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For avid gardeners a healthy green lawn is important, and to help you choose the best grass seed to use, we review the 5 best products. With just a little know-how, you can bring to life a beautiful expanse of inviting green grass. We break down how to grow a lawn from grass seed into six simple steps How to grow lawn that is lush and full of grass. Checklist to grow a weed-free lawn. Growing a lawn without weeds is a dream for many homeowners. This checklist will help you keep the weeds away from your lawn while maintaining healthy grass and teach you how to make St Augustine grass thicker.

5 Best Grass Seed to Buy for a Healthy and Green Lawn

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If you are an avid gardener, having a well-maintained and healthy green lawn is important. Not only for enhancing the overall look of your property but also to improve the quality of the soil. Whether you are planting a new lawn or looking to re-seed unsightly patches of bare ground, finding the right type of grass seed will help you to get the beautiful lush green lawn you desire.

The 5 Best Grass Seeds

Our Top Pick for the Best Grass Seed

Our top pick for the best grass seed is the Pennington Smart Seed Sun and Shade Seeds.

These super seeds are pretty tough and can survive in almost any kind of climate. Even sandy soil will not stop them from flourishing. The seeds can be planted in full sun or moderate shade. With a quick rate of germination, they will spring to life into a beautiful green lawn.

One of the best aspects of the Pennington Super Seeds is that they are very low maintenance. They also require less watering. This will save you money on your water bill.

How to Choose the Best Grass Seed for Your Lawn

Your choice of grass seed will depend on what you want to use it for. So to be able to find the right seed for your lawn’s needs, consider these 5 questions:

  1. Are you planting a new lawn from scratch or do you have bare patches that need to be covered quickly?
  2. Does your yard have a lot of shade from trees? Or does it receive a lot of sun, partial, or no sun at all?
  3. Do you prefer a certain variety of grass seeds, such as Red Fescue, or would you prefer a mix of different seed varieties?
  4. How much time do you have to dedicate to the maintenance of your lawn? Are you “time-poor” and prefer a low maintenance type of grass seed that does not need a lot of watering? If you do not have time to regularly water the lawn, why not choose a grass variety that is drought resistant or has been specifically designed to retain water.
  5. What type of soil do you have, is it clay-based or sandy soil? What is the pH level of the soil? If you are not sure about your soil type or pH levels, you can always consult your local gardening store for advice. Some grass seed manufacturers will display the type of soil pH or soil type that is right for their particular type of grass mix.

Good to Also Consider

In addition to the above 5 questions, you also need to consider the climate where you live. The types of grass that are best suited to that climate.

Do you live in a warm climate that has a lot of hot sun and experiences periods of drought? Maybe you live in a cooler climate where there is a lot of rain? All of these questions will determine what type of grass seed is the right fit for your lawn.

Some grass types thrive in cooler temperatures, while other types grow faster in a warmer climate. Some grasses prefer a dry arid climate, while others prefer a wet climate.

If you find that your grass is not growing, chances are the grass seed is not suited for your geographic area and its particular climate.

For example, if you live in the US, choosing the right seasonal grass will depend on the particular geographic location or zone in which your state is located.

The US is split into 4 zones:

Cool/Humid Zone

The Cool/Humid Zone contains areas like the Northeast and some of the Midwestern states.

Cool/Arid

The Cool/Arid zone contains some of the drier areas of the Midwest and West.

Warm/Arid

The Warm/Arid zone contains the states in the South-West.

Warm/Humid

The Warm/Humid zone contains states in the South-East and also the Gulf States.

Then there is another geographic area called the transition zone. This zone can be more of a challenge for gardeners to find the right kind of grass seed. The Transition Zone experiences all four of the above climates. Here is a map that shows the particular states that fall into these four zones.

As well as these basic four zones as outlined above you can also access a more detailed map. A Turfgrass Selection Climate Color Coded map, which divides the US into 11 separate planting zones, depending on whether you live in a warm or cool zone.

Once you have found out which geographical or temperature zone your state falls into, you can start looking for the particular grass type that will work best in your area.

Types of Grass Seed

Grass seeds fall into 2 types: cool-season grasses and warm-season grasses.

Cool Season Grass

Cool-season grasses predominately thrive in the cool/humid and cool/arid zones, which are contained in the Northern/Northeast and Midwest sections of the US. These grasses are very hardy and they are a good choice as they can withstand colder temperatures. However, they can also tolerate some heat. They grow the best in temperatures that range from 65-80°F. They should be planted during the spring and fall months.

Some of them can handle long periods of drought as they go dormant and then start to grow again in the cooler months.

Except for the coldest winters, cool-season grasses will continue to grow to a certain extent while they are under snow cover. It is best to plant cool-season grasses in the fall. This is so that they have time to take root before the winter season arrives.

– Examples of Cool Season Grasses

Some popular examples of cool-season grasses include Ryegrass, Kentucky Bluegrass, and Red Fescue.

Kentucky bluegrass is one of the most popular cool-season grasses due to its fine-blade blue-green appearance and general all-around tolerance to a variety of growing conditions.

Ryegrass is another popular cool-season grass that provides excellent cover in high-traffic areas. It is also a very good choice for those gardeners who need to cover bare patches in their lawn quickly, as it has a fast germination rate.

Red Fescue or Creeping Red Fescue is the ideal choice for a garden that has full or partial shade areas with some exposure to the sun. And for gardeners who prefer a low maintenance lawn. Creeping Red Fescue can provide good ground cover all year round. It can also withstand drought conditions and can be used in zones 1-7. And also in areas that have winters that have temperatures that drop to -15°F.

Red Fescue is not ideal for areas that have warmer winters as the lack of freezing winter temperatures does not provide the necessary time for the seeds’ dormancy.

Warm Season Grasses

Warm-season grasses grow well in the summer months. They tend to be very drought-resistant. So they are also ideal for lawns that are situated in the southern states. They thrive in gardens that receive a lot of sun and grow the best in temperatures that range from 75-90°F.

During the cooler seasons around late fall and into the winter months, the grass will become dormant and turn brown and will grow once again when the warmer seasons begin to arrive.

– Examples of Warm Season Grasses

Some popular examples of warm-season grasses include Bermuda, Zoysia, St. Augustine, Bahia, and Buffalo.

Bermuda grass is very durable and requires little maintenance and tolerates drought conditions very well. However, it is not tolerant of shady areas.

Zoysia grass is a low-maintenance grass. It produces a dense growth and can grow in a large variety of soils, from sandy to clay and alkaline to acid. Although it is predominantly found in the Southern States, it has been found in some parts of the north like New York and Chicago.

St. Augustine grass has heat-resistant qualities. It is ideal for humid parts of the Southern and Gulf states. However, it does not tolerate cool temperatures very well.

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Bahiagrass does very well in sandy, slightly acidic soils and full sun conditions. It is a low-maintenance turfgrass that requires minimal watering and fertilizing. However, it does not develop the thick, rich look of other grasses. It can withstand a lot of activity. It can also survive short periods of drought but does not handle the cold weather very well.

Buffalo grass is one of the few native kinds of grass in the US. It can be found in the west of the Mississippi, and many semi-arid regions of Texas, and other areas in the southwest. It can withstand near-freezing temperatures for short periods and extended drought periods. However, it does not do very well in high activity areas.

5 Best Grass Seeds – Reviews

1. JRK SEED 4 Fescue Low Grow/No Mow Seed

JRK SEED has designed its 4 Fescue Low Grow/No Mow Seed to produce a no-maintenance lawn that will have the best tolerance to drought conditions. Although this 10lbs bag of grass seed contains a blend of Boreal creeping red fescue, VNS Sheep’s Fescue, Reliant IV Hard Fescue, Ambrose Chewing Fescue, and Named Perennial Ryegrass, which have been specifically selected for northern soils and climates, it can also be used in the warmer states.

The best time to plant these seeds is early Spring or early Fall and the seeds will germinate quickly to produce a thick green lawn that has an even coverage over a 1000-square-feet area. As the grass will require minimal maintenance, it is ideal for lawns that host a lot of activity.

To get the best growth rate out of the seeds is to plant them in the bare ground that has been prepared for seeding. You can plant the seed in sandy soil and normal soil, on a flat lawn, a hillside, or a shaded tree line. JRK Seed is fast growing and will result in a healthy lawn that requires little or no mowing depending on fertility and moisture. The grass seed is also available in a 3lbs bag, 5lbs bag, and 25lbs bag.

  • Economical
  • Creates a lawn that requires minimal maintenance
  • Drought-tolerant
  • Grows well in direct sunlight and shaded areas
  • Produces thick green grass
  • Pricey
  • Lawns in the Pacific Northwest may require more mowing due to higher levels of rainfall

2. DC Earth Creeping Red Fescue

DC Earth Creeping Red Fescue is the ideal choice for a garden that has full or partial shade areas with some exposure to the sun, and for gardeners who prefer a low maintenance lawn. Creeping Red Fescue is a hardy type of grass that can provide good ground cover all year round and can withstand drought conditions.

It can be used in zones 1-7, and in areas that have winter temperatures of -15°F. These seeds are not ideal for zones 9-11 that have warmer winters as the lack of freezing winter temperatures does not provide the necessary time for the seeds’ dormancy.

DC Earth grass seeds can help with erosion control and will attract wildlife to your lawn or meadow. The seeds are very hardy and can be planted in well-drained, dry, or average soil. They can tolerate soil types such as sandy, loamy, acidic, and dry soil.

To get the best results, the seeds need to be planted in the cooler months. They should start to bring forth rich green shoots in mid-summer, and once the grass reaches its maturity, it will provide even coverage of 90-150lbs per acre and grow up to 12-24-inches in height.

  • Ideal for full or partial shade areas with some exposure to the sun
  • High rate of germination
  • Provides very good coverage
  • Drought-tolerant
  • Creates a beautiful lush green lawn
  • Not ideal for full sun areas

3. Jonathan Green Fall Magic Grass Seed

The Jonathan Green Fall Magic Grass Seed is a good choice if you need to cover any unsightly bare patches of soil. Or if you want to start a new small to medium-sized lawn. The seed mix is also ideal for those lawns that have been summer damaged or have been ravaged by insects as the seed is engineered to be disease and insect-resistant.

The fall magic mixture is specially formulated for seeding in late summer to early fall. As the seed mix contains ryegrass, bluegrass, and creeping red fescue, the seeds have an all-around tolerance to a variety of growing conditions. To get the fastest germination rate, the seeds should be planted in well-moisturized soil that has a pH level of 6.5-6.8.

You can plant the seeds in a sunny or shady area, and the 3lbs mixture will cover up to 1500-square-feet and will grow into an attractive green lawn.

Although the seeds are drought resistant and are capable of preserving moisture when they are fully grown, it is recommended that you carefully follow the product’s instructions to give your lawn the best start in life.

  • Good value for money
  • Fast germination
  • Ideal for sunny or shady areas
  • Ideal for covering bare patches
  • Attractive dark green lawn
  • Need to buy more bags for a large sized lawn

4. Scotts Turf Builder Quick Fix Mix

If you need to cover those bare spots in your garden, or just need some fast-growing turf, Scotts Turf Builder Quick Fix Mix is a great choice. This weed-free mix can be used in shady or sunny areas in well-aerated soil and will provide good, even ground cover for up to 500-square-feet.

Scotts Turf Builder has been specially designed for use in the Northern States and as it contains perennial ryegrass, seeds that grow best when temperatures are between 60-80°F.

With its fast germination rate, you will start to see the first rich green blades emerge in about a week for small areas. And up to 2 weeks for larger areas of your lawn. Scotts Turf Builder is specially designed for covering bare spots on your lawn. However, if you want the mix to cover a larger area of your lawn, you will need to spread the seeds evenly and regularly water the seeds in the early stages of germination.

If you want to use the mix to kick-start a brand new lawn for a small to medium-sized area, you will need to purchase additional bags of seeds.

  • Good value for money
  • Ideal for sunny or shady areas
  • Quick germination rate
  • Ideal for covering bare patches of lawn
  • Good coverage and erosion control
  • 99.9% weed-free
  • Creates a rich green lawn
  • Not ideal for planting a large lawn

5. Pennington Smart Seed Sun and Shade Seeds

The Pennington Smart Seed Sun and Shade Seeds are one of the top-selling grass seed products in the Northern States of the US. It is a very versatile seed mix that is engineered to be drought, heat, and disease resistant. It can survive in almost any type of climate and soil type, so you could also use it if you live in the southern states.

The secret to its success is the Myco Advantage technology, which helps to create a dense root system that allows the grass to retain water to endure drought and tough summer heat. Pennington’s Penkoted technology also protects the seed from deadly fungus by enabling the seed to establish itself faster during the early stages of germination, when it is most susceptible to the ravages of disease.

This pure-bred premium smart seed mix contains cool-season grasses such as Tall Fescue, Red Fescue, and Kentucky Bluegrass, which will thrive in those sunny areas of your garden that receives from 4-8 hours of sun per day. However, it also grows very well in moderately shady areas.

The 7lbs bag of seeds can cover up to 2300-square-feet and with a quick 7-14 day seed germination period, you will be the proud host of a beautiful dark blue-green fine-bladed lawn.

The grass is low maintenance and does not require a lot of watering, which can save you up to 30% more water year after year.

  • Very good rate of germination
  • Drought, heat, and disease resistant
  • Ideal for sunny and shady areas
  • Attractive bright green lawn
  • Low maintenance
  • Economical
  • Expensive

Our Top Pick for the Best Grass Seed

Our top pick for the best grass seed is the Pennington Smart Seed Sun and Shade Seeds.

These super seeds are pretty tough and can survive in almost any kind of climate. Even sandy soil will not stop them from flourishing. The seeds can be planted in full sun or moderate shade. With a quick rate of germination, they will spring to life into a beautiful green lawn.

One of the best aspects of the Pennington Super Seeds is that they are very low maintenance. They also require less watering. This will save you money on your water bill.

How to Plant Grass Seed in Six Steps

If your spouse keeps telling you the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, you might want to tackle the naked-earth lawn chore you’ve been dodging. We’ll show you how to plant grass seed in six steps. You’ll complete one of the most satisfying outdoor tasks a homeowner can accomplish (and maybe save your relationship).

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Here’s how to plant grass seed in six simple steps:

Step 1: Remove the Existing Grass

Is your lawn happily surviving? If your grass is good, but could be better, you could overseed to plump up the existing lawn. For bare spots, use garden tools to roughen up the soil first. Then spread the grass seed over to fill in the bare patches.

If your yard is where feisty weeds go to party and half of your lawn lies naked, you should plan to renovate — remove the old vegetation. New baby grass seedlings cannot compete with that mess. If you’re starting from scratch with a new home build, and establishing a new lawn, you can skip to Step 2.

There are two ways to clean your lawn’s slate:

  • Use a nonselective broad-spectrum herbicide. Follow label instructions carefully and don’t spray on a windy day.
  • Use a sod-cutter, available at most rental companies. Mark your sprinkler heads before operating the cutter to avoid accidents.

Once the weeds and old sod are removed, loosen the soil bed so the new grass seeds’ roots can easily grow through. You can use hand tools (and your toughest friends), a tiller, or core aerator. You can find tillers and aerators at rental companies, as well.

Fill low spots in your yard using a half-and-half mixture of sand and topsoil. If necessary, grade your yard to keep rain or water flowing away from your home.

Step 2: Do a Soil Test, then Add Amendments

Once you have renovated your lawn – exposed and leveled the planting surface – you’ll need to test your soil for the best grass germination and growth. Test the soil as soon as you can. There can be a wait of up to two weeks for results and you could miss your ideal planting window.

At a minimum, you should test for pH. This is a measurement of the acidity or alkalinity of your soil. Most grasses like slightly acidic soil, with a pH of 6.2 to 7.

A simple moisture and pH tester can be found for $10. For about $20, you could test for the major nutrients in your soil. Your results will show the N, P, and K: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potash.

The best soil tests include major and minor nutrients. Your state Extension service and private labs offer these services. Keep in mind your local Extension office can also provide great information and insight that private labs can’t, and usually at a lower cost.

Here are four very good soil tests you can buy on Amazon.

The test results should give you a plan and shopping list for your local garden shop. Follow application instructions carefully and add soil amendments to restore what it lacks. Again, use a tiller or hand tools to work the amendments in to a depth of 1-4 inches.

Step 3: Choose the Best Seed for Your Region

Your local seed expert will always give you the best advice when choosing your seed. Local Extension offices, seed stores, and agricultural suppliers are experienced and understand the microclimates of your area.

In northern states, select cool-season grass, which grows best when temperatures are 60-75 degrees Fahrenheit. Cool-season grasses thrive in the late spring and early fall months in the northern two-thirds of the United States.

People living in Southern states should select a warm-season grass seed. Warm-season grasses thrive from late spring through summer.

Between the North and South is the transition zone where summers are hot and winters are cold. You’ll either need to find the most cold-tolerant warm-season grass available, or the most heat-tolerant cool-season grass.

Best Cool-Season Grasses for Northern States

  • Bentgrass is a standard grass for golf course putting greens. Colonial Bentgrass is for home lawns and likes a low mow.
  • Kentucky bluegrass is a classic choice for Northern lawns. It likes full sun and isn’t shade tolerant.
  • Fine Fescue is a perennial bunchgrass and stands up in poorly drained areas.
  • Tall fescue mix puts down deep roots and is drought tolerant.
  • Creeping fescue is slow to germinate and spread, but tolerates shade, and is good for large lawns.
  • Ryegrass (annual) can be used for a quick shot of green. The perennial ryegrass variety is best for high traffic and playgrounds.

Best Warm-Season Grasses for Southern States

  • Bahiagrass has a coarse texture, is heat/drought tolerant, and is best for low traffic lawns.
  • Bermudagrass is hardy and stands up to heavy traffic, but it’s high maintenance.
  • Buffalograss is the only variety native to North America, highly drought tolerant, and needs little care.
  • Centipedegrass grows slowly but has very low maintenance once established. In warm climates, it’s non-dormant, so it stays green year-round unless there’s a cold snap.
  • Zoysiagrass is a slow grower, but one of the most cold-tolerant varieties of warm-season grasses.
  • St. Augustinegrass is sold as sod, as its seedheads are sterile.

Best Grasses for Transition Zone States

The transition zone is a blend of temperature highs and lows, humidity, summer deluges, and drought.

  • Bermudagrass
  • Kentucky bluegrass
  • Perennial ryegrass
  • Tall fescue
  • Zoysiagrass

Single Variety, Blend, or Grass Seed Mix?

In addition to high-quality grass seed to match your climate, you also need to consider your lawn’s unique properties.

  • Is it in full sun, shade, or a mix? A shade mix is great for dense shade.
  • How much moisture will it get?
  • Is the area heavily trafficked?
  • How much time and effort do you want to spend maintaining the lawn?

Knowing your terrain will help you home in on the formulation of seed you want. Seeds are sold as pure seeds of one variety, blends (multiple types of the same variety), and mixtures (seed blends of different varieties).

Pure seed will give you a unified look. Blends will be less uniform, but one variety may cover up for the weaknesses of another. Grass seed mixtures provide the most biologically diverse lawn: the grass plants won’t look identical, but your lawn has a better chance of surviving diseases and droughts.

Step 4: Best Time to Plant Grass Seed

For cool season grass seeds, either spring or fall are the preferred times, since these northern varieties of grass prefer warm soil and cool air.

In the South, warm-season grasses can be planted from late spring to mid-summer. Wait until the last chance of a late frost has passed, and the daytime temperature is in the 80s.

One of the biggest keys to success is picking a high-quality seed that is right for your climate.

Federal Seed Act Ensures Proper Labeling

When it comes to selecting seeds, the Federal Seed Act requires seed sellers to provide consumers with valuable information on the seed’s label.

Under the law, the label must tell you:

  • The name of the grass variety (or varieties).
  • Its purity, that is, the weight by percentage of each type of seed.
  • Germination percentage. The percentage of the seeds that you can expect to germinate. This is not a number the seed companies can fudge. The federal government expects seed producers to run regular germination tests and keep careful records.
  • Weed seed percentage. Look for a seed that has less than 0.5 percent weeds.

Pure Grass Seed or Fertilizer/Mulch Mix?

You have one final decision to make. Are you going to purchase a seed that incorporates fertilizer and mulch, or purchase fertilizer and mulch separately? The all-in-one products are more expensive but are convenient.

Measure your lawn area in square feet, and purchase enough seed to cover that area. Usually, seed bags are marked as the number of pounds needed per 1,000 square feet. If possible, buy a little more than needed in case you want to reseed some bare spots.

If you are fertilizing separately, broadcast the fertilizer according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Plant your Grass Seed and Fertilizer

To plant grass seed in small areas, hand-seeding is fine. For larger areas, seeders and spreaders provide more precise coverage. You can find hand-cranked spreaders, chest-mounted, or push-from-behind seeders. Drop seeders drop seeds directly below the unit. There are more expensive commercial seeding options as well.

Follow the instructions on the seed bag. If the seeder’s lowest setting seems too generous with the seed, thin it out with sand or vermiculite.

  • For large lawns, fill the push spreader with seed.
  • Spread half of the recommended seed north to south.
  • On the second pass, spread east and west for even coverage.
  • Rake the top ⅛-inch of the seeded surface lightly. Using the back of a leaf rake side-to-side makes this an easy job.
  • If you have access to one, roll an empty lawn roller to improve germination.

“We call it ‘the seed-soil contact,’” said University of Illinois Extension office educator Richard Hentschel. “You want good seed-soil contact. If the seed and soil are not in intimate contact, the little root radicle may die out before it hits the soil.” The radicle is the first root to emerge from a seed.

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If you have hilly areas, seeds will tend to wash away to a low point. One potential solution is hydroseeding: broadcasting seeds that are suspended in a fertilizer-mulch slurry. Professional landscapers often offer hydroseeding services, and there are some hose-end sprayers for the do-it-yourselfers.

Lawn-Starting Fertilizer: Watch the Phosphorus

You need to find out if your state restricts using fertilizers containing phosphorus. Most laws carve out an exception and allow limited application of phosphorus on new lawns, but turf experts say to let your soil test be your guide. If it says that your soil lacks phosphorus, then it’s acceptable.

Step 5: Aqua and Attention

Keep a careful eye on your new grass seeds. They only get one shot to germinate, so what you do now is critical. That means water. Keep in mind that different grass plants germinate at different times, so if you have a mixture of grass seeds, you’ll need to keep watering them until the slowest-germinating species emerges.

  • Keep the top layer of soil moist (but not soggy) down to 1/2 inch. (Too much water is as bad as too little, and overly vigorous watering could wash the seeds away.)
  • Water at least once a day in the morning and perhaps again in the afternoon if the sun and wind have dried out the soil.

A misting attachment on your hose can cut down on the amount of force you use. Part of your lawn may be shadier, part may have more porous soil, or part may be sloped. Adjust your watering according to your lawn’s needs.

Grass Seed Germination Rates, by Grass Type

  • Bahiagrass seed: 10-28 days
  • Bermudagrass seed: 7-28 days
  • Kentucky Bluegrass seed: 14-21 days.
  • Buffalograss seed: 7-10 days.
  • Centipede grass seed: 14-28 weeks.
  • Fescue grass seed: 10-14 days.
  • Annual ryegrass seed, perennial ryegrass seed: 5-10 days.
  • St. Augustinegrass: Rarely grown from seed, propagated by plugs and sod.
  • Zoysia grass seed: 14-21 days.

Even if you planted just one turfgrass variety, the grass seeds won’t all pop up at once. Some will be buried a bit deeper or have a different rate of water absorption. Stay with your watering regimen until you’re sure the seeds have germinated.

Keep foot traffic to a minimum. You could consider putting up “Please keep off the new grass” signs to discourage accidental trampling by your kids and neighbors (and their dogs).

Step 6: When to Give your New Lawn its First Mow

Hooray! Your new lawn is green and it’s growing well.

Here’s how tall your grass should be before you mow for the first time:

  • Bahiagrass: 2-2 ½ inches
  • Bentgrass: 1 inch
  • Bermuda: 1½-2 inches
  • Bluegrass: 2-2½ inches
  • Buffalograss: 2-3 inche
  • Centipede: 1½-2 inches
  • Fescue: 2-3 inches
  • Perennial Ryegrass: 2-3 inches.
  • Zoysia: 1-2 inches

Treat your New Grass like a Baby

Take advice from the ‘70s band, The Eagles. Slow down and take it easy the first few times you mow your new turfgrass. The roots won’t be long or well-established, so it will be easy to accidentally rip up the young plants.

Here are a few tips to ensure a successful first mow:

  • Sharpen the mower’s blade so you cut, not tear, the tender plants.
  • Start the mower off the lawn and minimize the number of turns you make with the mower.
  • Don’t remove more than a third of the grass blade in one mow.

After the first mow, cut back on frequent shallow watering, and switch to watering a couple of times a week, deeply. Water six or eight inches deep to encourage your new lawn to root deeply. Once established the lawn will start spreading to cover any gaps.

After eight weeks, your lawn should be well-established. Hit it with a little more fertilizer to encourage deep roots, and take down your “Please keep off the new grass” signs; your new lawn is ready for fun.

It’s unlikely that grass seeds will grow on top of flat, bare soil. The seeds may germinate but the roots won’t be strong enough to penetrate the soil. It’s best to rough up the soil before sowing for the best seed-to-soil contact.

Don’t cover grass seed with topsoil. The seed needs light to germinate. To protect the seed from birds and washing away, use straw (weed-free) or an erosion-control blanket.

Expect to see tiny grass blades in 10-14 days. Other varieties of seed may take up to 30 days.

DIY or LSE (Let Someone Else)?

Some homeowners and renters love being weekend warriors, but some of the rest of us prefer anything else.

If you’re like me, and you would rather reap the rewards of great grass someone else sowed and mowed, consider hiring a lawn care pro. Give them a call early so they can begin testing and sowing seeds at the proper planting time for your area.

* Editorial Note: LawnStarter participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program. LawnStarter may earn revenue from products promoted in this article.

LawnStarter writer Penny Warner updated this article.

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Daniel Ray

Daniel Ray is LawnStarter.com’s former editor in chief. He is an award-winning writer and editor who previously was editor in chief of the personal finance websites Bankrate.com and CreditCards.com, but with 30 years of gardening experience, he’s well qualified to help consumers grow a different kind of green.

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How To Grow A Grass Lawn Without Weeds

Growing a lawn without weeds is a dream for many homeowners. While it’s probably unrealistic to have a lawn 100% free of weeds, you can aim to grow a thick, healthy stand of grass. That’s actually the easiest way to give weeds the brushoff: grow turf that’s so thick and strong that weeds can’t find an inch to take root. Follow this checklist to grow your healthiest grass ever.

Grow the Right Grass

Different grasses grow in different areas of the country. Warm-season grasses are usually grown in warmer, more southerly regions. Types include Bahiagrass, Bermudagrass, St. Augustinegrass and Zoysiagrass. Cool-season grasses are typically grown in cooler, more northerly regions. Types include Fescue, Kentucky Bluegrass and Ryegrass. Check with your local Cooperative Extension System office to learn which types of grass grow best in your area.

Mow Properly

Start by cutting grass with a sharp mower blade that cuts grass cleanly, without tearing or shredding. Proper mowing height depends on grass type. Vary your mowing pattern to avoid creating ruts in the lawn. Avoid mowing when soil is wet, or you risk tearing up grass and soil.

Water Correctly

Provide adequate moisture to grass, especially during episodes of drought or high temperatures. Provide deep, infrequent irrigation, which promotes healthy, deeper roots. Learn about lawn irrigation basics and how much grass actually needs.

Fertilize

Before you start a fertilizer program, do a soil test so you know you’re applying the correct blend of nutrients. In some parts of the country, soils may be acidic or alkaline and require additions of iron, magnesium or lime. Also, different types of grass need to be fertilized at different times of the year. Check with your local Cooperative Extension System office for help developing the right fertilizer program for your lawn.

Scout for Problems

Like any landscape planting, lawns can suffer from a variety of problems. Weeds, bare spots, insects and diseases can weaken and, if left untreated, even destroy a healthy lawn. Keep an eye out for problems in your lawn.

  • Deal with weeds when you first see them, because one weed leads to many more. Learn about the types of lawn weed killers and when to use each. Discover why fall weed control is key and how to do it successfully.
  • When a bare spot appears, figure out the cause and deal with it. Open soil extends an invitation to weeds, so repair bare spots as quickly as possible.
  • Scout for insect problems. Some of the signs to look for are skunks digging up lawn or flocks of birds feeding on turf. White Grubs are a common lawn pest. Discover the basics of dealing with Grubs.

Aerate and Dethatch

Compacted soils don’t allow air and water to reach grass roots, which results in unhealthy grass.

Aerating helps relieve soil compaction.

When thatch builds up in a lawn, it can prevent water and fertilizer from reaching soil and provide refuge for insects.

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