Gardening is a top hobby among Americans of all ages. While we all know someone who would spend their entire day in a nursery, picking out the perfect flowers and vegetables for their home garden, not as many pay the same attention while buying grass seed.
It’s pretty surprising how many people don’t know the first thing about picking the right grass seed. This may be because lawns are often underrated despite being one of the most crucial features of your property. Plenty of people believe all grass is the same, tall and green. However, there is much more to it than that.
Before you seed your lawn, you need to pick the best grass seed that suits your climate, soil conditions, and more. Don’t just blindly follow the retailer’s suggestion, do the research yourself.
The “Traffic” on Your Green Carpet:
It is vital to understand the kind of lawn you want to create, but it’s also essential to keep in mind the realities. Do you plan on having pool parties with your kids? Do you just want to sit in a chair on your lawn and sip a cup of coffee? Are you a social butterfly who hosts extravagant summer get-togethers, attended by friends and family? Do you have pets (especially dogs)?
This kind of information helps determine how much footfall your lawn will face. Delicate grasses cannot sustain themselves if they are subject to too much wear and tear, especially without intensive repair therapies. Alternatively, self-mending grasses, like the Kentucky bluegrass, will not become completely “shaved” even if your children play in the lawn often.
Some grass types are incredibly high maintenance. They need you to provide plenty of sunshine (or, in some cases, protect them from long hours of sun exposure), water them often, mow, fertilize, replace patches, and the list goes on. That said, a lot of species, like fescues, do not require such heavy maintenance.
These species tend to be naturally resistant to bugs/fungi and thus are not prone to as many diseases. They also have medium to low water requirements and can thrive in a wide range of conditions. As a result, it often comes down to just how much time and money you can spend on your personal green spaces.
Whether you want to take care of your lawn yourself or hire a professional, be sure to research different lawn care cost factors to get an idea of just how much time and money your lawn may require. Some important factors include the type and length of your grass, the time of year, and whether you want additional services, like pest control or landscape edging.
Climate is one of the most important factors affecting grass growth and the right grass seed for your lawn. Let’s take a look at the various grass types found across the US.
These grasses grow well in areas that get cold during winters and moderately hot during summers. Remember that for grass to germinate, it’s best to plant it when the soil temperature is above 50°F.
- Kentucky Bluegrass is found in cooler areas that receive plenty of rainfall during the year and it has more than 200 specific classifications. Widely used as lawn grass and also in sporting fields, it requires up to two years after the first seeding before it is well established. It also requires fertilizers, especially during spring and autumn seasons, to stay at its healthiest. Due to the lengthy establishment rate, its common to find this grass seed mixed in with other species.
- Tall Fescue can usually be identified by its coarse blades and clumping growth pattern. Jonathan Green Black Beauty Tall Fescues however have a much more uniform growth habit and a good dark green color. Unlike most other cool-season grasses, tall fescue has a relatively high heat tolerance due to its deep roots. This characteristic can make it an ideal year-round grass, depending on your area. Tall fescue also germinates quickly, and it’s easy to contain because of its limited capacity to spread.
- Ryegrass, similar to tall fescue, also germinates quickly and spreads slowly due to its limited rhizome capabilities. Maintaining it is more demanding though. It has higher watering and fertilizing needs, and it also requires frequent irrigation during hot periods and droughts to maintain its color.
Warm Season Grasses
These grass species are ideal for places that face extreme summers and milder winters, such as the lower half of the United States. Be aware however that the humidity of your region will also affect the growth of these grasses.
- Bahia Grass is a tropical grass that is ideal if your area has a high pest and infestation rate. This grass is a grass-war survivor. It can thrive in poor soil conditions with little to no maintenance. However, when it’s time to mow the lawn, you may want a professional to do it, considering its rough and coarse texture.
- If you’re on a tight budget, be sure to check out Bermuda Grass as it’s relatively cost-effective. This unusual grass species is known by other names such as couch grass or devil grass, and it’s native to the Eastern Hemisphere. It does require plenty of sunlight, but you don’t have to do much of anything as it requires little to no maintenance.
- Zoysia Grass is a dense, warm-season grass that is extremely popular in the lower half of the US. It is commonly used on golf courses and parks because it tolerates high heat and foot traffic well. Zoysia does best in full sun with about an inch of water per week.
Some Final Thoughts
Even if you live somewhere that isn’t excessively hot or cold, there are a lot of options available for grass seeds that’ll thrive. You can get hybrid grass seeds, or a grass seed mixtures with more than one species to promote strong grass growth.
As always, it’s important to keep in mind the sun exposure your grass will get, because some species grow well in partial shades, while some refuse to remain healthy unless they receive uninterrupted sunlight for specific hours during the day. Before planting you should also consider the amount of water that your lawn will require. However, with a bit of love and upkeep, you can have a beautiful lawn!