Go for a classic fescue-bent mix – but only if you are prepared for regular lawn treatments, scarification and aeration to keep it in rude health.
Fast to germinate, this is a robust type of grass. Agricultural ryegrasses can be quite coarse but the ones bred especially for lawns are fine leaved and very easy to grow.
Whether you are repairing or replacing a lawn, choosing the right seedmix is imperative. So what IS the best grass seed for your lawn?
For front gardens and ornamental lawns
Fescues are great for shade tolerance but you’ll also need a more hard-wearing species alongside them. Take a look at Harrowden Turf’s “Shadesman” seed. It’s slow-growing too – so less mowing for you. Or, for a finer-leaved lawn, choose a mix with around 70% fescues
The STRI (Sports Turf Research Institute) is based in Bingley in Yorkshire and every year it grows test areas of hundreds of different cultivars. The grasses are monitored carefully throughout the year and scored on lots of different criteria. The tests are run for grasses that are maintained at specific lengths so that you can see how well a cultivar adapts to close mowing.
As a rule of thumb, choose your grass species for their functionality rather than their looks. A healthy lawn is almost always a good looking one. Go for grass species that thrive in your soil type and cope well with the way you want to use and care for your lawn.
Grass seed is just the same. We have the overall family with the latin name Graminae. That covers all grasses including wheat, barley, ornamental grasses and lawn grasses.
The Bad: While zoysia grass boasts a few attributes, there are many downsides. One drawback is that zoysia will not stay green year-round in our climate. Zoysia grass will look its best for about three months of the year, and zoysia lawns lose the desired green hue around mid-autumn. Often, the lawn will stay brown well into Spring, which is a deal breaker for some. So, if year-round color is a must for you, you may want to think twice before choosing zoysia grass. Zoysia will not tolerate heavy traffic during these dormant periods. Another negative is the very poor shade tolerance under trees. Yards with sun and shade areas would require shade beds under trees or choosing a different type of grass seed to grow in shade.
Zoysia is a warm-season grass. Around here, in the Midwest, zoysia grass is a popular choice at golf courses, but not so much for homeowners. However, there are most definitely pros and cons of zoysia grass. The final decision ultimately comes down to what you personally value and strive for from your home lawn.
The Good: The one major appeal is that it is fairly low maintenance. Zoysia grass also makes for a durable lawn as it is resistant to weeds, insects, and diseases that would be bad news for other types of grass. Zoysia is an extremely aggressive spreading grass that can literally choke out weeds. Zoysia is pleasant on the eyes and feet. It tends to have a soft, fine texture and is naturally low-growing.
The Ugly: The aggressive nature of zoysia can also be labeled invasive. Be prepared to deal with picky neighbors, should your zoysia lawn spread into their property. Zoysia grass is also prone to thatch problems, therefore routine annual de-thatching and aerification are required. Here in the Midwest, zoysia seed has a difficult time establishing because of our cool soil temperatures. Thus, most people who choose zoysia grass must plant it in plugs or sod during the summer months. This can get pricey. And lastly, zoysia grass sometimes takes two to three years to fill out and reach the desired density. It may be low maintenance, but if immediate results are what you want, zoysia grass may not be for you.
Kentucky bluegrass flourishes throughout the Northeast and the entire northern tier of states. For generations of grass enthusiasts, Kentucky bluegrass has epitomized the ideal lawn. This cool-season, perennial grass delivers finely textured, deep-emerald-green blades and the hardiness needed for cold northern winters.
One region presents special challenges for all lawn grasses. Known to lawn care professionals and enthusiasts as the transition zone, this area covers the central tier of states from the Atlantic Coast west through Kansas. Different climatic zones —cool, warm, humid and arid — collide in this region. Winters are too cold for warm-season grass survival, and summers are too hot for cool-season types. Pennington university partners at the University of Arkansas Agriculture Research and Extension lead research and development of heat-tolerant cool-season grasses and cold-tolerant warm-season grasses suitable for transition zone rigors.
Bahiagrass provides homeowners in the Deep South and Coastal regions with low-maintenance, all-purpose lawns. More coarse than any cool-season grass, Bahiagrass has good disease- and pest-resistant qualities, establishes easily and offers outstanding drought and heat tolerance. Sun-loving Pennington Pensacola Bahiagrass is perfect for the Southern Coastal Plain and Gulf Coast. Lower growing and low-maintenance Pennington Argentine Bahiagrass wins favor from Florida through the Texas coast, as it teams finer texture, improved density and deeper color with durability and drought resistance.
Oregon State University research shows ryegrasses are naturally resistant to cool-season diseases that strike grasses in rainy coastal winters. Fine fescues with greater cold and shade tolerance than tall fescue grasses also excel. 3 Pennington Smart Seed Pacific Northwest Mix provides an optimal balance of these regionally-suited grasses.