Are you dreaming of laying claim to a lush, vibrant lawn of thriving grass? (The real question is, what homeowner isn’t?) Having a healthy lawn doesn’t simply boost your home’s curb appeal—it may also help cool your property in hot weather, provide an added layer of protection from flood damage, and even prevent erosion caused by water and wind. And of course, grasses and other plants help clean the air by trapping carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. What’s not to like?
If you’re ready to upgrade the grass at your property, the first step is to choose the right type of grass seed. Here’s where things get a little complicated, though; there are several factors that will influence what type of grass is best for your home, and choosing the wrong seed can quickly result in a dying lawn and a wasted investment. Before purchasing seed, be sure to consider these questions:
- Do you live in a warm, cold, or temperate climate?
- Does it rain a lot in the summer?
- How much sun does your lawn receive?
- Do you have a lot of shade?
- Will people or pets frequently use your lawn?
The answers to these questions will point you in the right direction when browsing your grass seed options.
Popular Types of Grass Seed
First things first—to help you identify the right grass seed for your property, let’s review a few of the most popular types of grasses:
- Known for its exceptional heat and drought tolerance, Bahia grass is a hardy choice for lawns in the Southern U.S. It prefers full sun and has low maintenance and nutrition requirements.
- Bermuda grass is a resilient option for yards in warm-weather climates, as it stands up well to hot temperatures, drought, salty air, and high traffic.
- Valued for its unique bluish hue, Kentucky bluegrass thrives in the fall, winter, and spring months. It’s a moderate- to high-maintenance option that can tolerate cold winters but isn’t ideal for very hot climates (including much of Kentucky!).
- Centipede grass is a vibrantly colored and slow-growing option that’s great for property owners who prefer a low-maintenance lawn covering. However, it doesn’t grow well outside of the Southeast and requires at least six hours of full sun every day.
- Popular in the northern and midwest states, fescue grasses are cool-season lawn coverings that require little maintenance and can tolerate foot traffic and mild heat well.
- Perennial ryegrass is used by property owners throughout the U.S., often as turf grass or pasture for animals. This cool-season option does well in cooler climates and can withstand moderate amounts of shade and warm weather.
- Hardy and well-suited for warm climates, zoysia grass is a low-maintenance option that does well against heat, drought, heavy foot traffic, and short periods of cold weather.
Warm-Season Grass Seeds vs. Cool-Season Grass Seeds
It goes without saying that weather affects how plants grow. How’s the weather where you live? Grasses in the U.S. are divided into three categories based on the climate in their ideal growing regions:
Cool-season grasses, which are appropriate for northern parts of the U.S., are cold tolerant and tend to thrive in the spring and late into the fall. Proper watering during hot summer months is important for these grasses, which include:
- Fescue grasses
- Perennial ryegrass
Warm-season grasses can withstand heat and humidity but don’t do well in chilly winters. After thriving in the spring and summer, they turn dormant in early- to mid-fall. Ideal climates for seeding include the Southeast U.S., particularly the Deep South and the Gulf states. Popular examples of warm-season grasses include:
- Bahia grass
- Bermuda grass
- Centipede grass
- Zoysia grass
Transitional grasses refer to options that are appropriate for lawns in much of the Central U.S., from Kansas to the Atlantic Coast. Although cold-season grasses like fescue grasses tend to do better in transitional climates, there are several great warm-season options for property owners in this region, including Bermuda grass and zoysia grass.
How to Choose the Right Grass Seed by Region
As you’ve learned, where you live will play a major role in what kind of grass seed is best for your property. While the needs of individual lawns will vary based on their purpose and sun exposure, here’s a quick cheat sheet of preferred grasses by climate:
- Northeast – Perennial ryegrass, Kentucky bluegrass, and fescue grasses
- Midwest – Kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass
- Southeast – Bahia gras, Bermuda grass, zoysia grass, and centipede grass
- Deep South and Gulf Coast – Bahia grass and centipede grass
- Southwest – Bermuda grass and Bahia grass
- Pacific Northwest – Kentucky bluegrass and fescue grasses
- Transitional – zoysia grass, Bermuda grass, and fescue grasses
When to Plant Grass Seed
The best time to plant your grass seed will all depend on the climate and what type of grass you are sowing. Most warm-season grasses should be planted in the spring or early summer, although Bermuda grass may be planted as late as August, in some cases. Many cool-season grasses can either be planted in the spring or fall (although fall is best for ryegrass and fescue grasses). Additionally, we have many great Fall & Winter lawn alternatives.
Your Go-To Source for Grass Seed & More
If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed with all this information, take a deep breath—the experts at Hancock Seed Company can help you select the best grass seed for your specific climate, desired level of maintenance, and preferences. (For example, do you want sturdy turf that will accommodate countless backyard football games, or do you care more about having a vibrant, green long well into the fall?)
Hancock Seed offers a complete range of grass seeds for property owners in cool, warm, and transitional climates, from popular choices like Bermuda and ryegrasses to specially designed lawn seed mixtures. We also offer non-grass lawn coverings as well as the right pasture feed options that are ideal for ranchers and homesteaders with livestock. Whatever your seed needs entail, we’ve got you covered! Contact our friendly professionals today at 1(800) 552-1027 to learn more information or browse our diverse selection of grasses on our website.