March 2018 – Grassmasters

Archive Monthly Archives: March 2018

Spring Grass Seeding: What to Look For

While fall is the best time for seeding, it's common for homeowners to plant grass seed in the spring for a variety of reasons.

Spring planting may be due to timing (maybe they want to start a new lawn and don't want to live on a muddy lot for a whole season), or for spot repairs of bare, thin, or weak areas of the yard.

You can always call Grassmasters for help, but if you want to do it yourself, here is what to look for in quality grass seed.

KNOW YOUR TURF ZONE

The United States has five zones. Our area is tricky because it's a "transition zone" with intense seasons that encompass different aspects of all the zones. Grasses require tolerance to heat, cold, and drought.

Examine your yard and make your seeding determinations based on sun and shade, and then you can use this chart to find some excellent grass types:


SHADE/WARM

SHADE/COOL

SUN/WARM

SUN/COOL

St. Augustine

Rough Bluegrass

Bermuda 

Kentucky Bluegrass

Centipede, Zoysia

Tall & Chewings Fescue

Buffalo

Fine Fescue


Note: if you have an area that is a blend of sun and shade, use Kentucky Bluegrass, Fine Fescue, and Perennial Ryegrass for cool season zones.

Use Bermuda, Centipede, and Zoysia for warm season zones.

Pro Tip for Tougher Lawns!

If you have kids that play outside and want to grow a tougher, wear-resistant lawn, here are some hearty grasses with a high wear tolerance. Mixtures of these types hold up to rough and tumble kid traffic:

WARM SEASON WEAR-RESISTANT

COOL SEASON WEAR RESISTANT

Zoysia

Fine Fescue

Bermuda

Tall Fescue

Bahia

Kentucky Bluegrass

Tough lawns are kid-friendly lawns!


WHERE TO BUY SEED

Buy seed from a reputable store, such as a garden center or a big box home improvement store. Buy the best seed available! Don't cut corners, or you may end up with more filler and more weeds.

Cheap seed is cheap for a reason. You want fresh seed, not end of season leftovers. Choose a brand with a guarantee. Keep your receipt and if the seed is a disaster, write them with proof of purchase and you should be able to recoup your investment, depending on the company.

At Grassmasters, we guarantee our seed and only use the freshest, highest quality mixes specifically for this area.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: THE LABEL

Skip the marketing jargon on the labels. Fastest growing, miracle lawn, one-step, less water, all mean nothing compared to what's in the mix. For that, you need to check the label.

The Federal Seed Act of 1936 requires detailed and uniform labeling. You can trust the label information, and it's not hard to decipher.

You know the seed type you need, now check the label for the following information:

Kind and Variety

Look for specific variety names. "Merion Kentucky Bluegrass" is better than "Kentucky Bluegrass." The more generic the type, the better chance you have less desirable characteristics compared to the more specific cultivars.

One tip: shy away from annual ryegrass, which dies off in one season. If any annual ryegrass is in the mix, expect a thinner lawn after just one season, with possible bare spots.

Date

You want a date in the current year. A sell-by date is usually included. Fresh grass is better!

Weed Seed

Almost all grass packages have some weed seed, but you can minimize your risk and inconvenience by getting seed that has less than 1 percent listed on the package.

Germination Percentage

Don't buy seed with a percentage less than 70 percent. This is the amount of seed you can expect to blossom into grass plants under optimum conditions.

Inert Matter

Anything that won't grow is inert matter. Filler materials such as dirt and chaff make up this percentage. You can find grass seed with zero percent inert matter, but anything under 1 percent should suffice.

A pic of Scott's sun & shade mix taken at a home improvement store. Can you tell if this is good seed?

Final Thoughts

There you have it! Follow these general guidelines to get some quality seed for your zone. If you want to get extremely specific with your seed types, you can always check with us, or the local extension. We're happy to help!

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