Rhode Island Grass Seed
Over 64% of Americans don’t know the right time to plant grass seed. Moreover, very few people know the proper seed for their region, yet many citizens pride themselves on their lawn’s appearance.
If you live in Rhode Island, you understand the challenges that come with maintaining your lawn, even if you don’t know why exactly it’s so difficult. You are likely planting the wrong seed variety at the wrong time of year. It’s crucial to understand how weather conditions, terrain, and grass seed type affect your lawn’s success.
This guide will whelp you understand your geographical location from the perspective of grass seed and discover the best types of grass to grow in Rhode Island.
Rhode Island Seed Growing Conditions and Characteristics
Rhode Island, one of six states in the New England area, has only 1,054 square miles. As a small state, there isn’t much difference in terrain from one side to the other.
However, there are three distinct sections:
- Coastal Region — around the south shore near the Narragansett Bay with less than 100ft of elevation change.
- Rolling Uplands — moving north and east of the bay, this region reaches elevations up to 200ft.
- Hilly Uplands — making up ⅔ of the state, the hilly uplands fluctuate in height from 200ft-600ft.
Given the small area and high population per square mile, there is no substantial agricultural land. And Rhode Island’s glacial history produced a sandy loam top layer with a gravelly lower layer, so it’s not very good for crops and livestock.
Most of the soil drains well because of the rocky texture, except for the small portion of Rhode Island where the ground is muddy. Muddy soil does not drain well and makes it difficult to grow crops.
The temperature averages 48℉ annually. Summer temperatures are rarely in the 90s, and winter temperatures average 20℉ with rare days below 0℉. Due to these moderate temperatures, you need to use a grass seed that can handle cold temperatures but does not need a lot of warmth throughout the year.
Rhode Island experiences approximately 42 to 46 inches of rain per year, depending on your location in the state. The Ocean State resides in the middle of the “prevailing westerlies.” As air moves across the country, winds meet and create storm systems throughout the year.
In the winter months, parts of Rhode Island experience anywhere from 20 inches of snow near the coastline to 55 inches of snow in the state’s western third. Overall, the best grass seeds for Rhode Island can handle cooler temperatures with several feet of precipitation per year.
When to Plant Grass Seed in Rhode Island
With cold temperatures and several feet of precipitation throughout the year, you must plant grass seed at the right time — ideally late summer and early fall. Temperatures are not too cold during this time of year, but there is plenty of moisture in the ground and precipitation to water the seedlings and give them the best start.
If you cannot get your seeds planted by early fall, wait until the spring. Planting seeds in the winter will not work because seeds will freeze and not root. Planting in September allows seeds to root into the soil and grow without competition. Weeds are scarce during the fall season, so they can’t choke out the grass.
Best Types of Grass Seeds for Rhode Island
Rhode Island’s location in the country, along with the weather conditions, makes it a specific place for grass seed. You cannot plant just any grass in Rhode Island and expect it to grow. Because of its cooler climate, you should only plant cool-season grasses.
Cool-season grasses are types of grass that grow exceptionally well in cold, harsh winters but can handle hot, dry summers. While the state doesn’t experience hot and dry summers, the winters are especially severe, and your grass needs to handle the temperatures and precipitation.
The best grasses for Rhode Island are all cool-season grasses including:
- Kentucky Bluegrass
- Perennial Ryegrass
- Tall Fescue
- Fine Fescue
Known for its bluish-green hue, Kentucky Bluegrass is a popular grass for cooler climates. It is durable, meaning it withstands heavy foot traffic well.
One of the best reasons to plant Kentucky bluegrass in your yard is that it requires a lot of water, and the Ocean State has at least 40 inches of rain per year and anywhere from 20 to 55 inches of snow. This drastic amount of precipitation is perfect for maintaining a healthy Kentucky bluegrass lawn.
Perennial ryegrass is an excellent choice for someone who needs to plant quickly. This grass seed germinates rapidly, making it highly popular for erosion control. Similar in color to Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass is great for foot traffic and highly visited areas.
Depending on your location, you need to be careful with this strain of ryegrass. This grass seed doesn’t do well in shaded areas — it does best in sunny fields. If you are looking for a grass seed that can handle shady pastures and yards, consider the fescues on this list.
If you prefer low-maintenance grass seed, tall fescue is perfect for your lawn. This grass seed is exceptionally durable and can withstand drastic temperature changes. While tall fescue is prevalent in the country’s transition zone and warm-season areas, it does well as a cool-season grass too.
This grass has a coarser texture and does well in sandy and gravelly soil, making it perfect for the terrain in Rhode Island.
Fine fescue has a fine leaf texture making for a softer feel and texture.
This grass seed is often mixed with other grass seeds because it excels in shaded areas, unlike other grasses on this list. This grass has excellent drought tolerance. Therefore, you should reserve it for properties near the beach with lower precipitation levels than the inland regions.
As you prepare your lawn for reseeding and planting, you must make the right choices. Plant your grass later in summer to early fall for a healthy lawn. During this time, your seeds will root and prepare for winter. Choose a blend of grass seeds, or one particular seed, suitable for thriving in harsh conditions.
With its cold winters and mass amounts of precipitation, you should invest in Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, tall fescue, fine fescue, or any blend of these grasses. Find cool-season grass and blends of grasses at Nature’s Seed.