how to choose grass seed-Buying the right lawn grass is the difference between a struggle to stay your grass green, and a relaxed turf that provides all season beauty and pleasure. Lawn grass has totally different character and preferences. Even among the same kind of grass variations, that will produce the distinction between a lawn that dies from fungus disease or low temperature vs. one that thrives in a similar environment.
- 1 how to choose grass seed
- 2 Does where I live to matter?
- 3 How to Narrow my Choices
- 4 Do I need to Consider my Site
- 5 Does the Variety of Grass Really Matter?
- 6 how much sun will your grass need?
- 7 When to Use Sod, Seed, or Sprigs?
- 8 What’s the intended use of the grass?
- 9 How important is eco-friendly grass to you?
how to choose grass seed
Does where I live to matter?
Are there completely different sod choices for different geographic locations? Whereas every sod variety has their benefits, the key to an excellent lawn is to seek out a grass that’s local to you.
Most home market grass seed choices tend to lean toward low price varieties as a result of seed-shoppers usually don’t understand there’s a performance distinction. Consumers beware: as low prices varieties are usually the poorest performers in university turfgrass studies and are a lot of at risk of bugs, diseases, weather stresses, and short life. Discerning householders should purchase several of the same superior varieties utilized by golf courses, public parks, and athletic fields and reap the same benefits with some guidance. It’s necessary to look at your lawn as a long investment once selecting the correct seed, versus feeling you’re getting a deal. Whether or not you’re filling in a very spot on an existing lawn, or seeding a brand new lawn—it’s necessary to decide on wisely.
Many shopper grass seed choices are simply described as Sun and Shade combine, quick Grow combine, Dense Shade combine, or High-Traffic combine. There are even people who highlight a particular blend for a State or region like Northern or Southern. The challenge is deciding how these grass seed product names, translate to a grass kind that may grow well in your region.
How to Narrow my Choices
Where you live is the most important factor affecting how grasses will perform.
In the Northern United States and in Canada, where summers are moderate and winters often are cold, cool-season grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, and tall fescue are the primary choices.
The Southern Zone, with hot summers and moderate winters, provides a climate where warm-season grasses thrive. St. Augustine grass, Bermuda grass, centipede grass, and zoysia grass are the most common varieties.
this region has hot summers as well as cold winters, making it the most challenging region for lawns: Cool-season grasses struggle in the summer heat, while warm-season types can remain brown as much as half of the year and may be prone to winter damage. Tall fescue is a popular choice in the Transition Zone because it exhibits good tolerance of both cold and heat, and it stays green most of the year. Bermudagrass, zoysiagrass, and Kentucky bluegrass also are grown in the Transition Zone.
Do I need to Consider my Site
Next, think about conditions in your yard. If there are no special challenges, then you should get good results from any of the primary grasses for your region. For difficult sites — those that have deep shade, a lack of water, or salty soils — other species will adapt better to the specific conditions.
For an out-of-the-way area that’s hard to supply with water or fertilizer, buffalo grass — hardy throughout much of North America — is an excellent choice. Fine-leaf fescues also are good for low-input sites. Centipede grass is a good choice for low-maintenance sites in the Southeast.
Fine-leaf fescues are the most tolerant of shady sites. In the South, most varieties of St. Augustine are fairly shade-tolerant (with the exception of the Flora team variety).
In the North, blends of Kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass work well for high-traffic areas. In the South, Bermuda grass is preferred for its ability to recover rapidly from wear.
Seed companies often package mixes containing several species or varieties selected for a particular type of site — sunny, shady, dry, or high-traffic, for example. They do the homework of devising the best mixes in the right ratios, and the resulting lawn will perform better than if you’d planted a single species.
Salty-Sites or Sites Using Effluent Water:
Seashore paspalum is extremely salt-tolerant, making it excellent for sandy coastal sites affected by salt sprays, or where effluent water with high salt levels is used for irritation.
Does the Variety of Grass Really Matter?
In a word, yes. Each grass species is available in several (sometimes a great many) varieties, offering variations in texture, color, and growth rate. Visually, the differences may be subtle, but newer varieties often have unseen advantages. For example, they might better tolerate diseases, pests, or harsh weather. No-name or generic seed, though cheaper, is usually not worth the savings because you might end up with an older variety prone to problems.
To get the best performance from species, such as tall fescue, perennial ryegrass, and Kentucky bluegrass, uses a mix of varieties. Though you can create your own mix, it’s more convenient to use prepackaged mixes, which are formulated for specific regions. Generally, you won’t go too far wrong if you stick to recognized brands and buy seed from reputable garden centers, which tend to stock current varieties.
The next step in zeroing in on the best grass type depends on your climate. Lawn grasses come in two main categories: Warm-season grasses are ones that perform best in long, hot summers with mild winters (i.e. the South, Southwest, and lower West Coast), while cool-season grasses are ones that perform best in more moderate summers and colder winters (i.e. the North, Midwest and most of the Mid-Atlantic). Some grasses in either camp will grow in the transition zone between North and South. It’s necessary to ensure the seed label detail on the packages that identify the grass kind or types—as several bags are available in mixed of more than one species.
Kick-start your investigation by learning a little bit more about the characteristics of several common species.
COOL SEASON GRASS:
Cool-Season Sod is the best fit for areas; you guessed it, in the northern half of the United States. These grass-types grow best in spring and fall when temperatures average between 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
This heavily dense turf could be a very popular colder-weather grass for everything from home lawns, golf courses, and athletic fields.
Has nice dark-green color and beautiful texture; fast to fill in and get over injury; very good cold tolerance; good tolerance to foot traffic.
Fills in bare spots on its own; creates an extremely nice lawn; tolerates harsh winters.
Intolerant of shade; prone to thatch; languishes in heat; is a favorite food of grubs.
A moderate temperature sod that’s an excellent fit for home lawns, parks, fields, and any high-use areas.
This grass is dark-color, fine-texture species that may be used alone in lawns, however, is more usually combined with Kentucky bluegrass. It is also used to overseed dormant Southern Bermuda grass for winter greenery.
one of the most attractive grasses; tolerates traffic well; germinates and establishes quickly
Is very fast to germinate; tolerant of foot traffic; has a shiny sheen and nice texture.
Tall fescue: Has excellent tolerance to foot traffic; tolerates some shade; good drought tolerance in cool climates; tolerates high heat better than other cool-season grasses, making it useful in transition zones and even warm-season areas.
Tall fescue exhibits good heat and drought tolerance, so it’s used a great deal in the Transition Zone and even in the South. Its coarser texture is deemed unattractive by some, but new varieties are quite nice.
Not prone to thatch; tolerant of drought and heat; good pest tolerance
Doesn’t spread into bare areas (except a few new varieties that spread modestly).
Has good shade tolerance; attractive fine texture; low fertilizer needs; good drought tolerance.
This group includes several distinct species, all with the thin-blade, wispy appearances. These grasses are problem-solvers — they’re often added to seed mixes to give lawns more adaptability to shade and drought, and they’re low-maintenance.
Needs little maintenance; tolerates drought and shade.
Less attractive than most lawn grasses.
warm season grass types:
Warm-Season Sod thrives in temperature between 80 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit. and Warm-season grasses love heat and are well-suited to the hot summers of the South and Southwest. In areas with little summer rain, they will go dormant without supplemental water. With a few exceptions, warm-season grasses are not very cold-tolerant, and most undergo winter dormancy. Many varieties are unavailable as seed and must be planted as sprigs or sod.
St. Augustine Sod:
The South’s most popular turf grass. While this grass needs irrigation, it grows thick and has wonderful shade tolerance.
Has good shade tolerance; tolerates sandy soil and salty conditions; good heat tolerance; forms a dense mat to discourage weeds.
St. Augustine grass forms a coarse-texture lush, thick lawn. The most commonly used lawn grass in the Gulf States, reliance on summer water and modest cold tolerance limit its use elsewhere.
Requires only moderate maintenance for a nice lawn; reasonably tolerant of shade
Susceptible to chinch bugs; does not survive dry summers without supplemental watering.
This top quality and dense grass features excellent heat, drought and wear tolerance.
very good in all but the heaviest foot traffic; tolerates partial shade; slow-grower so it doesn’t need as frequent mowing; performs well in transition zones; eventually forms a very thick, weed-discouraging mat.
Zoysia grass is thick, with normal texture turf and is winter hardy to Zone six.
have thick field effective at strangling out weeds; slightly tolerant of shade; drought-tolerance.
Long dormancy; requires annual dethatching or scalping to reduce thatch; slow to establish and recover from wear; not well-suited to winter overseeding.
A great grass for golf courses and areas wherever you need lots of toughness.
Easy to grow from seed; heat- and drought-tough; tolerant of foot traffic; fill in thickly and quickly; tolerates cooler temperatures superior to most warm-season grasses
Bermuda grass: it’s very simple to grow from seed; heat- and drought-tough; good for footstep; fill in thickly and quickly; good in cooler temperatures, better than most warm-season grasses.
Some varieties are hardy as far north as Zone 6. In the South and West, dormant Bermuda grass lawns are often overseeded with ryegrass in the fall for winter color.
Vigorous spreader quickly recovers from wear; hybrid types exhibit extremely fine texture
Intolerant of shade; prone to thatch; invades beds.
Slow-grower and then wants less mowing; low fertilizer needs; tolerates sandy soil; tolerant of partial shade; performs well in transition zones.
Well-adapted to the Southeast, this “lazy man’s grass” forms a coarse, light to a medium green lawn that looks good with only moderate maintenance. It doesn’t have a true winter dormant state. Common centipede grass is usually used; name varieties are seldom sold.
Needs little maintenance; invites few serious pest or disease problems; grows slowly for reduced mowing
Recovers slowly from wear; is easily injured by freezing weather.
Buffalo grass: very drought-tough; excellent tolerance of footstep; nice texture; has low plant food needs; good heat tolerance and it have an additional cold-tolerant than most warm-season grasses.
Is best used for low-maintenance sites. It has a gray-green color and fine texture. Though technically a warm-season grass, buffalo grass survives in most of the United States and southern Canada.
Tolerates climatic extremes; requires little fertilizer, pest control, or mowing
Has a relatively unattractive color; does not tolerate traffic well; slow to establish; goes dormant in winter, as well as summer (if not irrigated), and thus can be brown for much of the year.
Good sandy and acidic soil as well as in a salty condition; good for heat- and drought-tough; tolerates footstep very well; good sickness resistance; good for discouraging weeds.
how much sun will your grass need?
In addition to wherever you live, one amongst the primary concerns when selecting the proper turfgrass is how much daylight your lawn can get. Of course, regardless of the variety, the healthiest grass needs a minimum of a couple of hours of sun on a daily basis. Some varieties have superior shade tolerance (cool season) whereas others thrive in full sun (warm season).
When to Use Sod, Seed, or Sprigs?
Homeowners can establish new lawns by sod or seed (or springs or plugs, if the seed is not an option). Sod is the quickest way to establish your lawn, but it’s also more expensive than the alternatives. Further, you are limited to the varieties that local sod growers have chosen to plant. One situation may demand sod: steep slopes. Slopes are prone to erosion, and heavy rains can wash away seed; sod will stay put, especially when pinned.
Seed saves you money up front, and you may find a wider selection of varieties in garden centers. However, lawn planted from seed may take a year to develop a thick strand, and you may find yourself reseeding areas that didn’t establish well. Also, weeds may be problematic until the young grass thickens.
Many warm-season varieties aren’t available from seed, so they are sold as sprigs (stolons) or plugs. These are planted in the soil and gradually spread until they’ve filled in to form a solid lawn. Sprigs are sold by the bushel from garden centers; plugs are sold by the tray.
What’s the intended use of the grass?
When selecting the correct sod, be certain to take into consideration the intended use and performance. Some varieties, such as Bluegrass and Bermuda, are designed for more active areas that sustain more wear and tear, and others, such as St. Augustine and Ryegrass, look beautiful but only have moderate traffic tolerance.
How important is eco-friendly grass to you?
Some sod needs less maintenance and provides a lot of ecological benefits than alternative types of turfgrass. There are varieties that area unit drought tolerant, use fewer herbicides and are a lot of sustainable these eco-friendly grasses include, but are not limited to: ryegrass, Tall Festuca elatior, and grass sod varieties.
So, what is going to it be? There’s a lot to think about once selecting the right sod for your required location.
Maybe Bluegrass sod can inspire you to get out and play outside a lot of that usually. As an alternative, St. Saint Augustine sod ensures your lawns are going to be the talk in the neighborhood.
If you’re unsure of specifically what variety fits best for your lawn, there’s nothing safer than selecting the sod nearest to your home.