Home Tips & Advice

Grass Seed - Pure or Mixed

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 where temperatures exceed 80°F. Warm-season grasses are known for being durable and requiring less watering than cool-season grasses, but they do have a stronger tendency to grow weeds. 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. Warm-season grasses include common Bermuda grass, zoysia, centipede and carpetgrass.

By contrast, cool-season grasses do well in northern and central states where the temperature can range from 60-75°F. If they are grown in a climate where it is too warm they tend to brown. Cool-season grasses are hearty and thrive during the milder spring and fall temperatures. Good cool-season grasses include bluegrass, red and tall fescue and bentgrass.

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.

TypePerennial RyegrassAnnual RyegrassKentucky BluegrassPart Kentucky BluegrassNewport Kentucky BluegrassMarion Kentucky Bluegrass
Days to Germinate10-1410-1414-2810-2810-2814-28
# Seeds / pound230,000230,0002.2 mil2.2 mil2.2 mil2.2 mil
Seeding Rate / 1000 sq ft
New Lawn10104444
Estab. Lawn662222
Usual Life3 yrs1 yrPermanentPermanentPermanentPermanent
Blade TextureCoarseCoarseFineFineFineFine
General UtilityPoorPoorExcellentExcellentExcellentExcellent
For Shade AreaPoorPoorPoorPoorGoodPoor
For Play AreasGoodGoodGoodGoodGoodGood
For Golf FairwaysFairFairGoodExcellentGoodExcellent
For Quick CoverExcellentExcellentPoorGoodFairPoor
For Slopes / TerracesGoodFairGoodGoodGoodGood
General DesireabilityQuick Cover / Nurse GrassQuick CoverSunny LawnsFast GerminationShade TolerantSunny Lawns

TypeCreeping Red FescueTall FescueMeadow FescueRed TopBent Grass
Days to Germinate10-2110-1410-149-147-14
# Seeds / pound550,000230,000230,0004.99 mil5.5 mil
Seeding Rate / 1000 sq ft
New Lawn6101032
Estab. Lawn36621
Usual LifePermanentPermanentPermanent3 yrsPermanent
Blade TextureFineCoarseCoarseFineFine
General UtilityGoodPoorPoorFairFair
For Shade AreaGoodFairPoorPoorFair
For Play AreasExcellentExcellentExcellentGoodFair
For Golf FairwaysExcellentFairPoorGoodGood
For Quick CoverFairGoodGoodExcellentFair
For Slopes / TerracesGoodExcellentFairGoodGood
General DesireabilityShade TolerantHard UsePoorFine Nurse GrassPutting Greens

Name: Perennial Ryegrass

Description: Fine textured and deep green in color, ryegrass is a fast-growing seed, frequently used by itself or in mixtures. Rye-grass is available as an annual or perennial. Small quantities may be included in seed mixtures. Good to cover slopes because of quick germination. It is a cool climate grass that works well in the northwest and coastal west. Does not do well in extreme cold or drought conditions.

back to top

Name: Annual Ryegrass

Description: 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, but can only be planted for one season. Small quantities may be included in seed mixtures. Good to cover slopes because of quick germination.

back to top

Name: Kentucky Bluegrass

Description: Known by its blue-green color, it is one of the most common grasses used in the cool season areas of the U.S. (as it weathers well in cold winters). 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 or drought. Responds to adequate fertilization and high mowing (more than an inch and a half).

back to top

Name: Part Kentucky Bluegrass

Description: 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)

back to top

Name: Newport Kentucky Bluegrass

Description: 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).

back to top

Name: Marion Kentucky Bluegrass

Description: 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.

back to top

Name: Creeping Red Fescue

Description: 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.

back to top

Name: Tall Fescue

Description: Rather coarse, but good for areas that need a tough stand of grass.

back to top

Name: Meadow Fescue

Description: Similar to Tall Fescue with long and slender leaves. A hardy perennial bunchgrass it works well in cool climates and is usually found in pastures or fields.

back to top

Name: Red Top

Description: Like its name suggests, this grass sports red seed heads throughout the summer. It works well in wet places such as around water gardens.

back to top

Name: Bent Grass

Description: 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.

back to top

Other Grasses

Name: Bermuda Grass

Description: 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, but has high heat and drought tolerance for Southern regions.

Name: Zoysia

Description: Medium to dark green in appearance it is planted by plugs. Adapted to sunny areas in warmer parts of the Midwest and South. Surface runners make a dense mat, which reduces weeds and crabgrass. It turns brown slowly in mid-fall; remains dormant until mid-spring. Although it has a high tolerance to heat, it is slow growing.

Name: Centipede

Description: Good in moderate shade and infertile soil; has few insect or disease problems. It is yellowish-green in color and is mostly used in the southeast. Although it is a slow growing grass, it doesn't require a lot of maintenance.

Name: Carpetgrass

Description: Recommended for infertile and sandy soils. Does not like shade and must be mowed frequently. Similar in color to centipede grass and most often found in Florida and areas along the Gulf Coast as it likes wet and warm climates.

Name: Bahia Grass

Description: Grows well in partial sun or shade in warm climates. Requires little maintenance. Keep trimmed to 1/2 inch. Can be green or light green in color and is known for staying green during the fall and winter.

Name: St. Augustine

Description: Recommended for Florida and Gulf Coast areas. A course, tough grass that requires a power mower, but little other maintenance. Can be dark green or even blue-green in appearance. Do not use in areas that go below the freezing level

Name: Victa

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

Name: Baron

Description: Dark bluish-green, low- growing, disease resistant and relatively problem free.

back to top

© 2014 Ace Hardware Corporation. Ace Hardware Corporation and Ace Hardware Corporation logo are registered trademarks of Ace Hardware Corporation
HACKER SAFE certified sites prevent over 99% of hacker crime.

Add Item to To-Done List

To use this feature you must be signed-in to your account, please sign in now. If you do not have an account, please create an account to participate.

Ace Rewards

Ace Rewards is a free and rewarding membership program that lets you earn rewards with every purchase you make! Join now.