Explainer: What Are the Types of Grass Seed?

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A beautiful lawn or golf course starts with grass seed. With so many different types of grass seed, knowing what will grow in your region is challenging. And once you've chosen the grass seed, the work begins.

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You'll need to make sure you plant it at the right time, have a good mowing schedule and make sure it's adequately watered. Weed control is also important. Different species of grass seed need different care. Do some research on the seed you choose, and have a healthy lawn.

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Grass Seed for the Northeast

Kentucky bluegrass, ryegrass and fescue are cool-season grasses. They thrive in the Northeast, and can withstand the diseases that are common in this region.

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Fescue grass is turfgrass and is naturally disease resistant. It actually hosts a type of fungus called endophytes.

The epitome of a beautiful lawn in the Northeast comes with Kentucky bluegrass. It has deep green blades and is hardy enough to handle cold weather. Although it spreads aggressively, it does have a shallow root system. As a result, it greens faster when blended with ryegrass seed.

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Mid-Western Grass Seed

Although there's some humidity like in the Northeast, the Midwest usually experiences arid conditions. Tall fescue and perennial ryegrass are the best grass seed for this environment.

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Tall fescue does well under arid conditions and is drought tolerant.

Perennial ryegrass has quick germination and therefore quickly establishes itself. It is cool-season and has a deep-green blade. It does require watering during drought, or it will go dormant.

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Consider also​: Perennials vs. Annuals for Curb Appeal

Southwest Grass Seed

The Southwest is challenging when it comes to growing a healthy lawn. There are low and high-desert climates. This area has a combination of alkaline soil and saline water. But although it does have various altitudes and intense heat with bright sun, Bermuda grass does well with adequate watering. In addition, it's resilient grass seed. And overseeding Bermuda grass will frequently increase winter color.

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With so many different types of grass seed, knowing what will grow in your region is challenging.

Grass Seed for the Gulf Coast

Bahia grass is a low-maintenance grass. It thrives in coastal regions where there is more than eight hours of sun daily. It also does where soil is low-quality.

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Centipede grass is low maintenance, and since it's aggressive against weeds, you don't need to worry about weed control. Because it doesn't have a dormant period, it stays a light green all year. In addition, it stands up to foot traffic well since it is a dense grass.

Northwest Grass Seed

There are varied climates in the Northwest. In the eastern portion of the Northwest, like Wyoming and Montana, Kentucky bluegrass is preferred. It's a cool-season grass that can tolerate the arid climate.

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But on the western side of the Northwest, ryegrasses can resist common cool-season diseases during the rainy winter.

Tall fescue grows best in wet environments. So, it's able to tolerate the moist northwest winters as well. Although it does grow best in the wet areas, it is still drought resistant and is common throughout the U.S.

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Grass Seed for Southeast

Warm season grasses are prevalent in the Southeast. With its sub-tropical heat, drought tolerant grasses like Bermuda, St. Augustine and ryegrass are common.

Usually grown in Florida, St. Augustine grass is salt tolerant and suited for humid areas. Growing well on various soil types, it is a compact blue-green color. St. Augustine is the most used turfgrass in the south.

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Bermuda is extremely heat, sun and drought tolerant. It turns brown during its winter dormancy but greens up again in the spring. Southern homeowners often overseed their Bermuda grass with ryegrass. This gives the Bermuda grass a winter color.

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Best Warm-Season Grass

A warm-season grass starts its active growth in the spring. It then peaks in the summer and prefers temperatures between 80 and 95 degrees. Zoysia, Bermuda grass and centipede are warm-weather grasses.

Bermuda grass is a great warm-weather grass. It's drought-tolerant and hardy. Zoysia grass, which is native to Asia, is a perennial. It is best for the hot, humid climates.

Best Cool-Season Grass

Cool-season grasses grow well in regions that experience temperature fluctuations. This includes hot, dry summers and cold, freezing winters. It prefers temperatures to be between 60 and 75 degrees. You'll find this grass in the upper regions of the U.S.

Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, fine fescue and tall fescue are common cool-season grasses. The most popular is Kentucky bluegrass.

Perennial ryegrass grows in bunches and germinates quickly after seeding. The downside is that because it is bunch-type, it's non-spreading.

Kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass are often combined to create a more lush green lawn.

Full Sun Grass Seed

Although it is high maintenance, Kentucky bluegrass does well in full sun.

Zoysia is a full sun, low-maintenance grass. It's dense and overpowers weeds. It's also great at fighting disease.

Tall fescue is a cool-season grass but is drought tolerant because it has a deep root system. And finally, the hardy Bermuda grass is excellent in full sun. It is drought tolerant and recovers from damage quickly. Bermuda grass will quickly fill in a bare area. It is one of the best grasses for full sun.

Shade Tolerant Grass Seed

For shaded areas, you'll want to steer toward cool-season grass. Tall fescue will do well in the shade. And although Kentucky bluegrass does well in full sun, it also tolerates shade very well. Zoysia grass is a warm-season grass that does well in the shade.

Best Grass Seed for Golf Courses

Because golf courses receive a lot of foot traffic, they must have dense and hardy grass. They're also predominantly in the sun, so they must have full-sun tolerant grass. But depending on what region of the country you're golfing in, you may find different types.

Florida and the Southeast golf courses primarily use Bermuda grass. It's drought-tolerant and dense. It holds up under direct sun and hot, humid conditions. One plus for golf courses is that Bermuda can be mowed short or tall. This is perfect for the various grass heights a golf course requires.

If you are in Ohio, you're probably playing on Bentgrass. Bentgrass is a cool-season grass and can tolerate the colder winters that Bermuda can't. Bentgrass can also handle the various grass heights and can be cut short.

Bentgrass is durable and thick. It can hold up to the rugged foot traffic that comes with golf. Regardless if you're walking or riding a cart, Bentgrass bounces back.

Consider also​: Economical Effects of Landscaping on Property Values

Planting Grass Seed

Plant warm-season and cool-season grasses at different times. For instance, warm-season grasses like Bermuda, centipede, St. Augustine, zoysia and other turfgrasses must be planted in late spring or early summer.

Cool-season grass like Kentucky bluegrass, tall fescue, perennial ryegrass, etc. should be planted in late summer or early fall. Plant before temperatures go below freezing.

When to Aerate Grass

Because grassroots need air and water, aeration is required when soil becomes compacted. Aeration creates holes in the ground. This allows the water and air to reach the grass's roots. If a lawn is not aerated, it will become more stressed during periods of drought or heat. This will hamper its growth and reduce its vibrant green color.

Aerate in the early fall or early spring if you have cool-season grass. Warm-season grasses should have aeration in the late spring or early summer.

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