Home Tips & Advice > Learning Guides > Learn About Seeds


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Grass, vegetable and flower seeds are sold either in bulk or packages, with packages far more widespread.

Seed packages are extremely functional because they carry complete planting instructions, showing planting and harvesting times for geographic areas.


Grass seed is sold in boxes and bags as well as in bulk. Coverage rate is more important than weight of the package, because this reflects the quality and vigor of the grass strain.


In cool-season northern states, a blend of permanent grasses is best, as long as about 90 percent of the mixture is desirable permanent lawn grasses.

Unblended grasses, such as pure Bermuda grass, do well in warm- season southern states. It is also important to know that many newer types of warm-season grasses cannot be started from seed. They must be set out as plantings. Good cool-season grasses include bluegrass, red and tall fescue and bentgrass. Warm-season grasses include common Bermuda grass, zoysia, centipede and carpetgrass.

In mixtures, remember that formulations vary greatly. Prepackaged seed must indicate on the package the percentage of each grass type in the mixture.

Each pound of better grass seed contains a higher percentage of permanent grasses, more desirable for a long-lasting lawn. Inexpensive mixes frequently contain low-quality annual grasses and too many contaminants, such as weed seed, to maintain a good lawn.


The following describes the most common preferred grass seeds and some of their characteristics:

Rye-grass - fast-growing seed, frequently used by itself or in mixtures. Rye-grass is available as an annual or perennial. The annual is quick to germinate for temporary lawns. Small quantities may be included in seed mixtures. Good to cover slopes because of quick germination.

Kentucky Bluegrass - forms a good sod when grown alone and thrives when included in a mixture. Slow to germinate and become established. Won't tolerate dense shade. Responds to adequate fertilization and high mowing (more than an inch and a half).

Other Bluegrasses - Newport, Delta, Park, Arboretum and Rugby.

Merion - seeds are very small which means greater coverage per pound. Resistant to leaf spot. Can be mowed closer and fertilized more. Retains green look longer. Best to plant in early fall or very early spring because seedlings grow slowly. Subject to rust and powdery mildew in fall if soil lacks nitrogen.

Victa - dark, deep bluegreen bluegrass with a medium-fine texture and low growth habit. Good leaf spot resistance and above-average shade tolerance.

Adelphi - hybrid from Rutgers University. Dark green, low growth with medium texture. Durable.

Baron - dark bluish-green, low- growing, disease resistant and relatively problem free.

Arista - bright green, medium- textured grass from Europe. Not as disease resistant as other varieties, but adds strength to blends.

Fylking - Swedish development widely used in blends. Low growing, disease resistant.

Red Fescue - Well adapted to drought soils in shady or sunny area. Generally included in bluegrass mixtures. Creeping fescue is another common strain. Some strains are subject to leaf spot and become open and pitted in the summer. Fall planting preferred.

Tall Fescue - ather coarse, but good for areas that need a tough stand of grass.

Bentgrass - used mainly on golf putting greens. Dense patches of creeping bentgrass generally are unwanted. Where bent is desired, it must be given good care, cut very close, fertilized regularly, watered repeatedly and thinned several times a year.

Clover - sometimes appears in seed mixtures. Considered undesirable by many, but tolerated by others.

Bermuda grass - spreads by fast-growing surface runners during warm periods, but goes brown and dormant from first frost till late spring. Not recommended in northern areas.

Zoysia - planted by plugs. Adapted to sunny areas in warmer parts of the Midwest. Surface runners make a dense mat, which reduces weeds and crabgrass. It turns brown slowly in mid-fall; remains dormant until mid-spring.

Centipede - good in moderate shade and infertile soil; has few insect or disease problems.

Carpetgrass - recommended for infertile and sandy soils. Does not like shade and must be mowed frequently.

Bahia Grass - grows well in partial sun or shade in warm climates. Requires little maintenance. Keep trimmed to 1/2 inch.

St. Augustine - recommended for Florida and Gulf Coast areas. A course, tough grass that requires a power mower, but little other maintenance.

Ground Covers - steep slopes, banks or heavily shaded areas sometimes require ground covers. Among the most popular are myrtle, purple-leaf wintercreeper and Baltic English ivy.

Names of Insecticides
Below is a list of the common names of insecticides used in the tables, followed by the commercial trade name and the chemical name. Some products may be available under a variety of trade names not listed below. Be sure to read the label on the container always lists these products by the common name or chemical name.
Common NameTrade NameChemical Name
acephateOrthene0, S-dimethyl acetylphosphoramidothioate
Bacillus thuringiensisDipel, Thuricide, SOK-BT, Caterpillar 
Bacillus thuringiensis 'israelensis'Attack, Mosquito Attack 
Bacillus thuringiensis 'san diego'M-One 
carbarylSevinI-naphthyl methylcarbamate
chlorpyrifosDursban0, O-diethyl 0-(3,5,6-trichloro-2-pyridyl)
DEETOff, Cutter'sphosphorothioate
diazinonSpectracideN. N-diethyl-m-toluamide
dicofolKelthane0, O-diethyl 0-(2-isopropyl-4-methyl-6-pyrimidyl)
hydrazoneCombatI, I -Bis(chlorophenyl)-2 ,2,2-trichloroethanol O. O-dimethyl S-(N-methyl carbamoyl methyl) phosphorodithioate Tetrahydro-5,5-dimethyl-2(1H)-pyrimidinone (3-[4-(trifluoromethyl)phenyl]- I -(2-[4-trifluoromethyl)phenyl]-ethenyl)-2-propenylidene)hydrazone
hydropreneGencorEthyl-3 ,7, I I -trimethyl dodeca-2 ,4 dienoate
malathionCythiondiethyl mercaptosuccinate, S-ester with 0, O-dimethyl phosphorothioate Isopropyl- 1 1 -methoxy-3 , 7 , 11 trimethyl-2 ,4 dodecadienoate
methoprenePrecor, Pharorid1,2-Dibromo-2,2-dichloroethyl dimethyl phosphate
naledDibrom2-(1-methylethoxy) phenyl methylcarbamateallyl
propoxurBaygonhomolog of cinerin I
pyrethroids, d-trans allethrin 3-phenoxybenzyl d-cis and trans 2,2-dimethyl-3-(2-methylpropenyl)
d-phenothrinSumithrincyclopropanecarboxylate principally from plant species Chrysanthemum cinariaelolium
pyrethrinPyrenone(5-benzyl-3-furyl) methyl 2,2 dimethyl-3-(2-methylprophenyl)
resmethrinChryson, SBP-1382cyclopropanecarboxylate ( I -cyclohexene- I ,2-dicarboximido)-methyl 2 ,2-dimethyl-3
tetrachlorvinphosPhthalthrin Rabon2-chloro-1-(2,4,5,-trichlorophenyl) vinyl dimethyl phosphate
1 level tablespoon = 3 level teaspoons1 pint = 2 cups 1 fluid ounce = 2 tablespoons
1 quart = 2 pints or 32 fluid ounces 1 cup = 8 fluid ounces or 16 tablespoons 1 gallon = 4 quarts or 128 fluid ounces

Ants, soil-nesting wasps, and sowbugs (NHE-79, 93, 111), White grubsdiazinon 25% E.C.1 cup per 1,000 sq. ft.Drench into soil.
Aphids, mealybugs spittlebugs, lacebugs, scales (NHE-7, 114)malathion 50-57% E.C., acephate 15.6% E.C., insecticidal soap2 tsp. per gal. water, 4 tsp. per gal. water, follow label directionsSpray foliage thoroughly. Repeat treatments may be needed.
Blister beetles (NHE-72)carbaryl 50% W.P.2 tbl. per gal. waterSpray foliage. Repeat treatments may be needed.
Cutworms (NHE-77)diazinon 25% E.C., diazinon 5% granules6 oz. per 2-3 gal. water, 21/2 lb. per 1,000 sq. ft.Spray 1,000 sq. ft. soil at base of plants. Do not spray on plant foliage. Small numbers of plants can be protected with collars of paper, aluminum foil, or metal.
Earwigs (NHE-142)carbaryl 50% W.P.2 tbl. per gal. water.Spray foliage as needed. Do not spray blooms.
Grasshoppers (NHE-74)carbaryl 50% W.P., malathion 50-57% E.C.2 tbl. per gal. water, 2 tsp. per gal. waterSpray foliage and also adjacent grassy or weedy areas.
Iris borerdimethoate (Cygon 2E)4 tsp. per gal. waterApply when irises are in bloom, but not on blooms and make only one application. Add a small amount of liquid detergent to spray mix to improve coverage on leaves.
Leaf-feeding beetles, Leaf-feeding caterpillars, Plant bugs and leafhopperscarbaryl 50% W.P., acephate 15.6% E.C.2 tbl. per gal. water, 4 tbl. per gal. waterSpray foliage. Repeat treatments if needed.
Slugs (NHE-84)metaldehyde bait, Mesurol 2% bait Apply as a bait to soil. Remove old leaves, stalks, poles, boards, and other debris where slugs like to hide and lay eggs. Shallow dishes of stale beer sunk into the ground will attract and kill many slugs.
Springtails (NHE-70)malathion 50-57% E.C., malathion 4% dust2 tsp.per gal. waterSpray foliage and soil. Apply to base of plants.
Stalk borers (NHE-24)Same as for leaf-feeding beetles Spray foliage thoroughly and frequently.
ThripsSame as for leaf-feeding beetles Spray foliage carefully.
White flies (NHE-136)pyrethrin 0.1 %, resmethrin, insecticidal soapaerosol spray - follow label directionsSpray foliage thoroughly. Repeat in 5 days.
E.C. = emulsion concentrate; W.P. = wettable powder.
*Use only one insecticide from those listed. Do not use oil-base sprays on plants. Do not use malathion on African violets. Do not use carbaryl on Boston ivy. Do not use diazinon on ferns. Repeated use of carbaryl foliage sprays may cause mite or aphid infestations to increase and to become damaging. Do not use insecticides during full bloom. Do not use dimethoate on chrysanthemums.

This table, prepared by the University of Illinois, is for use with recommended dosages of insecticides for household insects included in the charts on the preceding pages. This table is not to be used for vegetable, flower, tree, shrub or lawn insect treatments. Tables accompanying other charts show volume of spray necessary for these treatments.

Pesticide Dilution Table for Household Insecticides
Pesticide formulationAmt. of insecticide needed per gal. of spray
Desired concentration
carbaryl (Sevin) 50% W.P.-2 tbsp4 tbsp.8 tbsp-
chlordane 45% E.C.--8 tsp5 tsp-
chlordane 72% E.C.--4 tsp8 tsp-
chlorpyrifos---5 tbsp-
diazinon (Spectracide) 25% E.C.--5 tbsp10 tbsp-
dicofol (Kelthane) 18.5% E.C.1-1/2 tsp----
malathion 50-57% E.C.--7 tsp4-1/2 tbsp10 tbsp
tetrachlorvinphos 50.5% W.P.--4 tbsp--
(tbsp. = tablespoon; tsp = teaspoon)

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