Americans love loads of options for grass seeds and you need to know which is the best grass seed for lawns? Truth is, Americans spend about 60 hours of yard work a month. Not everyone, though, is lucky enough to have a green and lush lawn. These days there are various.
It is the dream of every homeowner to have a lush and green lawn where children and pets can run around and play. Having a lush and lovely lawn is more than just for aesthetics.
Having the right grass can help filter groundwater, help reduce soil corrosion, improve air quality, and absorb excessive rainfall. The right grass in your lawn can also absorb particles and grass, thereby promoting healthy breathing.
Growing a lawn that will become the envy of your neighbors starts with the question:
Which is the best grass seed for lawns?
Choosing the best grass seed can be an arduous chore for the beginner gardener and lawn expert because there are just too many different types of grass seeds. There, too are many things to take into consideration when choosing the right grass seeds for your lawn.
Popular Types of Grass Seed
Grass seeds can either be cool-season grasses and warm-season grasses.
• Cool-Season Grass Seeds
Cool-season grass grows quickly and well in cool weather during spring and fall. They turn dormant in the heat of summer. Reseeding can be done in spring and fall.
• Perennial Ryegrass
Perennial Ryegrass is different from annual ryegrass which is a temporary grass often used to control erosion. Perennial ryegrass is a good choice for new lawns because it germinates quickly. It also grows back year after year.
This type of grass is ideal for areas with colder climates with mild summers. Planting and reseeding perennial ryegrass are best done in the fall.
• Kentucky Bluegrass
The Kentucky Bluegrass creates a deep green and lush appearance which is considered by many people to be the perfect lawn. This type of grass has a shallow root system; thus, it is not able to tolerate heat.
The Kentucky Bluegrass is a prized species. It is not easy to grow because it requires a lot of care and maintenance. Planting and reseeding should be done in spring and fall.
The Tall Fescue variety is probably the most common grass in lawns across the country. This grass can adapt well to different climates. It can tolerate cold, heat, shade, and drought quite well.
The root system of the Tall Fescue can reach as deep as three feet. It establishes easily and can withstand heavy traffic. Planting and reseeding should be done in the fall and spring.
• Warm-Season Grass Seeds
Warm-season grasses endure hot climates and turn brown and dormant during the winter. Reseeding is done during spring and summer.
Bermuda grass can withstand high traffic and tolerate heat. It cannot tolerate cold weather very well. This type of grass needs plenty of nutrients, full exposure to the sun, and good drainage
Bahia grass can tolerate heat and drought. Bahia has a coarse texture and broad leaves; thus, it will not burn in the hot sun.
Centipede is a low-maintenance type of grass that can very well tolerate heat. This is perfect grass for homeowners who do not like to spend a lot of time managing their lawns.
Centipede loves the full sun but can also tolerate some shade. Planting centipede grass seed is best done in the spring frost will not get in the way.
Although the Buffalo grass is a warm-season grass, it is also commonly used in areas that have harsh winters. It turns brown and dormant in colder weather. Planting and reseeding should be done between April and May.
Zoysia is a tough type of grass. It can withstand high foot traffic, heat, and drought. Zoysia develops into a dense lawn that eats up weeds even with minimal maintenance. Planting and reseeding of Zoysia should be done in spring when frost is gone.
• St. Augustine
St. Augustine can tolerate humidity and high heat. It is a popular grass in coastal yards because it can tolerate salt water. It has blue-green grass blades and quickly spreads across a lawn. Planting St Augustine is best done in summer or spring.
Which are the Best Grass Seeds for Lawns?
Choosing which is the best grass seed for lawns can be confusing. There are a few things you need to take into consideration when deciding on which are the best grass seeds for lawns.
There are cool season and warm season grass seeds. Paying close attention to the climate in your area will ensure establishing a lawn will be more manageable. Planting the right grass seed for the climate in your area will require minimal watering and maintenance of your lawn
• Single Seed or Mix
Grass seeds are available as one seed type or a blend of different grass species. The single seed type is best if you want to achieve a certain look for your lawn. Single seeds are more difficult to maintain but their appearance will be all worth it.
Mix grass seeds are easy to grow and maintain. The mixes are blended to improve the heat or drought tolerance of the grass. Mix grass also grows more evenly and will require little patching. Mix grass, however, will not look as attractive as a single-seeded lawn.
• New Plant or Reseeding
The process of planting new grass seeds and reseeding are different. Planting new grass seeds entails applying sees to bare dirt that is ready for new planting. Reseeding, on the other hand, is the process of thickening an existing lawn.
You will need twice as many seeds when planting new grass seeds as you would when over seeding an existing lawn.• Germination Percentage
Germination percentage is a measure of the number of seeds that germinated against the total number of seeds planted. It all boils down to the quality of the seeds. The better the quality, the more seeds will germinate or the higher the germination percentage.
There are some seeds that will really not germinate. Cheaper grass seeds will typically have lower quality and lower germination percentage. High-quality grass seeds will have a 90% to 95% rate of germination. This makes the additional cost worth it.
• Type of Soil
Test the quality and type of soil in your yard before choosing a particular grass to grow.
• Sun Exposure
Grass needs sunlight to grow and spread. The level of sun exposure is different for various types of grasses. Tall fescue, for instance, can tolerate partial shade while Bermuda grass needs full sun. Analyse the level of sun exposure in your and decide on the type of grass you can plant. For cool-season grass, the more shade your lawn has, the better for the grass.
As a general rule, if your lawn gets the morning sun, cool-season grass is most ideal. If, on the other hand, lingering afternoon sunlight is a better fit for warm-season grass.
Seed companies have seed mixes specifically for areas with full sun, full shade, or yards with full-sun and shaded areas.
• Level of Foot Traffic
Different types of grass can tolerate different levels of foot traffic. Determine how you intend to use your lawn. Do you have kids and pets who will be running around your lawn? Do you intend to use your backyard to entertain guests? is your lawn an area you just want to be able to admire?
If such is the case you will need to choose a grass variety that can tolerate high foot traffic but still continue to have unhampered growth. Bermuda grass and Zoysia are types of grass that are resilient and can, therefore, tolerate the most foot traffic. Fescue, on the other hand, will die when subjected to high foot traffic.
A lawn that will be getting a lot of foot traffic, never chooses the type that should be cut at ½-inch or lower. Instead, choose a variety with a 3 ¼-inch mowing height or more.
• Maintenance Requirement
Many property owners love to fuss over their lawns enjoying long hours maintaining their lawns. Some homeowners, on the other hand, prefer lawns that require less care and maintenance.
Take into consideration the amount of care and maintenance you are willing to commit to the care and maintenance of your lawn.
If you prefer almost maintenance-free grass, Bermuda grass is your best bet. If you plant Zoysia grass, be ready for annual dethatching. Perennial Ryegrass will also need regular patching and care because it will not self-repair.
Your choice of grass seed, therefore, is dependent on how much time and effort you want to put into it. Once you are steadfast in your commitment, it will be easier to narrow down your choices of the type of grass you will go for.
If there are still some uncertainties on your end on which are the best grass seeds for lawns, you can try to purchase a few grass seeds -the ones sold from bulk dispensers in local garden centers or local food co-ops.
These seeds will typically be grass seed mixtures specially formulated for your area. When still in doubt, seek the assistance of the experts. Lay down your concerns and they will be able to suggest the best grass seeds for your lawn.
How to Plant Grass Seeds
Planting grass seeds on your lawn is not too difficult. Anyone can successfully do it.
1. Choose the best grass seed
Choose the grass seed that is ideal for your area, soil, intended use of your lawn, and your maintenance commitment.
For best results, choose grass seeds that have been rated and evaluated by the National Turf Evaluation Program, (NTEP).
Choosing NTEP-rated grass seeds ensures you are purchasing grass seeds that are specially bred to ensure top-quality green grass colour. These grass seeds are also resistant to insects and disease as well as tolerant to drought.
2. Prepare the soil
For new lawns:
• Loosen the soil (top 2-3 inches).
• Remove all debris (stones, sticks, etc)
• Break up all large soil crumbs
• Level the areas that are prone to collect excess water
Avoid using weed killers before or after planting grass seeds.
• Mow the grass (as short as you can get)
• Loosen the soil in bare spots (the top ¼-inch)
• Remove dead grass and debris
• Level the areas with existing topsoil. Focus on areas that are prone to collect excess water
After overseeding, apply a starter fertilizer to the bare spots.
3. Plant the grass seeds
If you have a small area, use your hand to evenly spread the seeds.
• If you have a large area, use a mechanical seeder, lawn spreader, or still your hand.
• Apply about 16 grass seeds per square inch. Planting seeds too close to each other may sauce the seedlings to fight for space and nutrients. In this case, grass may grow thin and weak.
4. Cover the seeds
Cover the seeds with soil (not more than ¼-inch).
Newly planted or overseeded lawns should be watered often to promote germination. Water lightly and frequently until new grass grows to be two inches tall.
Best Time to Plant Grass Seeds
For best results, plant grass seeds in the spring and fall.
If you are planting grass seeds during spring, make sure not to apply weed control. Weed control products are best applied after the grass seeds have germinated. Another tip is also to apply weed control after your lawn has been mowed at least twice.
If you are planting grass seeds during the fall season, delay the application of weed control products until the seeds have germinated. It should also be before the freezing temperatures set in your area.
Whether you are planting new grass seeds or overseeding to improve the appearance of your lawn or improve air quality, choosing which is the best grass seed for lawn will dictate your success.
There are so many types of grass seeds available, each with its own features. Make careful scrutiny of the conditions surrounding your lawn as well as its intended use to ensure you will have a lush green lawn that can be an envy of many.
Written by Jenny, edited by Patricia Godwin, Editor at Large