Did you know that Americans with lawns spend nearly 60 hours a month on yard work?
America's love for lawns is apparent — but not everybody has such good luck when it comes to a green lawn. These days there are so many options and styles that it's essential to know what the best grass seed for your lawn is.
Nature's Seed believes that a great lawn starts at the seed. That's why we provide high-quality bags of seed with no added filler. Read below to learn the in's and out's of the lawn seeds we offer, where you can grow them, and other considerations when buying grass seed for your lawn.
Best Grass Seed
Things to Consider When Buying Grass Seed
If you're looking to buy grass seed, there are a few things you'll want to address first.
You'll have to think about whether your lawn is dying or damaged, whether it's for pasture or forage use, and what kind of sun, shade, and rain it gets.
- Step #1: Choose Grass For Your Region
- Step #2: The Purpose of the Grass
- Step #3: Buy Quality Grass Seed
Choose Grass For Your Region
The Purpose of the Grass
Buy Quality Grass Seed
You'll want to narrow down your list of choices to start, and for that we recommend our calculator that tells you the best seeds by region. Knowing what kinds of grasses do well in your area is the right way to start because many cool-season types of grass will go dormant and dry up in the southern summer months.
After you've narrowed down types of grass ideal for your climate, it's time to think about how you're using the grass:
- Is it for your front lawn?
- Will there be a lot of damage or traffic, like grazing and playing?
- What type of soil do you have?
- How much sun and shade does your lawn get?
- How much rainfall do you get each week?
Answering these questions will help point you to the right grass seed. For example, in hot climates, lawns with sandy soils, lots of sun, and dry skies might be a perfect place to plant Bahia seed (since Bahia is known to be hardy with soil types and drought-tolerant). Explore your options by region and find the best one for you.
Buying quality lawn seed might sound obvious, but it's sometimes hard to tell the difference between top grain and mediocre seed just by looking at the bag.
The good news is that there are general rules of thumb that you want to abide by:
- No more than 0.5% weed seed
- 0% noxious weeds
- The inert matter should not exceed 2%
- Germination should be 85% or more
At Nature's Seed, we ensure that every bag meets or exceeds these guidelines — and big-box stores can't make that promise.
Get To Know Your Grass Types
FUN FACT: In early America, grass seed was primarily used to feed livestock.
There are hundreds of species of grass, but there are only two grass types: warm-season grasses and cool-season grasses. Appropriately choosing species for your climate from these two overarching types will ensure a healthy and thriving lawn.
Some warm-season and cool-season grasses do well in what's called the “transitional zone,” which is a belt that runs horizontally through the middle of the United States. These grasses are a mix of warm- and cold-tolerant to certain extents. But there are important differences between the two types:
Warm-season grass originates in the south and does best in hot weather. It goes dormant and turns brown with a cold temperature. It does better planted in the spring so it can grow throughout the warm summer months.
Cool-season grass originates from the north and grows rapidly in the spring and fall, turns brown in the high summer heat, best to plant in late summer or early fall.
There's a simple way to depict which kinds of grasses do well in your region. First, you can refer to the USDA's Plant Hardiness Zone Map.
Plant Hardiness Zones
The planting zones are determined by:
- Length of the growing season
- Timing and amount of rainfall
- Winter lows
- Summer highs
Throughout the map, you'll notice varying colors and ranges. This color-coded map is used to identify your zone, which can help you choose the best grasses for your area. For example, Texas has a wide range of zones, varying from 6 to 9, which means you could find a variety of transitional and warm-season grasses there.
Warm-season grasses excel in warm climates. They also do well in poor soils with low moisture-holding capacity. When warm-season grasses dry out, it can be harvested and stored to dry out as hay.
Although generally hardy grasses, its primary growth is mid-summer and requires water and sometimes fertilization during the first few weeks. It's also crucial that you choose a grass ideal for your soil type and climate so you can keep a green-looking lawn year-round.
Here, you can learn about the best warm-season grasses. First, sure to do a soil test and check your area's best grass seed by region.
Like most grasses present in the United States, Bermuda grass isn't native to the U.S. And despite what its name implies, it's not native to Bermuda! It originates from East Africa, arriving in the states during the 1750s as a forage grass for cattle.
Because of its hardiness, bermudagrass is a favorite in the southwestern U.S. It is a dense and adaptable turf grass that is used for lawns, pastures, athletic fields, golf courses, and parks, making it perfect for high-traffic areas. It does best in warm weather, but is also cool-tolerant to a certain extent, although it will go dormant below 60°F.
It grows as far as Virginia, excelling in tropical climates where it will stay bright green year-round. Its planting zones are 7, 8, 9, and 10, which covers the southern U.S. with a distinct line from Virginia to some parts of New Mexico, Arizona, and California.
Buffalograss is a low-maintenance, tough turf grass that is native to the Great Plains from Montana to New Mexico. It was first used as turf in the 1930s and impressed many homeowners with its cold-resistance and drought-tolerance.
If you look closely, you'll notice its dark bluish-green color with slightly curled blades at the ends. Water needs are minimal so that you can expect a bright green lawn throughout the hottest temperatures of the summer. However, because it's not a thick grass, buffalograss is susceptible to weeds.
Buffalograss has a wide planting zone, ranging between 5, 6, 7, and 8, taking up the majority of the transitional zones and all of the southern U.S. This grass is ideal for those who want a vibrant lawn throughout the hottest of summers.
Zoysia grass is a dark green grass that is relatively new to the United States, and was introduced from the coast of the Philippines in Manila in 1911. Ideal for lawns with high-traffic and full to partial sun, it has a slow establishment rate. But the good news is that once it forms, zoysia most often resists any weeds.
Zoysia is drought-tolerant, so water needs are minimal — however, if not watered just right, it will go dormant. It will turn brown after the first frost but resumes growth at 70°F. Although its hardiness allows it to grow in a variety of soils, it doesn't do well in overly-wet soils.
Its planting zones are 7, 8, 9, and 10, covering the majority of the southern U.S., with a few exceptions in the northern parts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.
Bahiagrass is native to South America and is primarily used in the southeastern U.S. It is an excellent lawn seed for lawns that need a pick-me-up due to poor soils and areas without plenty of rainfall. It is also low-maintenance without requiring too much water or fertilizing.
However, it will die out in the shade, in acidic soils, near saltwater, or if there's too much foot traffic. It is light green with coarse, short leaves that are susceptible to diseases.
Its planting zones are parts of 1, 2, 5, 8, 9, and 11. This makes it unique, covering the majority of the southeastern U.S. from Virginia to Florida to Texas. However, it doesn't do well in extremely arid areas like New Mexico or Arizona but excels just fine in all of California.
Cool-season grasses are types of grass that have adapted to do well in climates with fluctuating temperatures. They don't typically die out in the harsh winter months and might be able to resist extreme weather better than the warm-season counterpart. These grasses do their best growing between 60 to 75°F, which is why it's best to plant in the spring and fall.
Although cool-season grasses take up the majority of the U.S., it's essential to know which species will do best in your area. Check out our list below and be sure to refer to a planting zone map.
#1: Kentucky Bluegrass
Kentucky bluegrass is a meadow-grass that is native to Europe, North Asia, and the mountains of Algeria and Morocco. Sometime between the 15th and 19th century, the Spanish Empire brought these lawn seeds in mixtures with other grasses. Today, Kentucky bluegrass is used all over humid, cold parts of the U.S.
Kentucky bluegrass is often used as a pasture plant, athletic fields, and lawns and gardens. The blades are thin with rounded tips like the bow of a boat, but it grows densely which makes it traffic-tolerant. However, it does have a shallow root system which means it requires frequent watering — but it spreads quickly, maintains density, and heals quickly after damage.
Because of its hardiness, Kentucky bluegrass thrives in planting zones 1 through 7, which is all across the northern belt of the U.S., from Maine to parts of Oregon, including transitional zones. In these climates, it remains green and lush with the right watering. What more could a homeowner want?
#2: Perennial Ryegrass
Perennial ryegrass is perhaps the most versatile grass seed in the U.S. It is ideal as pasture seed and for home lawns and gardens, where it establishes quickly, has a long growing season, tolerates traffic, and recovers quickly from damage.
Perennial ryegrass is an excellent targeting grass seed. It does best in cold-weather regions for pastures and turf, serving a year-round presence as opposed to annual ryegrass, which goes dormant during the hot midsummer.
You can find perennial ryegrass all across the U.S., serving as a cool-season lawn in the northern half and used to overseed warm-season grasses in the southern parts. It does best between planting zones 3 through 7.
#3: Fine Fescue
Ideal for the northeast, northwest, and the transitional zones, fine fescue is a disease-resistant, bunch-forming grass that originates from Europe. It was introduced to the U.S. in the early 1800s when lawns became fashionable to Americans, especially for those who craved a year-round lawn that grows quickly.
When planting fine fescue, it's crucial to spread across the lawn carefully. Since it grows in bunches, it can be easy to plant too much in one spot.
Fescue is a favorite for many homeowners and farmers. For example, certain species like red fescue help with erosion control, are great as cover crops, for golf courses, playgrounds, and even pasture for deer, elk, and moose.
Did You Know? Red fescue is actually disliked in some regions because it can become weedy or invasive in some areas, which is why it's wise to double-check your local NRCS Field Office for its status and use in your area.
Still, fine fescue is one of the most popular and widespread grass seeds in the U.S. It adapts well in various climates since it's about to tolerate cold, heat, drought, and shade. It's a great addition to lawns that need that extra resilience and durability, thriving in zones 2 through 7.
Nature's Seed Can Make the Difference
When it comes to yard care, you want to make sure your home has the healthiest lawn on the block, which starts with the best grass seed. And although pristine lawn care can seem overwhelming, it's effortless thanks to Nature's Seeds easy-to-use Seed Selector tool.
Instead of choosing the cheapest brand name at your local big-box stores, it's essential to understand the ingredients in your seed so you know you're buying something high-quality for your lawn.
The good news is that it's easy to buy quality grass seed thanks to Nature's Seed. We exclusively provide premium quality seeds with varieties only top-rated by the National Turfgrass Evaluation Program. Choose from any of our categories to start shopping now!