Like agricultural crops, grass seed requires specific conditions to achieve optimum growth. These growing conditions are not one-size-fits-all — different seeds require special soil qualities, sunlight, and irrigation levels.
Whether you are looking to overseed your lawn to improve the density of existing turf or start from scratch, growing grass seed requires research to create a luscious, healthy green lawn.
With U.S. homeowners spending an average of $503 yearly on lawn care, we want to make sure you invest your money in a seed that will thrive in your yard.
While Delaware might be a small state, it doesn’t always have the most desirable characteristics for growing a healthy lawn. You’ll need to know whether you should plant warm-season or cool-season grasses in your area and how to adjust your maintenance to the soil conditions and temperatures where you live.
This article will lead you through all the information you need to decide what type of grass seed to grow at your Delaware home.
Growing Conditions and Characteristics
Because of the varying weather, growing grass seed in Delaware requires some extra care. Delaware is located in the transitional zone, a part of the United States where warm and cool-season grasses have less than ideal growth patterns.
The summers are warm with high average temperatures up to 87 degrees, and the winters are cold, with temperatures dropping to 25 degrees. This wide range of high and low temperatures creates an environment where any type of grass seed will struggle to thrive outside of its preferred growth season.
Delaware falls within two plant hardiness zones: 7a and 7b. In these zones, the temperatures never drop to dramatic lows, as you’d see in northern states. However, you have to take into account the possibility of subzero weather — Delaware temperatures could reach as low as 0 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit in the wintertime.
But not everything about growing grass seed in Delaware will be challenging. Greenwich, the state soil of Delaware, is a well-drained soil that is excellent for agriculture. The topsoil has high amounts of silt, which can help to increase soil fertility. Greenwich is found in every Delaware county near the coastal plain.
When to Plant Grass Seed in Delaware
Delaware is located in the northern part of the transitional zone, which means you’ll have an easier time planting cool-season grass types than warm-season grasses.
August 15th through September 30th is the best time to plant grass seed in this state. This time frame allows new lawn seeds to germinate before the first fall frost, but it’s past the high temperatures of mid-summer.
Although cool-season grasses are a better option for Delaware, if you decide to plant a warm-season grass type, it’s best to do so between March 1st to April 15th. Planting during spring puts your yard at risk for weeds, but with the help of fertilizer and good lawn maintenance, you can count on a vibrant green lawn.
Before planting in any season, you’ll want to check the weather forecast for rain. Heavy rainfall can wipe away or drown new seeds. Delaware receives 45 inches of annual precipitation, and short, heavy rains aren’t unusual, especially in the spring and summer.
Best Types of Lawn Grasses for Delaware
Due to its location in the transition zone, growing grass seed in Delaware requires moderately high maintenance.
You’ll also want to pay attention to the nature of your yard — for example, select a grass seed with excellent shade tolerance if you have a lot of shady areas, or opt for a hardier seed like tall fescue for a well-trafficked lawn.
Overall, warm-season grasses aren’t as easy to grow in Delaware, so cool-season grass types are best suited for home lawns. However, you still have some options from both types of grass seeds.
Warm-Season Grass Types
Zoysia grass is one of the only warm-season grass seeds that can withstand Delaware’s weather patterns. Where other grasses might struggle, Zoysia grass is extremely wear-resistant and moderately shade tolerant.
This grass seed prefers warm soil temperatures and takes about one to two years to establish a full-grown sod. Once it has reached optimum growth, Zoysia grass will display a vibrant green color with qualities similar to athletic turfgrass.
Cool-Season Grass Types
Kentucky bluegrass is used throughout the United States to create vibrant, lush green lawns.
Other states may consider this grass high maintenance due to its poor drought tolerance and rigid preference for fertile soil conditions. But Delaware has excellent soil quality and high amounts of rainfall, which makes maintaining Kentucky bluegrass easier for the state’s homeowners.
While you will not need to heavily irrigate your lawn seed, Kentucky bluegrass can be slow to establish. The seedlings need time to create a dense root system within the ground, so start seeding toward the earlier end of the planting season, if possible.
Perennial ryegrass is a remarkably resilient grass seed that makes an excellent option for Delaware lawns. This cool-season grass is salt tolerant, so salt from icy driveways and sidewalks won’t ruin your sod.
A robust grass type, heavy lawn traffic won’t damage your perennial ryegrass yard either, making this a good choice for homes with children or pets.
When you need beautiful turfgrass fast, perennial ryegrass is the best grass seed for the job. It quickly germinates, sprouting into an attractive shamrock-green lawn.
In terms of versatile lawns, tall fescue is one of the best options for cool-season grasses. You can also opt for a fescue blend that combines several varieties of tall fescue seeds, resulting in an adaptable, emerald green grass sod.
Tall fescue blends are usually resistant to disease, have moderate drought tolerance and can survive high temperatures. Due to these resilient qualities, tall fescue is highly recommended for U.S. states located within the transitional zone.
Delaware’s geographical location and climate can make achieving optimum growth challenging. Residing in the transitional zone for planting isn’t ideal for warm or cool-season grass types. However, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to obtain good grass quality.
Zoysia Grass is the one warm-season grass that grows well in Delaware because of its ability to withstand the cool winter temperatures. Tall fescue is known for performing well in the transitional zone due to its high adaptability. In addition, Kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass can be planted in any U.S. state.
Ultimately, Delaware homeowners have plenty of options for obtaining a beautiful lawn.
Nature’s Seed sells premium-quality seeds and grass seed blends, so you can always find the best seed for your area. When you start with quality seeds, you can spend more time enjoying your lawn and less time trying to achieve healthy, green grass. Browse our selection of lawn seeds today.