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Choosing the Correct Lawn Seed

by Dawn West, All About Lawns Columnist

Even in the heart of winter, it's not too soon to plot out your lawn strategy for the summertime. If you're planning to re-seed your lawn, it's a good idea to determine the best grass type for your shade conditions and climate. You'll need to consider a number of variables.

How would you like to improve your lawn?
  • Make it greener
  • Eliminate patches
  • Less weeds
  • Make it thicker
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What's Your Climate Type?

If you live in a region with hard winters, consider selecting lawn seed for cool-season grasses, including fescue, ryegrass, bluegrass, and bentgrass. These grasses exhibit strong root and shoot growth in the spring and have a second burst in early fall.

If you're in a warm region, warm-season grasses like Bermuda, buffalograss, centipede, St. Augustine, and Zoysia fare well in your climate, with shoot and root production coming consistently from spring through fall.

Do You Really Want a High Maintenance Lawn?

Visit your local lawn care shop and ask about the best seed for your region as well as other factors that include foot traffic (children, pets), shade (trees, overhangs), uses (barbecues, sports). If you prefer a hearty lawn (resilience is more important than overall green color) ask about blends that work in your environment.

What kinds of insect, weed, and disease issues plague your region? You want a seed that stands up to fungus and root woes, handles pre and post-emergent weed herbicides without over stressing, and a type that has proven a brawny choice for your part of the state.

Transition Climate Lawn Seeds

Basic warm or cool-season grass seed types don't fare so well in transition zones. You may want to ask about hybrids if you live in southern parts of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Kansas, the lower elevations of Virginia and North Carolina, or in Kentucky, Arkansas, and Tennessee. Transition blends of tall fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, and Zoysia can do well in these picky regions.

About the Author
Dawn West B.A. holds a B.A. in English from Harvard University and teaches writing at Oregon State University.

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