Who doesn’t love a green, sprawling lawn and the scent of freshly mowed grass – these are some of the pleasures of a summer day. But these splendid lawns don’t appear magically.

There are numerous factors to consider when planning a lawn or improving its look. Types of grass and grass seed, climate, site geography, these all play into having a beautiful green expanse.

This article will examine a variety of grasses, how to plant grass seed, and what to consider when choosing the best grass seed products currently available.

Types of grass seed

The one-size-fits-all approach won’t work when it comes to grass seed. It’s necessary to take a few factors into consideration such as climate, the anticipated wear and tear, and the amount of sun and shade.

The climate is important as different types of grass seed thrive better in certain temperatures than others.

Wear and tear make a great difference – will the lawn be used for sports activities or display?

What’s the amount of sun and shade the area receives? What daily water requirements are acceptable? How quickly are results desired? And perhaps most importantly, how much time do you want to spend maintaining your lawn?

Grass seed is usually divided into two main types, cool and warm season, with a transition zone combining the two.

1. Cool Season Grass Seed

This type of grass will thrive in areas with temperature fluctuations of cold winters and hot summers. In the upper two-thirds of the United States, for example, the best seeds to sow are cool-season seeds as they grow best in temperatures between 60F and 75F.

Cool-season seeds grow rapidly in the spring and fall and are shade and drought tolerant. However, they will turn brown in the prolonged summer heat. Some common types of cool-season grasses are Perennial ryegrass, tall or fine Fescue, and Bluegrass.

2. Warm Season Grass Seed

Warm-season seeds, on the other hand, need sun and warm temperatures between 75F to 90F to thrive. They are the best choice for the lower third of the United States.

These seeds grow in summer, but become dormant in winter, only to green up again as spring arrives. They are heat and drought tolerant. Some common types are Bermuda Grass, Bahia, or St Augustine.

3. Transition Zone Grass Seed

The central tier of the United States is considered a transition zone between the cold and warm seasons. In this zone, winters are too cold for warm-season seeds and summers are too hot for cool-season seeds.

In this case, you must look for cool-season seeds, like Tall Fescue, which are heat tolerant and develop deep roots for drought and heat protection.

Also, there are some types of warm-season seeds that are cold tolerant, like Zoysia. So, a mix of these types of seed may be the best choice for a transition zone.

The Best Grass Seed Products

There are several grass seed products available. Some are called turf builders as they include fertilizers, some are grass seed mixes to accommodate different climates, and some are designed to renew dead grass patches.

Generally speaking, a mix will contain different types of grass seed, while a blend is a combination of different varieties of the same type of seed.

Blends and mixes can provide a fuller look to your lawn and offer a higher level of resistance to disease than straight seed.

Choosing the right seed, blend or mix, not only gives you a beautiful lawn but can be critical in reducing soil erosion, filtering groundwater and improving air quality.

Let’s look at some of the most popular choices!

1. Scotts EZ Patch and Repair

scotts grass seed patch and repair

Price range: Medium

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PROs
  • absorbs and retains water longer than other brands;
  • comes in 4 types.
CONs
  • there are some complaints about the seeds’ quality.

This preparation is a combination of grass seed, mulch, and fertilizer and is meant for patching difficult areas rather than replacing a full lawn.

The pack includes a tackifier that helps to prevent seeds from washing away. The product releases nutrients into the soil and germinates quickly. Scotts EZ seed comes in 4 LB to forty LB packages, plus a 2 LB bag made specially to repair dog spots.

The 20LB bag provides seed for an area of 445 feet.

TypeSeasonResistanceLight RequirementsWatering Needs
Sun and ShadeA mix designed to grow anywhereWithstands high trafficFull sun to dense shadeModerate
Tall FescueCool-season and transition grassWithstands moderate trafficFull to partial sunLow, high-drought resistant
Bermuda grassWarm-season grassWithstands fine to medium level of foot trafficRequires full sunLow, high-drought resistant
Centipede grassWarm-season grassWithstands only light foot trafficFull sun to partial shadeModerate

⇒ Read the Customer Reviews

2. Pennington Smart Seed, Sun and Shade

pennington grass seed sun and shade

Price range: Low

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PROs
  • drought tolerant requires less watering;
  • combines both Tall Fescue and Kentucky Bluegrass seeds.
CONs
  • some customers are complaining about the seeds’ quality;
  • susceptible to disease.

This seed mix combines grass seeds (Tall Fescue and Kentucky Bluegrass) that perform well in both sun and shade. It is considered drought-tolerant and thus, uses up to 30% less watering. It germinates quickly and produces a thick green lawn.

Pennington grass seed is protected by Penkoted technology which protects the seed from fungus infections. A 7 lb bag is enough seed to cover 2300 square feet. This product is well rated by Amazon’s customers with 40% of reviewers giving it 5 stars.

TypeSeasonResistanceLight RequirementsWatering Needs
Tall FescueCool-season and transition grassWithstands moderate trafficFull to partial sunLow, high-drought resistant
Kentucky BluegrassCool-season grassWithstands high traffic, often used for parks and golf coursesPerforms best in full sunMedium requires frequent irrigation in the summer months

⇒ Read the Customer Reviews

3. Jonathan Green Black Beauty Ultra Grass Seed

black beauty grass seed

Price range: Low

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PROs
  • good for sandy soil or soil with high clay content;
  • drought-resistant;
  • resists insects and disease.
CONs
  • on the more expensive side.

Black Beauty grass seed is a mix of Tall Fescue, Kentucky Bluegrass and Perennial Ryegrass and is best used in cool-season and transition areas.

It is disease resistant and drought tolerant and the blades have a waxy coating that preserves moisture in hot weather. Roots reach 4 inches. The 7 LB bag provides coverage for 2800 square feet.

TypeSeasonResistanceLight RequirementsWatering Needs
Tall FescueCool-season and transitional grassWithstands moderate trafficFull to partial sunLow, high-drought resistant
Kentucky BluegrassCool-season grassWithstands high trafficPerforms best in full sunMedium, requires frequent irrigation in summer months
Perennial RyegrassCool-season grassWithstands high trafficFull sun and partial shadeHigh, needs a lot of water to maintain color

⇒ Read the Customer Reviews

4. Gulf Kist Premium Centipede Grass Seed Mix

gulf centipede grass seed

Price range: Medium

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PROs
  • thick texture, best in sun but adapts to shade.
CONs
  • low traffic;
  • slow-growing.

This Centipede grass is a coated grass seed, so no added mulch is needed. Centipede grass is best for hot climates and tolerates hot sun and acidic soil.

It is low maintenance and claims to have no true dormancy period so it won’t go brown in cooler weather. It should be planted when the soil is consistently 70F and then kept moist for 2 to 3 weeks.

TypeNameResistanceLight RequirementsWatering needs
Centipede GrassWarm-Season GrassWithstands only light foot trafficFull and partial sunModerate

⇒ Read the Customer Reviews

5. Scotts Turf Builder Sun and Shade Mix

scotts turf builder gras seed

Price range: Low

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PROs
  • lower cost;
  • good for beginners;
  • good for drought-prone areas.
CONs
  • may contain some weeds.

Scotts’ turf builder is a product that combines synthetic fertilizer with grass seed. Its Water Smart Plus Coating absorbs twice as much water as other seeds, provides nutrients for the seed and protects seedlings from disease.

This Scotts product is their most versatile grass seed mix. It claims that lawns treated with this turf builder will stay green in dense shade and hot sun.

TypeSeasonResistanceLight RequirementsWatering Needs
Creeping Red FescueCool-season grassWithstands low trafficAreas of heavy shadeLow irrigation needed once established
Kentucky BluegrassCool-season grassWithstands high trafficPerforms best in full sunMedium, requires frequent irrigation in summer months
Perennial RyegrassCool-season grassWithstands high trafficFull sun and partial shadeHigh, needs a lot of water to maintain color

⇒ Read the Customer Reviews

6. Zenith Zoysia Grass Seed

zoysia grass seeds

Price range: High

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PROs
  • drought resistant;
  • thick green lawn.
CONs
  • more expensive.

This product from Patten Seed Company is pure seed, not mixed with mulch or fertilizer. It is a seed often used in warm-season to upper transition zones for both commercial and residential properties. It is highly adaptable from full sun to light shade and provides a dark green, dense growth.

A 2- pound bag covers 2000 square feet. Amazon.com customers are mixed in their opinions but 45% of reviewers who assigned 5 stars claim that as long the seed is planted when the soil is consistently warm and is very well watered, the products nets excellent results.

TypeNameResistanceLight RequirementsWatering needs
ZoysiaWarm-Season GrassWithstands high foot trafficFull sun to light shadeModerate, drought-tolerant once germinated

⇒ Read the Customer Reviews

7. Water Saver RTF Grass Seed Mix

water saver grass seed

Price range: Medium

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PROs
  • fast-growing;
  • good for dry areas.
CONs
  • may contain weeds.

The WaterSaver Grass Seed Mixture is a self-repairing, turf-type tall fescue seed. RTF refers to seeds that establish a deep root system by producing lateral rhizomes. This causes shoots to spread laterally, filling in bare spots and providing a dense lawn.

It grows well in both sun and shade. Five to ten pounds provide 1000 square foot coverage.

TypeNameResistanceLight RequirementsWatering needs
RTF Tall FescueTransition Zone GrassWithstands moderate trafficAdapts to the hot sun and cold wintersLow, drought-tolerant

⇒ Read the Customer Reviews

8. X-Seed Ultra Premium Seed Mix

premium grass seed mix

Price range: High

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PROs
  • germinates and grows quickly;
  • withstands high traffic.
CONs
  • slightly less dense than other products.

The X-Seed Premium lawn seed is a mix of three grass seed types (Creeping Red Fescue, Kentucky Bluegrass, and Perennial Ryegrass) and works best in the transition and cool-season zones.

 

TypeSeasonResistanceLight RequirementsWatering Needs
Creeping Red FescueCool-season grassWithstands low trafficAreas of heavy shadeLow irrigation needed once established
Kentucky BluegrassCool-season grassWithstands high trafficPerforms best in full sunMedium, requires frequent irrigation in summer months
Perennial RyegrassCool-season grassWithstands high trafficFull sun and partial shadeHigh, needs a lot of water to maintain color

⇒ Read the Customer Reviews

9. GreenView Fairway Formula Perennial Ryegrass

perennial ryegrass seed

Price range: Medium

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PROs
  • organic seed;
  • high germination rate;
  • does well in both sun and shade.
CONs
  • does not perform as well in very dry climates.

The GreenView grass seed has a high germination rate and produces a hardy, resilient, lush green lawn which can withstand heavy traffic.

It is 100% seed with no fillers or mulch.

TypeNameResistanceLight RequirementsWatering needs
Perennial RyegrassCool-Season GrassWithstands high trafficFull sun to partial shadeHigh, needs a lot of water to maintain its color

⇒ Read the Customer Reviews

10. Jacklin Seed – Heisman Mix, Kentucky Bluegrass

Jacklin seed mix

Price range: Medium

Check price
PROs
  • fast germination;
  • lush green blades;
  • good for cool and transition zones.
CONs
  • not drought-tolerant;
  • may affect some asthma sufferers.

This mix from Jacklin Seed contains 85% Kentucky Bluegrass and 15% Perennial Ryegrass.

The Ryegrass provides quick germination, the Kentucky Bluegrass fills in with durable blades which eventually will crowd out the Ryegrass for a dense looking lawn.

A 10-pound will yield enough seed to plant a 4000 square foot lawn.

TypeSeasonResistanceLight RequirementsWatering Needs
Perennial RyegrassCool-season grassWithstands high trafficFull sun to partial shadeHigh, needs a lot of water to maintain its color
Kentucky BluegrassCool-season grassWithstands high trafficPerforms best in full sunMedium requires frequent irrigation in the summer months

⇒ Read the Customer Reviews

How To Plant Grass Seed

1. Identify your growing region

The first thing to identify when getting ready to plant your lawn is your growing region.

If you live in a cool-season area, the best time to sow grass seeds is in the Fall when the temperature corresponds with the seeds’ most active growth period. The second best time for cool-season seeds is Springtime when daytime temperatures have consistently reached 60F to 75F.

Conversely, warm-season areas should be sowed in Spring and early Summer when temperatures reach 80F. In addition to climate, issues like traffic, water requirements, etc. all come into play.

2. Prepare your site

To prepare the site, it is recommended that a soil sample be taken to determine if the soil has the proper nutrients and pH for successful planting. There are soil labs and municipalities which will perform this test, so you will know if your soil requires any amendments.

It is important to till the soil, with a rake or other aerator. Aeration is needed, along with water, for grass seeds to grow. Remove rocks and organic matter, loosening two to three inches of soil and lightly spread grass seed, working it into the soil to a depth of approximately ¼ inch.

If your goal is to improve the overall health of your lawn and/or cover bare spots, you can “overseed”, which means adding seeds to existing lawns.

3. Plant your seeds and take care of them

Regardless of your objective, proper watering is key to the grass seeds germinating and growing. After planting, the soil should be consistently moist (not soggy). Avoid making puddles. Water 2 to 3 times per day in the first period until the seeds begin to germinate. Once the grass is growing, slowly reduce watering.

Limit traffic on the newly sowed site until the grass is well-established. When the grass reaches at least 3 inches high, it’s time to start mowing!

Conclusion

Grass seed types and lawn care are wide and varying topics. We have examined the issues to consider when planting or reviving a lawn and there is a multitude of seeds and products to help with this task.

A quick search will reveal which seeds are best for which climate, sunshine or shade, soil types, commercial or residential use, and many other uses. We would love to hear about your experience with growing the perfect lawn…or not!

I hope this article has been helpful to you.

About the Author - Gail Edwards

I have been a fan of indoor plants for over 40 yearsand have over 60 plants in my home. I bought my first plant, a Schefflera, when I was a teenager and slowly began collecting and propagating different varieties of plants. Now that I am retired, I also devote time to an outdoor flower garden and a vegetable garden in the summer months. I live in Canada where the

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