Planting grass seed can be a matter of repairing small patches of a yard or starting a whole yard from scratch. Many variables impact the choice of grass seed including the condition and type of soil in the yard, the climate and amount of precipitation in the location, the appearance the homeowner desires and the amount of care and maintenance he or she is willing to perform. The best grass seed will be one that is designed for the temperatures in the area and the amount of shade and sunlight in the yard. Once the seed is planted, the area will need daily, and in some cases twice daily, watering to be sure the seed germinates, and the plants become established.
1. What Are The Kinds Of Grass Seed?
Grass seeds fall into two categories: those that will grow in cooler temperatures, and those that will only grow in warm temperatures. The warm temperature grasses include Bahia, Zoysia, St. Augustine, and Bermuda grasses. Grasses for cooler climates include ryegrass, fescue grasses, and Kentucky bluegrass. Some seed products contain only one kind of seed, some are a mixture of seeds that complement each other, and some contain filler, mulch, or coatings that will help the seed to take root and the grass to become established.
2. How Can You Choose The Best Grass Seed?
You will need to know what kind of soil you have, and what it will take to prepare it for grass seed. You will need to evaluate the sunlight levels in your yard and determine if you need seed developed especially for shady areas. You will want a grass that flourishes in your part of the country. Talking to landscapers and looking around your neighborhood will help you identify what kind of grass will work in your yard. With all that information at hand, you will be ready to select the best grass seed to meet your needs. Knowing the square footage of your lawn will help you to purchase the right amount of seed. Every seed in our review indicates its coverage area so you can determine how much you will need for your yard.
3. What Other Factors Affect The Choice For The Best Grass Seed?
Germination times vary somewhat for different grasses. Each seed gives a range of days that you can expect it to take for the seeds to germinate. This may be anywhere from three to 30 days. During that time period, you will need to water according to the directions that accompany your grass seed. This is essential for a successful experience and should be considered before making your choice and before getting started.
How We Reviewed The Best Grass Seed
We selected a variety of the best grass seed to meet the needs of a variety of light and climate conditions as well as special needs such as repairing damage from dog urine or planting a temporary lawn. We identified top brands that stand behind their product and provide the information needed to use their products successfully.
Overall Price Range
The grass seeds in this review range from around $ a pound to around $$$ a pound. Each brand specifies the coverage area for its product. Some seeds come with filler, coatings, and mulch, and some are all seed. All of these variables affect the price. Most of the seeds in this review were in the $ to $$ range, and we have given them a $ rating for price. Two were in the $$ to $$$ range, and we rated them $$$ for price. All are available from Amazon.com.
Our Choices For The Best Grass Seed
Zenith Zoysia Grass Seed
The Zenith Zoysia Grass Seed comes in a two-pound bag and will seed up to 2000 square feet. The seed will produce a dense, dark green lawn that is drought resistant, hardy in both extreme cold and hot temperatures, and shade tolerant. The turfgrass is a dense, slow-growing grass that is low maintenance. Zenith Zoysia is suitable for home lawns, commercial landscapes, golf course fairways, tees and roughs, and sports fields. It is rated for zones 5b to 11a on the Plant Hardiness Zone Map and for zones 1-4 on the Turfgrass Hardiness Map. It may be planted once the danger of frost has passed and when the soil temperature is at least 60 degrees.
Pennington Smart Seed Dense Shade Grass Seed Mix - 7 LB
Pennington Smart Seed Dense Shade Grass Seed Mix is a blend of grass seed varieties that will grow well in shady areas. This grass seed is intended for lawns or lawn areas that receive less than three hours of direct sun each day. The seed is drought resistant and guaranteed to produce a fine-bladed grass that will require less water and maintenance once established. The seven-pound bag will seed an area from 1000 to 1750 square feet. The seeds have been treated to prevent fungus and disease and will germinate in seven to ten days.
Scotts Turf Builder Quick Fix Mix - Two 3-lb. Bags
This Scotts Turf Builder Quick Fix Fix Mix comes packaged with two, three-pound bags designed to cover up to 750 square feet. This is one of Scott's many turf builder products and is intended to produce a fast-growing turf for a temporary lawn. It provides a quick fix for bare spots in a lawn and is 99.5% weed-free. This seed will produce a ground cover and help prevent erosion control. It germinates quickly to produce grass for one season.
Kentucky 31 Fescue Grass Seed - 5 lb. Pkg.
The Kentucky 31 Fescue Grass seed comes in a five-pound package to cover about 1000 square feet. This grass has been developed for fast germination and for grass that develops a deep root system. This seed is adaptable to a variety of soils and soil conditions from acid to alkaline in dry or poorly drained locations and rocky or sandy conditions. It can withstand heat and drought and tolerate a wide temperature range from hot summers to cold winters. It is disease resistant and produces a lawn that can withstand heavy traffic and recreational use.
Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed - Pennsylvania State Mix
The Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed - Pennsylvania State Mix has been specially developed to grow well in Pennsylvania lawns. It has a WaterSmart Plus coating for increased water absorption, protection from disease and for feeding with essential nutrients. This coating helps the seeds retain enough moisture that they can withstand missing an occasional day of watering. The grass will grow in thick to keep out dandelions and crabgrass and will stay green in both extremely sunny and extremely shady areas. This seed will germinate in five to 10 days and take 30 to 60 days to become fully established.
Pennington 100526673 Smart Seed
Pennington 100526673 Smart Seed Sun and Shade Grass Seed comes in a 20-pound bag to cover about 6600 square feet. This seed has been developed to produce a thick, fine-bladed, dark blue-green grass and to require about 30% less water than other grass seeds. It will grow well in moderately shady to sunny areas and do best with four to eight hours of full sun a day. It will germinate in seven to fourteen days. Its exclusive Penkoted technology promotes plant growth.
X-Seed Ultra Premium Quick & Thick Lawn Seed Mixture
X-Seed Ultra Premium Quick and Thick Lawn Seed Mixture comes in a 20-pound bag that will cover 14,000 square feet in existing lawns or 7,000 in new lawns. This seed is formulated for growing in the central and northern regions of the U.S. in both sun and shade areas. It contains a blend of 55% turf-type perennial ryegrass, 30% fine fescue, and 15% improved Kentucky bluegrass. The mixture contains no coatings or filler. This seed will germinate fast and will quickly fill in existing turf.
Jonathan Green 10322 Black Beauty Ultra Grass Seed
Jonathan Green 10322 Black Beauty Ultra Grass Seed in a seven-pound bag will cover up to 2800 square feet. This seed mix contains Black Beauty tall fescues, elite Kentucky bluegrass, and elite perennial ryegrass, and it produces grass with a dark green color. This seed will grow well in clay or sandy soils and in either full sun or partial shade. Its invisible waxy coating helps to prevent disease and to retain moisture for good drought resistance. The seed mix is formulated for fast germination.
Scotts EZ Seed Sun & Shade 17530 Dog Spot Repair
Scotts EZ Seed Sun & Shade 17530 Dog Spot Repair comes in a two-pound container that serves as an applicator for sprinkling the seed. This product is a combination of mulch, grass seed, and soil enhancements especially intended to repair pet damage and grow grass in difficult areas. The mulch helps to absorb water and protect the seed by surrounding it with a moist layer. The soil amendment has a special salt neutralizer to repair spots in the yard that have been burned by dog urine. There is also a tackifier that prevents the seed from washing away. This container can treat up to 100 spots damaged by pets. Watering areas planted with this seed twice a day is recommended for at least three weeks.
Nature's Seed TURF-FF-500-F Fine Fescue Grass Seeds
Nature's Seed TURF-FF-500-F Fine Fescue Grass Seed is a mix of low growing fescue seeds that contains 25% hard fescue, 25% sheep fescue, 25% Chewing's fescue and 25% creeping fescue. This blend has been developed to require less water and be more shade tolerant than other varieties of grass. This seed is adaptable to poor soil conditions and doesn't require much fertilizer. It is especially recommended for planting in areas across the northern portion of the country because it thrives in cooler temperatures. A four-pound package of this seed will cover about 500 square feet.
Planting an entire yard from grass seed may seem like a big job and a big investment, but within a few weeks of planting, the grass should become established, and you will have a lawn that will last many years. Any new lawn takes lots of watering, whether you plant seeds or lay sod, but starting from seed is a more economical option. When you have identified the issues that you will face in starting the grass seed, you will be ready to make a selection. Our list of the best grass seed has excellent options for northern yards, for warm climates, for areas that don't get much water, and for shady yards.
We also have selected the best grass seed for a temporary lawn that will help prevent erosion but not be perennial. Dog urine creates spots that need attention, and there is a special product that is the best grass seed to meet that challenge. Sometimes a lawn has become thin and tired and needs thickening. Grass seed is the ideal way to enhance an existing yard. The importance of choosing seed that is right for your area is reinforced by one of the Scotts products on our list that was specially developed for Pennsylvania!
The key for you to choose the best grass seed for your project is to know the scope of what you want to accomplish, the type of grass that you want for your area, the amount of shade and sunlight in your yard, and the size of your yard. Then, it's just a matter of planting and watering and waiting for the seeds to germinate.