There’s no secret here, if you want to do something right, do it right from the beginning, fixing it on the way is usually more difficult! This is also true with gardens and lawn: if you want a great lawn, go and buy the best grass seed you can find! It all starts here. No bargain, no cheat! Buy the best damn seed you can find! Of course, I know that as with everything in life, it is hard to have one absolute solution for a particular problem, there is no “one size fits them all” solution but try hard, read on and go get the one that fits you! This way you can be sure that no matter what challenges may occur on the way, you will be able to fix them! On the other hand, if the seed is a poor one, no matter what you’ll do, you won’t be able to fix it. Period.
Kind of a long introduction for a simple statement, right? But I will say it again: go to the damn store and buy the best seed you can find! Go! Now!
OK, but …which is the best grass seed? Let’s see…
What to consider when choosing the grass seed?
The question is not what’s the best grass seed ever, but what’s the best one for you and in order to answer this, you need to clearly understand the factors that influence the growth of grass and these factors are:
- the area where you live and the weather there(is it mostly hot? is it mostly cold? are there high temperature differences between day and night?)
- the type of soil(sandy, argillic, acidic, alkaline? in case of acidic or alkaline soil, you may need to treat the soil before planting the seeds for good results)
- if the grass will be mostly in the sun or in the shade
- will you step on it big time? Do you plan to invite your buddies for a football game at your house or the lawn will have mainly an esthetic role?
Now, if you answer this, you are in the position to choose the best grass seed for you, so read on…
The first thing you should know is that there are two main types of grass: warm season grass (and grass seed, of course) and cool season grass. Depending on where you live you may need one or the other.
Warm season grass grows best in subtropical areas, where the temperature is between 75 and 90 F. During the cold season, warm season grass goes dormant and turn brown. As a generic solution, you can overseed with perennial grass, so you can have a green lawn during cold seasons too. A smart solution, if you think about it! When you plant the seeds, they require more water than cool season grass, until the roots are established, but on the long run, warm season grass saves water up to 70%, comparing to cold season grass.
Most common warm season grass types are Bahia, Bermuda, Centipede and St. Augustine grass. Each of these have their own particularities and depending on your conditions you may go with one or another.
Bahia grass is tough, it has a rougher texture and can handle moderate foot traffic. Bahia likes the heat and humidity of the South, needs to be in a moderate sun and can grown in a large variety of soil. You need to mow it at a height of about 2, 2 and a half inches. You can check here a few of the best grass Bahia seed.
Bermuda grass is one of the most popular, due to it’s fast growth rate and habits. This can also turn into a problem since it can invade flower beds and you may not like this. But look on the bright side, Bermuda grass resists very well to weeds and is tough, supporting heavy foot traffic. In order to have a green lawn during cold season, you may overseed it with rye. Bermuda grass needs to stay in full sun and needs a light textured soil. You need to mow it at a height of 1 and a half to 2 inches.
Centipede grass is tough, does not require high maintenance and loves the acidic soil. It has a rough texture and has an excellent weed and pest resistance. Needs to stay in the sun, withstands lights foot traffic and needs to be mowed at a height of about 2 inches.
St. Augustine is a very popular choice, especially when the soil is sandy, stays green into fall and has a high tolerance to foot traffic. Needs to be mowet at a height of 2-3 inches.
What is cold season grass?
If you live in an area where the temperature is between 65-80 F, you may go with cold season grass seed. This type of grass need to be seeded in the spring or fall and can go dormant during summer time (may turn brown), requiring more water if you want to see your lawn green again. Also, you can mix it with perennial grass for the same reason.
Let’s see a few of the cold season grass types, in order to understand what would be the best grass seed you need to buy for your lawn:
One of the most popular cold season grass is Kentucky bluegrass, which has a darker green color and easily grows in shady conditions. Usually, Kentucky bluegrass seed loves loose soil. You should mow it at a height of 2-3 inches. It can take moderate foot traffic, so it’s not good for heavy traffic such as football or rugby games. When spreading the seeds, mix it with other types of grass such as perennial ryegrass or fescue. Kentucky bluegrass easily tolerates low temperatures.
The drawbacks of using Kentucky bluegrass seeds are: the seeds are slow to germinate and don’t do well in wet soil. During dry and hot summertime, it goes dormant, turning brown.
Tall fescue may be the jack of all trades, it’s the utility grass of choice, has deep roots(up to 3 feet), quick germination and low maintenance. It is extremely tolerant to foot traffic and is very popular in sports. Newer varieties have a softer and finer textures. Tall fescue grass seed is usually mixed with other types of seeds, such as Kentucky. One of the main advantages tall fescue offers is the ability to grow in areas where is too hot for other cool season grass types and too cold for warm season grass types. Can stay green all year long, except during extremely dry summer, have a high resistance to diseases and pests. It is sensible to infections with brown patch during hot and wet summers so you need to pay attention here.
Perennial grass is a deep-green grass that mix well with other types such as Kentucky bluegrass and also with warm season varieties, in order to preserve green color during winter time. It is a heavy traffic grass and a very popular choice worldwide. Grows in a large variety of soils and perennial grass seed grows quickly, which makes it great when mixed with other seeds since it protects the grass with a slower growth. It doesn’t have a good tolerance to drought and when mixed with other varieties, should be somewhere under 20 percent of the mix, otherwise it would spread fast.
Other varieties of cold season grass include fine fescue, (such as chewing fescue, red fescue, hard fescue), annual ryegrass, bent grasses.
So, as a short conclusion, we could all understand that there is no easy solution here, we can not just choose one grass seed as the best one, since it heavily depends upon a lot of factors. What we could do is to choose the best grass seed considering all the above factors. The fact is that we should choose 2 or even 3 types of grass seeds and mix them together in recommended percentage so we have a nice looking lawn all year long.