type.
From this photo alone it's impossible to tell which turf grass this is. In general, however, most turf grasses in the northeast are a combination of grasses including bluegrass, fescues and perennial rye. What looks like one lawn of one type of grass is often actually several types of grass so that the lawn greens up early in the spring and stays green into the fall (fescues do this) plus off the rich darker blue-green color (bluegrass) and are tough enough to withstand foot traffic (ryegrass) - a mix provides it all.
Another generality is that sod lawns are usually bluegrass which takes more resources to keep looking good. Bluegrass doesn't green up in the spring as early and it doesn't do well in the shade, but given fertilizer, water and warm temperatures it makes a beautiful lawn.
Without seeing the turf in person, and how the grasses behave in spring and fall, it's impossible to know what you're looking at. If there's a particular reason you'd like to know, however, or if you are looking for a turf grass for a special location, let us know and we're happy to help.
The quick answer is that this looks generally like nitrogen burn (spilled fertilizer), with a halo of dark green grass surrounding dead grass and moss; it also might be a fungal disease. The lawn is in such bad shape that it's hard to tell. A better answer addresses the underlying problem. The soils around Puget Sound are mostly a mixture of rock, sand, and clay called glacial till, which is usually acidic and relatively infertile. Combined with limited direct sunlight and lots of moisture, this sets up conditions that weaken grass and favor a variety of diseases, weeds, and mosses. Your photograph shows that well. Nothing short of major renovation and consistent care will fix that—and it's only worth doing on parts of the lawn that get at least 6 hours of direct sun (when the sun is out!) per day from March through October. Parts of the lawn that get less than that should be converted to a ground cover such as Japanese spurge (Pachysandra terminalis) that will tolerate the shade. To renovate the part of the lawn that gets enough light, do the following in March: till the soil, amend it with a couple of inches of compost, rake out the rocks and roots, level it, and either sow lawn grass or roll out turf. A good blend for your area is a blend of perennial ryegrass, fine fescue, and bent grass, and no more than a small percentage of Kentucky bluegrass (the latter will die out within a couple of years). Give the new lawn an inch of water per week if the rain doesn't do that for you, and feed it with lawn fertilizer in March, May, and September. Remove weeds as they appear by hand or with a spot sprayer. Then you'll have a terrific looking lawn, and the problem pictured here will be gone.