How to Choose Lawn Grass Seed


Choosing the right grass seed is essential if you want to have a successful, vibrant lawn. It does no good to plant a variety that can't withstand your cold winters or hot summers. It also makes no sense to sow a lawn with a seed that will not live up to your expectations. There aren't many turfgrasses that are native to the United States. Buffalo grass is one of the few. Most varieties are adapted through breeding and cross-breeding.

Step 1

Examine the conditions of your yard. Grasses love sunlight, so check to see if the area gets at least four hours of sunlight daily, preferable six. If your yard gets a lot of use and wear and tear, choose a species that can handle it. Fescue can't.

Step 2

Choose cool season grasses such as bentgrass, bluegrass, annual ryegrass, tall fescue or perennial ryegrass if you live in a region that has cold temperatures in the winter and hot to warm temperatures during the summer. These varieties prefer regular periods of rain in the summer but can cope with dry periods because they go dormant. Cool season grass tends to be hardy and thrives in the cooler times of year such as the fall and spring.

Step 3

Pick warm season grasses such as Bermuda grass, carpetgrass, buffalo grass, St. Augustine grass or zoysia if you live in an area where summers are hot and winters are mild. Warm-season grasses are less hardy, grow vigorously during the hot months of summer and turn brown in winter. To maintain a continuously green lawn, you can overseed your brown lawn with ryegrass in the fall.

Step 4

Determine if you live in a transition zone. It falls between Northern and Southern turfgrass regions, affecting states like Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, West Virginia, Arkansas and Tennessee. Sections of Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, Illinois and Kansas are also impacted. Neither warm season nor cool season grasses are always effective in this zone. The best is Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, zoysia, tall fescue and thermal blue.

Step 5

Disperse St. Augustine grass, fescue or zoysia over shady sections of the yard. They do better in marginal light than ryegrass or bluegrass.

Step 6

Choose grasses with a high drought tolerance if your summers are very dry. Bermuda grass, tall fescue and buffalo grass are preferable.

Step 7

Install perennial ryegrass for a fast-growing lawn. This is especially important on slopes because it will help with erosion. The fescues have a medium establishment time and Kentucky bluegrass is slow.

Step 8

Find out from the local nursery if there are locally preferred grass blends. These may be resistant to pests or diseases specific to your area.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid buying a mix that contains 20 percent or more of perennial ryegrass. It grows fast and will overtake the other type of grass.


  • American Lawns: Types of Grasses Found in America
  • Cornell University: Choosing Lawn Grass
Keywords: lawn grass seed, choose grass seed, choose lawn grass

About this Author

Kelly Shetsky has been a broadcast journalist for more than 10 years, researching, writing, producing and reporting daily on many topics. In addition, she writes for several websites, specializing in medical, health and fitness, arts and entertainment, travel and business. Shetsky has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Marist College.