When you want the perfect lawn, a lot depends on aeration (see another of my articles) but also on the seed you use.
Of course, there are some basics rules that you better follow. The correct lawn grass seed depends on several factors.
One is that you should select the best from a list of choices. You can perhaps do that by talking to neighbors and people in your area, with nice green lawns, and ask them which seed they used. Then you’ll soon find out what works in your area, and what you can better avoid using.
Two is to decide if you need a cool season grass, a warm season grass or a transition grass, depending on the three major areas in the USA.
- For the cool season area (northern climate) a lot of homeowners will purchase turfgrass sod or lawn seed in mixtures or blends, rather than in a single variety. There are many types of cool season grasses, like Kentucky bluegrass, fine fescue, perennial ryegrass and turf type tall fescues. In most blends and mixtures you’ll find bluegrass, but also creeping red fescue is widely used, as it has a high tolerance for shade and drought.
- For the warm season area (southern climate) you can choose Bahia grass, Bermuda grass, Centipede, St.Augustine or Zoysia grass.
- For the transition zone (the Midwest) you should use a combination of warm and cool season grasses, although there is a slight preference for cool season grass.
Three is to ask yourself whether or not your lawn will get a lot of sun, or is it more situated in the shade?
- When your lawn is generally sunny you can best consider a blend of improved Kentucky bluegrass or a mixture of bluegrass and fine fescue
- When the lawn receives a fair amount of shade, the mixture should contain a higher percentage of fine fescue
Four is to know if you will have a considerable amount of traffic and play on the lawn. In that case, best use a mixture of Kentucky bluegrass with a high percentage of improved perennial ryegrass.
The last thing you’ll have to do, is to check that you buy quality seed. Be wary of low-cost mixtures, as they often contain common, low-quality grasses. The improved grasses will cost a bit more, but this will guarantee the quality of your lawn.
A lot of information can be found on the seed label.
Check for a trade name for the variety, rather than a general description. Avoid packages that state ‘VNS’ or Variety Not Stated.
Make sure that the weed content is not higher than 5% and that the germination percentage number for Kentucky bluegrass is at least 75%, and 85 % for perennial ryegrass and fine fescue.
Avoid boxes or bags that list annual grasses (which don’t belong in a lawn) of more than 5% by weight of the container.
A quality seed mixture should be free of bent grass and rough bluegrass.