Everyone has seen it– the picture perfect lawn that looks like something out of a movie. A classic and well-maintained yard can turn heads and cause others to turn green with envy. While it is true that lawns can require a lot of time and effort to look truly great, one thing that not many people know is that choosing the best grass seeds can be half the battle and save countless hours of maintenance and headaches.
When deciding on what type of grass is best for your yard, it is very important to pick a grass that will thrive in your particular climate and suit your needs the best. While people tend to think of grass as, well, just grass, there are actually dozens of different types of grass and even more ways in which to plant them. Each type of grass varies slightly from another, and it is important to look at weather patterns and lawn traffic when deciding what will work best for you.
The Two General Types of Grass
Most lawn grass can be divided into two different types– warm-season and cool-season. Warm-season grass originated in the South and tends to prefer hot weather. This type of grass will grow the most during the hot days of summer. Then, as the temperatures cool in the fall and winter, most warm-season grasses will turn brown and go dormant. The best time to plant warm-season grass is in the late spring after the last frost.
Cool-season grass originated in the North and unsurprisingly, tends to prefer cooler temperatures. Whereas warm-season grass grows best during hot weather, cool-season grass shows the most growth in the spring and fall seasons and then turn brown during the hot days of high summer. Late summer or early fall is the best time to grow cool-season grass types.
What Are You Using the Grass For?
Something else to consider when investing in grass seed is what you plan to use that seed for. Do you want to be the envy of your neighborhood? Grow an eco-friendly lawn that provides honeybees with nectar and does not require much water? Or do you plan on using the grass seed to plant a pasture for livestock or the local wildlife? Your answer will dictate what breed of grass you want to buy. In the ten products we reviewed below, we did our best to explain the best uses and climates for each type of seed mix, along with the pros and cons for that mix.
Best Grass Seeds Reviewed
This particular blend of hybrid bermuda grass can only be found from Outsidepride, which is a family owned company based in the US. The Outside Princess 77 blend is currently one of the only hybrid bermuda grass mixtures on the market. It is a warm-season grass with a high drought resistance that fills in quickly and does best in full sunlight This blend has a fine to medium texture underfoot but should not be put in areas that see a lot of traffic. This blend should be planted once temperature has warmed up, as the seeds require a consistent minimum temperature of 70 degrees to have the best germination rate.
In general, perennial ryegrass prefers weather that is neither too not nor too cold, although it is usually considered to be a cool-season type. It can grow in conditions ranging anywhere from full sun to partial shade, and can tolerate a high traffic level. It is not drought resistance and does require a fairly large amount of water to stay looking great.
This seed blend from Nature’s Seed contains three types of perennial ryegrass that have all been rated as “premium golf-grade” and that will give a nice, uniform color to the lawn. While it is not drought resistant and will require more water, this blend has both a high salt tolerance, a high amount of disease resistance, and will become established more quickly than some other types.
If you are looking for grass seed for a pasture or more environmentally friendly lawn, it would be worth your time to look at this pasture blend. Made up of around 40% Yellow Sweet clover, 20% White Dutch clover, and another 20% of various types of herbs and cover crops. Unlike a more traditional yard, a lawn that has been seeded with this mix may require less fertilizer, mowing, or watering than comparable lawns composed of only regular grass seed while being able to withstand a high amount of foot traffic.
The flowers from the clover and cover crops will also provide food for bees and other pollinators, while still feeling soft underfoot. An extra bonus is that clover is generally considered to be a “nitrogen fixer”, meaning that it acts as a natural fertilizer and will improve the soil. On the downside, a clover lawn does not look like a traditional lawn and may need to be reseeded every few years to maintain an even look.
Scotts Company 17325 Classic Tall Fescue Mix
Fescue is a fairly low-maintenance type of grass that does best in areas with mild winters and warm summers. It has a high drought resistance, low need for water, and can withstand a medium traffic level in conditions ranging from partial shade up to full sun. Fescue has several downsides to it however. For one, the texture of fescue can be rather coarse and thus not very barefoot friendly.
It is also not suitable to pasture pregnant horses or other livestock on it as it can lead to birth defects. However, the seeds in this mix are very fast growing and germinate well, so it would be good for someone who wants a yard quickly, or who plans for their lawn to act in more of an ornamental capacity.
Kentucky bluegrass is quite possibly the most famous type of grass in the world due to its connections with both the musical genre of Bluegrass and its ties to the horse racing world. It has been long sung about and taught that Kentucky bluegrass is highly nutritious and builds strong bones for livestock, along with providing a characteristic dark blue-green beautiful look.
In general, Kentucky bluegrass is considered a cool season type and is right in the middle when it comes to drought resistance, traffic level, sun requirements, and need for water. This particular blend of seeds contains a fine, soft grass that feels great underfoot and grows in an upright pattern with beautiful dark blue-green blades. Overall this blend is very resistant to both disease and foot traffic levels, although it can be a bit finicky and difficult to grow in hot weather and does not do well when planted in the spring.
This is a seed blend formulated for areas in the mid-south of the USA. It is made up of primarily premium tall fescue,and is completely weed free. This blend has a high drought tolerance, can withstand being in high traffic areas, and also has a great germination rate. Lesco has tested this strain of grass and says that it can do well in a variety of areas and has a multitude of uses.
In particular, this blend seems well suited for areas that may be experiencing a combination of drought and high foot traffic– making it especially suitable for children’s play grounds or athletic playing fields. Although fescue generally tends to be classified as a cool-season crop, this particular variety grows best when the ground temperatures rise above 60 degrees.
If you have difficulty getting plain grass seed to grow, but dream of owning a lush, green lawn, this may be just what you need! With both bermuda and ryegrass in this mixture your lawn should stay green throughout the year. The Grotrax mat allows for easy planting and also retains water well enough to let you cut back on the watering frequency. The bermuda seeds will tolerate high amounts of traffic and a fair amount of drought, allowing for fast growth in the summer and spring.
The ryegrass will enable your lawn to stay green in the winter and will also stand high levels of foot traffic. The Grotrax mat can be rolled out throughout most of the year, although the largest amounts of growth and quickest rates of germination will occur in late spring, summer, and fall. Be careful to not set out the seeds in the winter though, as freezing cold temperatures may delay seed germination.
This mix has three different types of fescue in it, which allows for greater drought tolerance and disease-resistance, and also enables it to grow in poor soil. The Black Beauty brand has bred their grasses to have an invisible waxy coating on the leaves which helps to lower the need for water and prevent disease.
Fescue is a cool-season grass, so the best time to plant would be in the early fall, although it is always best to follow the directions provided with the seed. If growing this mixture in the shade be sure to fertilize and water it appropriately as it can be a bit finnicky. It may also be beneficial to overseed, as the germination rates for fescue are on the low side and can take longer than other types.
This mixture contains approximately 40% perennial ryegrass, 40% red fescue, and 20% kentucky bluegrass. This results in a nicely balanced mix that can result in a beautiful yard in both shady and sunny areas, and will stay green throughout both summer and winter. Both the fescue and the bluegrass are coated with a WaterGuard QS coating; when the seeds are watered the coating will swell and retain water which will keep the seeds from drying out as quickly and enable faster germination rates. The combination of ryegrass and fescue will keep even a highly trafficked yard looking great, while the bluegrass sprinkled throughout will provide a nice depth of color.
This marathon seed mix is mainly made up of an improved tall fescue mix that grows best in warm weather, and has specifically been formulated for southern California. The Marathon II seed has been bred for shorter and more narrow leaves which then enables the plant to withstand a greater sowing density and lower mowing height– leading to a more uniform lawn with a carpet-like look. While fescue tends to be a cool-season type of grass, this particular strain of seed tends to grow much slower in cooler weather.