We all want to be in a shaded garden midsummer, where we can just cool down from the heat. However, having this perfect backyard can make it difficult for grass to grow. This is because it doesn’t get the vital ingredients such as the best grass seeds out there.
Of course, this isn’t the only obstacle for the grass in our green spaces. Having a four-legged companion could be hard on the plants, just like sports and other activities. That’s why you have to make sure the mix you are going to buy will be high quality, which can withstand traffic.
To help you with your choice, we have outlined various seed mixtures on the market, with their pros and cons evaluated. What you have to do is read our grass seed reviews and find the perfect one for you and your lawn. So let’s go.
Best Grass Seeds Comparison Chart
Jonathan Green Fast Grow Grass Seed Mix
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Jonathan Green Black Beauty Ultra Grass Seed Mix
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Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed – Sun and Shade Mix
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Zenith Zoysia Grass Seed 100% Pure Seed
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X-Seed Ultra Premium Quick and Thick Lawn Seed Mixture
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Kentucky 31 Tall Fescue
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Top 6 Best Grass Seed Reviews
Here is our top list. These seed mixtures haven’t been arranged in any specific order. You are free to check them out and choose which is the one for you.
1 . Jonathan Green Fast Grow Grass Seed Mix
As we mentioned earlier, the shade can be a reason for grass to not grow. But you don’t have to worry about this with these seeds! They can grow both in sun and shade. They produce fast results and germinate in just a week or two. This package contains 3 pounds of mixture and covers areas of 1500 square feet. This gives you plenty of product to use!
Note that when using the mix some of the seeds can become exposed if you don’t put any other product over them. This could lead to birds picking them. Because the grass grows really fast, it needs to be mowed about once a week.
- Contains yearlong ryegrass, that cuts your costs for seeding your lawn every year
- The grass is fast growing
- Germinated in only 7-14 days, which is something people look for
- Can be used in sun and shaded areas, because of the mix of turfgrass it has
- Sensitive when you are walking on it, that means you can’t do many activities on it. It’s more for aesthetic look.
- Needs maintenance for it to look good
2 . Jonathan Green Black Beauty Ultra Grass Seed Mix
Except for taking care of the vegetation, we have to keep in mind the soil itself as well. This product takes care of that for you. It has frontier perennial ryegrass, which germinates really fast. The color when it’s grown is a lush dark-green.
It is good at filling damaged areas in your lawn. It doesn’t matter if it’s in a clay or a sandy soil, it will grow. However, it is good in full and only partial shade, not a full one. When developed, the grass has an invisible waxy coating, which guards against diseases. It also preserves moisture in the leaf, which helps with drought. The package contains 7 pounds and covers 2800 square feet area.
- Covers as far as 2800 square feet
- Contains a variety of different grass, which means the grass is going to be alright in different weathers
- Grows in clay or sandy soils
- Grows good in full sun or partial shade, if it’s in full shade you won’t have good results
- Resists disease, thanks to its waxy coating on top of the seed
- Preserves moisture in the leaf
- The grass is naturally insect immune
- Needs maintenance, for it to look green, it needs to be watered accordingly
3 . Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed – Sun and Shade Mix
This mix is specifically formulated for lawns in the northern area of United States. This mix, as its name suggests, is great in sunny or shaded areas. It can resist extreme situations and still be always green.
The seeds here have a coating technology that absorbs water, feeds the plant and protects them. Because of this, when growing, the grass is fed with the needed nutrients. That makes it taller, thicker and greener. This technology also has a fungicide, which protects the seedlings from harmful diseases, which can attack newly planted space.
This grass mixture begins to grow in 5-10 days. However, for it to become established it can take between 30 to 60 days, depending on the seasonal conditions. The best time to seed is early fall. This way your seedlings have enough time to build strong roots before winter comes.
- Thick grass, so it won’t have patches with no plants on it
- Grows quickly
- Versatile mix, meaning it will be more durable in different weather
- Resists summer heat, that makes it great for hot areas
- Can’t be bought in selected territories, this is because it’s not suitable for any climate
4 . Zenith Zoysia Grass Seed 100% Pure Seed
If you want to have success planting Zenith Zoysia seeds you need to wait till spring. End of May, the beginning of June is a great time to plant them. Another tip is to buy fresh seeds closer to their planting time. This way you get the best germination rate. These seeds are tolerant to light shading and full sun. If in warm soil, they will sprout in 14-21 days.
Each bag is 2lb and will cover up to 2 000 square feet. Each package has only seeds in it, no fillers or mulch. For better results plant on bare soil, use a fertilizer before planting and water it. When it becomes fully grown it can tolerate drought. If the leaves curl and look spiky, not as the usual blades, then you need to water it.
- Tolerates traffic, so you can walk or play on it
- Shade tolerant
- Dense growth
- Drought tolerant, meaning it can withstand longer periods without water
- Low maintenance, so you don’t have to worry about it too much
- Until its fully grown it needs a lot of care, so it will require your attention daily in order to grow properly
5 . X-Seed Ultra Premium Quick and Thick Lawn Seed Mixture
This mixture is 100% full of grass seeds, without fillers or coatings. 55% of it is turf-type perennial ryegrass, 30% fine fescues and 15% an improved Kentucky bluegrass. However, this mix is formulated especially for central and northern US climates. This grass has a fine bladed texture. It tolerates high traffic, so it’s not a problem for your dog or kids to run on it.
It is great in a sandy type of soil. It is also great in sun and lightly shaded areas, as long as it gets 6 to 8 hours of filtered sunlight each day. The manufacturer does say that if you water the seeds 3 times a day, in 7-10 days they will germinate.
- Fast germination
- A mix of different grasses
- For sun and shade lawns
- Tolerates high traffic, so don’t worry about your kids running on it
- Can cover 14, 000 square feet of an already existing lawn, meaning it is great for patching spots or just mixing different types of grass
- It’s for central and northern parts of the United States, due to the adaptability of the turfgrass to specific climates
6 . Kentucky 31 Tall Fescue
For a 50 pound bag, you can cover about 15,000 square feet of area. Note that the seeds need to be worked into the soil. If you don’t aerate the topsoil then these seeds are not a great choice! They germinate between 10 to 14 days when planted properly. Another tip we can give you is that this Kentucky mix is for cooler weather, so it’s better for North US climate.
The best soil temperature for them is between 50 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit, and the soil Ph should be around 6.5. Adding a fertilizer with an adequate amount of phosphorus will help the roots to establish. That is if your soil doesn’t have naturally a high amount of phosphorus. Keep in mind this isn’t a mixture of different type of grass, there’s only one type and that is the Kentucky 31 Tall Fescue.
- Great with direct sunlight
- For cooler weather
- Resistant to drought
- Needs maintenance, such as adding fertilizers and aerating the top layer of the soil
- It is only one type of grass, so it doesn’t have as much tolerance for different weather like the other mixes
How To Choose The Best Grass Seed For Your Lawn?
There’s a lot of different types of grass and it can be overwhelming to figure all of them out on your own. That’s why we are here to help you!
Different types of grass seed, tips for planting and tips for selecting your seed
Note that the success of a turfgrass type depends on a lot of factors such as altitude, the amount of sun or shade, how much foot traffic and water will it have. If you think that is a lot of trouble to go through, it will be a good idea to see our article about the best artificial grass selection as you have none of those issues there.
Types Of Grass
- Bahia – is a well-suited turfgrass for the South, because of the heat and humidity there. It can handle a lot of foot traffic with ease, because of the rougher texture.
- Bermuda – it is weed resistant, because of its aggressive growth habit, which can be a problem if it invades flower beds. It is resistant to traffic and it can cope with drought.
- Bluegrass – it is another turfgrass for the cool north areas of US. It can have great color and texture if you provide the right conditions for growing. Such as sunlight, good soil and water them regularly.
- Centipede – a low-growing, low maintenance tough turfgrass. The best soil for it is the acidic, located in the lower South. With proper care, it can have weed and pest resistance. Compared to most turfgrasses it has a rougher texture.
- Fescue – this family has numerous members – fine, chewings, creeping red, hard and tall fescue. All of them are resistant to cold weather. However, when it comes to heat, drought, shade and wear it varies on the sort.
The whole fescue family copes well with regular fertilizing and aerating. If you are interested in this type, check out our piece on the best fertilizer spreader that we’ve prepared for you.
- Perennial ryegrass – this type of grass germinates fast and is resistant to foot traffic. It is a common addition to grass mixes of the cool-season.
- Augustine – when it comes to turfgrass this is the choice for warm weather, where the sandy soil is widespread. Unlike other warm-season grasses, its blue-green color lasts into fall.
- Zoysia – it is a great choice for a warm, sunny and well-drained area. Note that it does take more maintenance than most turfgrasses. However, if you do meet its needs, it rewards you with a lush, gorgeous lawn.
Cool Season Grass
- Kentucky bluegrass is very favored in the northern parts. Because it’s a cool season type. We mentioned earlier that it spreads quite aggressively. It resists high traffic. It’s good with moderate shade and a lot of sun.
- Perennial ryegrass as said before germinates quickly after planting the seeds. It is great for high wear just like the Kentucky bluegrass. This type is also used to control erosion, because of how fast it germinates.
A way to identify is it the whitish cast on the top of the grass blades after it’s been cut. Its use is widespread in the southern parts, as a control measure over certain warm-season grass.
- Fine Fescues has a few types – creeping red, chewings, sheep and hard fescue. The reason they are named ‘fine’ is that of the very fine leaf texture and a gray-green color they have. They are quite favored in grass seed mixed, because of their quick growth and their tolerance to shade.
- Tall Fescue produces deep roots. It is beloved in the Transition Zone, due to its tolerance to heat and drought. Its shade tolerance is medium, but it’s really good with foot traffic
Warm Season Grass
- Zoysia is really dense so it crowds out weeds in the area. Quite tolerant of drought and heat. It has low water and maintenance requirements. It resists wear but isn’t good with low temperatures, because of this it turns brown at the beginning of fall.
- Bermuda it is a widely spread grass for sports fields and parks. It adapts well to a variety of soil types. It especially thrives in hot climates, as such it is not good with shaded lawns. Therefore it is resistant to drought and it still turns green when you water it. It is also really aggressive when spreading and can invade flower beds.
- St Augustine is typical for the coastal areas in the south. Well adapted to heat, a tough turf. It prefers moist, sandy soils like the coast ones and it grows great in the salt air. It is one of the best warm-season grasses for light-shaded spots, but in the dense shade, it becomes thin.
If you want to keep this lawn dense and green you need to water it more frequently. They have some problems with chunch bugs, which eat grass stems at the base of the plants. While grubs eat their roots. You can prevent this by a good watering, mowing and fertilizing schedule.
- Buffalo used to feed bison herds on the Great Plains. Nowadays, it is recognized as turf grass, able to cope with drought and cold weather. But performs best in hot environments. When planting, it should be in sunny places. Compared to other turfs, it is low-maintenance, it doesn’t need as much mowing as other warm-season types.
Don’t worry if during hot, dry summers it turns brown. Because when the rainy weather returns it will turn green again. If you water or fertilize it too often weeds will come out. Note that due to this, it is recommended for sloped areas or terraces where water drains quickly.
- Centipede grows well in sandy soils. That’s why they are common from South Carolina to Florida, and along the Gulf Coast to Texas. It has a moderate shade tolerance, so it’s best in full sun lawns. Doesn’t require much maintenance or nutrient requirements. Its root system is rather shallow and it is receptive to alkaline soil. Note that during dry spells it requires more water.
Despite the fact that the centipede grass copes better with the cold than St Augustine. It will die if it’s exposed for a long period of time to temperatures under 5 degrees.
From all of this information what you have to remember are the following things:
- Cool-season turfgrasses are the species which grow best at temperatures 60-75o Meanwhile, the warm-season turfgrass grows best at temperatures between 80-95o F.
- Geographic zones are labeled as zones depending on the temperature range. This makes it easier to detect the appropriate type. The US has two primary zones – a warm-season zone and a cool-season part.
- Within these zones, some other climatic conditions exist, which influence turfgrass growth. Two of these facts are primarily humid or primarily arid conditions. Combined with the geographic areas, they become four zones: cool/humid, cool/arid, warm/humid and warm/arid
- There’s a fifth area, which is a transition zone. That’s when you have present the conditions from all four of the other zones. This is the hardest zone for growing turfgrass. Because it’s usually too cold during winter for the warm season grass and too hot during summer for the cool season type.
To fight this issue what gardeners do is grow warm-season grasses during the months when the temperature is right for them. Then during colder months, they overseed the warm-season grass with cool-season species. You can find specific lawn seed for overseeding If you want your lawn thicker.
A Time to Plant: Tips For Perfect Planting
Best Time To Plant The Seeds
A cheap way of having a lush garden is creating it from seed. The best time to plant the seeds is between late summer to mid-autumn. Because weeds aren’t competing to come out, the soil is warm and damp with water from rain. The perfect conditions for seeds to germinate.
If you miss that chance, you can try to do it mid-spring. However, you will have results only if you manage to water the seeds enough. Attempting to sow during summer is likely to bring bad results because it’s hard to provide enough moisture to them. Because of this they shrivel up and end up dying.
There are some pros to using seed instead of turf. While it is cheaper, there’s a variety of mixes easily accessible for you to choose from. This seed method is better for trickier terrains, such as hills and corners.
Preparing The Soil
Except for choosing the best time to plant the seeds, for better chances, you would also prepare the soil. Paying attention to all the fine tips on how to prepare the soil for grass seed will make all the difference in the world.
Removing bigger stones and weeds, old grass and trying to roughly level the area is always good.
To leave a fine finish, fork over the lawn and rake the level. Then to make the soil firm, you can walk over it, but place your weight on your heels. When you finish rake again. Scrape in a granular fertilizer, just two or three days, before you plant the seed.
How to plant the seeds
Mark the area where you are planting into square meters, by using a rod. This way you are precise. Shake the package to mix the seeds inside. Then you can follow the rule of the thumb, which is to spread seed at 50g per square meter or at the rate written on the packaging. Weigh out accordingly the seed that will cover each square meter. Put it in a container and mark the level on the outside, this will act as a guide.
Split each 50g in half, then in one direction across a square, scatter one half. Then do the same for the other half the opposite way. After doing this, lightly rake over the planted space and water it. Note that there are different techniques for how to repair a bare patch in your lawn and how to plant the seeds.
After sowing the seeds they become easy food for the birds. That is if you don’t stretch fruit netting over them. To prevent stepping on top of them you can also cordon the area with string and canes. In the days before they’ve fully grown, you have to keep them watered. Because they are susceptible to drought. You can test the soil by regularly pushing fingers into it.
Be careful when weeding the area by hand. The weed should be removed before it flowers. As the grass grows, it will become denser and the weed will stop growing.
The first time when you can cut the new lawn is when it becomes 5cm (2 inches) high. You can use a rotary mower to trim it to 2.5cm (1 inch). Be careful when raking up the clippings. This is necessary for the following four cuts.
Check out; Best Weed Barrier Reviews
There are a lot of guides about the types of seeds and which one is the best. We are also going to talk about how to select one for yourself. Firstly you have to consider what type of lawn you want to have. In order to shape it accordingly, and maintain it properly you can see our articles about the perfect garden supplies.
Do you want a lawn that will withstand children’s play, dogs running, sports and entertainment activities? Then you will need a mixture of tough and coarse grass seeds. This way you will create a hard-wearing lawn that will tolerate the regular use.
However, you may decide you want a lush, luxurious garden, which you can admire from a distance. In this case, ornamental lawn seed is the way you can achieve it. This mix is made out of more refined and sophisticated looking grasses, unlike coarser types such as the ryegrass. That will set up a fine yard, which will tolerate close mowing.
Our picks on grass seed reviews and the tips on how to pick the best one have come to an end. Now you have the needed information to decide. If you thought we did a great job, share our guide with everybody you know.
Do not hesitate to leave us a comment or send us an email, if you think we forgot to cover anything important. We appreciate any feedback from our readers and we love answering your questions.
When it comes to gardening there are a lot of things we can interest you in, so make sure to check some of our other pieces. We hope that we have been of great help. Thanks for reading and as always – stay put!