If you thought all grass seed was created equal, think again! Grass seed is actually quite complicated. Not only are there different types of grass seeds, but there are those that do better in certain conditions or soils. Knowing how to plant grass seed in spring or summer will help ensure that you don’t waste the product you just purchased. This review of the best grass seeds will tell you everything you need to know about getting your grass growing and healthy this season.
Best Grass Seed for Shade
Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Dense Shade Mix for Tall Fescue Lawns
The Scotts Turf Builder products will come up quite a few times on our list of the best grass seeds. This is a mix designed for an area that has partial sun but a good amount of shade. The biggest thing you have to watch out for in the shade is disease. The 4 in 1 WaterSmart Plus Coating helps to absorb water and keep the new grass healthy.
- Grows with three or more hours of sunlight
- Helps protect against disease
- Still handles partial sun
- Not going to help for complete shade areas
Jonathan Green Dense Shade Grass Seed Mixture
- SHADE TOLERANT GRASS SEED - Our grass seed mix has shade-tolerant grass seeds designed for areas where the penetration of sunlight is limited. Perfect for lawns with big trees, large shrubs, or areas shaded by houses or other permanent structures.
- PROVIDES A DARK GREEN LAWN - This grass seed mix produces healthy, dense, and attractive turf with a dark-green color.
- GERMINATES & ESTABLISHES QUICKLY - Our lawn seed mixture has a germination time of 14 - 21 days. These turfgrass varieties also possess beneficial endophytes for insect and disease resistance.
- CONTAINS 4 COOL-SEASON GRASSES - Black Beauty Dense Shade contains the four families of cool-season turfgrasses: turf-type tall fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, perennial rye, and fine fescues. This creates great versatility in shady to partial sun lawns.
If the Scotts Turf Builder grass seed product is not the right fit for you, the Jonathan Green Dense Shade could be a great choice to consider. If you have tried planting seed in an area and believe that there is just no way that it will grow because of the lack of sun, give this option a shot. The grass that Jonathan Green is made up of is naturally insect resistant. This will help ensure that your lawn does not become infested with insects as soon as you get it going.
- Does well even in thick shade
- Insect resistant grass type
- Large 25-pound bag
- Priced higher than other seeds
Best Grass Seed for Full Sun
Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Zoysia Grass Seed and Mulch
- Zoysia grass seed & mulch is designed for full sun and light shade
- Combines mulch and grass seed to grow a tough, durable, low-maintenance lawn
- Extremely versatile seed mix that's 99.9% weed free
- Thrives in heat, drought and partial shade
- Seeds up to 2,000 sq. ft.
Zoysia grass is very well known for thriving in the sun. In fact, if you have very few trees around your property, you are probably going to want to consider Zoysia. This is one of the warm season grasses, but it is very heat and sun tolerant. In fact, if you have a bit of a drought growing on, your Zoysia will still thrive. Also, this particular seed is going to be 99 percent weed-free.
- Can handle heat and sun
- Very sturdy warm season grass
- Lower maintenance than other seeds
- Zoysia is considered a premium seed
BONIDE Grass Seed Full Sun Grass Seed
- Improved varieties thrive in full sun
- Fine texture plus heat resistance
- Fast spreading to fill thin spots quickly
- No assembly required
The Bonide Grass Seed is a Full Sun Grass Seed available in a 3lb bag. You will notice that this is a great seed to fill in with turf that is burning out from too much sun. The seeds used in this mixture are very fine texture, and they are heat resistant. This particular type spreads fast, and it fills in thin spots with ease. We love this option for when you don’t need to seed your entire lawn, but a quick solution to bare spots is needed.
- Perfect size for fill in
- Fast spreading
- Fills in thin spots quickly
- Premium price for a smaller bag
Best Grass Seed for Sun and Shade
Pennington Smart Sun and Shade Grass Seed
- Uses up to 30% less water versus ordinary grass seed
- Grass establishes quickly
- Contains grass seed varieties that thrive in both sun and shade
- Produces a thick, fine bladed, dark blue-green lawn
- Very good drought tolerance
- Good disease and insect resistance
Pennington makes some great grass seeds, especially when you are looking to take care of a unique situation in your turf. The Pennington uses 30% less water than other grass seed because of the way that it is developed; it also roots very quickly. The Pennington is one of those grasses that does well with a mix of sun and shade. Also, you won’t have to worry about these grasses should there be a bit of a drought. Overall this is a durable and long lasting seed that makes it easier to get your lawn looking great.
- Keeps insects and fungus away
- Grows quickly
- Can handle drought situations
- Can be difficult to establish the sun/shade balance
Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Sun and Shade Mix
Scotts knows a thing or two about growing grass. This sun and shade mix is a very popular product from Scotts. You can use this when your turf is in the full sun and when it is completely shaded at times as well. The seed is designed with the 4 in 1 WaterSmart Coating that will help make sure it does not get diseases even while it is cold and dark in the shade. Overall, Scotts is an expensive seed, but it is one that many homeowners have better luck with.
- Spreads very fast
- Will cover 8000 square feet
- Fungus resistant
- Will spread aggressively; make sure you have space before putting it down
Best Grass Seed for Sandy Soil
Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Argentine Bahiagrass
- Argentine Bahiagrass grass seed designed for full sun
- Coated to absorb 2x more water than uncoated seed
- Establishes deep roots and tolerates stress for lower maintenance
- Excellent heat and drought resistance, and is darker green and has a wider blade than Pensacola bahiagrass
- Seeds up to 1,000 sq. ft.
When working with sandy soil, the roots of the seeds must grow deeply. If the seeds do not root deeply in the soil, they will have a hard time staying strong and durable enough. The Bahiagrass seed is known for handling sandy soil quite well. This product will do very well in full sun and absorbs water quickly and easily. Overall you will find Bahiagrass to be a very low maintenance seed.
- Heat and drought resistant
- Darker green color
- Very deep roots
- Can take a little longer to grow
Jonathan Green Black Beauty Ultra Grass Seed Mix
- Up to 1,200 square foot coverage
- Possesses species diversity, contains Black Beauty Tall Fescues, elite Kentucky Bluegrass and elite Perennial Ryegrass, produces a dark-green color
- Grows well in clay or sandy soils and in full sun or partial shade
- Has an invisible waxy coating which wards off disease and preserves moisture in the leaf for superior drought tolerance
- Contains naturally insect resistant grass
The Black Beauty Ultra Grass Seed Mix is another great option if you are looking for something that will have to grow in sandy soil. This is a mixture of Fescue, Bluegrass and Ryegrass. Your overall lawn color will be a bit darker in color than other options on the market. The waxy coating on the grass also helps keep insects away and help the seeds should there be a water shortage of any sort.
- Does well in sandy soil
- Mixture of three tolerant types of grass
- Natural insect resistance
- Contains more cool season grass
Best Spray On Grass Seed and Liquid Grass Seed
Grass Shot by Bulbhead – The Ultimate Home Hydro Seeding System, Liquid Spray Seed Lawn Care
- Includes: grass shot sprayer, 1 packet of spray grass seed blend, 1 green liquid formula
- The ultimate home hydro seed system as seen on tv
- Use the grass shot soak & seed spray system to spray green grass color while you seed your lawn
- Spray on grass is the ideal solution for pet burn spots, high traffic areas and more
- Grass shot liquid lawn care easily attaches to any garden hose
Spray on grass seed is not the most popular type of see available. There are some issues with spray on grass seed not being quite as reliable as the other types of seeds. This Grass Shot Spray on grass seed is a simple system that will get your grass green while growing a new seed. This is a great solution for high traffic areas that need to be fed with new turf fairly often. You simply attach this to the end of your hose and spray the lawn.
- Great for small areas that get a lot of traffic
- Will attach to any hose
- Comes out a green color
- Only covers a small area
Hydro Mousse Liquid Lawn System – Grow Grass Where You Spray It
- Hydro Mousse is easy to apply and provides the perfect solution for homeowners with patchy lawns that need repair. Fix dry spots, dog spots, high traffic areas and shade
- Attaches to any garden hose and eliminates guesswork by clearly showing you where you are planting
- Each kit will reseed a 100 foot square area, or 200 spots and contains: the spray head, the coating chamber (canister), the grass seed blend that is suitable for all climates, the Hydro Mousse liquid formula
- Grow grass anywhere (Subject to proper care) - Please follow all directions on package to achieve and establish a desirable lawn. Achieving and maintaining a lush looking lawn is not difficult if you use Hydro Mousse. Remember proper preparation and watering is crucial for seeding success
The Hydro Mousse Liquid Lawn System is a great choice for those pesky areas around pools and patios that have a hard time keeping the grass in place. This model attaches directly to the hose and will cover about a 100 square foot area. The liquid comes out a bit like foam, and it will look a little funny on your lawn for a few days. However, you should start to see durable and healthy grass come through to fill in the spot over time. People enjoy the convenience of a simple spray on model like this one.
- Covers little trouble spots easily
- Mix of strong and healthy grasses
- Fescue, Bluegrass, and Ryegrass mix
- Grass spray Is not always effective in growing thick grass
Best Bermuda Grass Seed
Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Bermudagrass
Bermuda grass is a warm season grass that does very well in heat and dry conditions. The Scotts Turf Builder Bermuda seems to be one of the best options for growing thick and strong Bermuda grass. The Bermuda seems to be a bit difficult to get started, but once it does get going, it can be one of the faster spreading grasses. These seeds are coated with the 4 in 1 WaterSmart technology and will do a great job of protecting against diseases.
- Handles hot temperatures
- Will survive a drought
- Spreads thick
- Usually a bit lighter in color
Pennington Bermuda Grass Seed
- Pennington Premium Bermudagrass Blend 5lb Thick, aggressively self-spreading grass
- Extremely wear-resistant with a deep root system
- Naturally more drought tolerant
The Pennington Bermuda Grass Seed is a warm season grass that does the best in temperatures above 75 degrees. Once you can get a Bermuda lawn grass growing, it spreads well and is one of the more durable products. Pennington Bermuda Grass Seed does quite well in the sun; of course, it is important to remember that Bermuda grass is likely going to be a much lighter shade of green. When you can match the seed to the turf you already have established, it will be much easier for you to maintain your lawn.
- Great for establishing a new lawn
- Durable lawn seeds
- Large coverage area
- Must be warm for it to start to grow
What Are Grass Seeds?
Grass seeds are simply seeds that grow grass. Grass seeds grow in several different growing conditions, and grass seeds come in many different types as well. The type of seed you plant will be very important. Depending on where you live, the grass seeds may or may not make it. Let’s look at some of the grass seed types and which one you need for your home.
Grass Seed Types
There are many grass seed types, and they grow in varying regions across the world. Here are some of the most common grass seed types.
Cool Season Grass
Bentgrass is a very popular grass to find on a golf course. In the northern United States, you can cut bentgrass very short, and therefore it’s perfect for a golf course. Bentgrass is an expensive grass to maintain; when it is so short, the insects and funguses can start to take off.
Warm Season Grass
Bermuda grass can tolerate a very low mowing height, which makes it good for golf courses. Bermuda grass needs to be fertilized and watered quite often, especially when it gets hot out. Bermuda should be deep green, but sometimes it is much lighter.
Warm Season Grass
Centipede grass grows horizontally, which is what sets it apart from some of the other grasses. Although this is a warm season grass, it does not do well when it gets dry. You will find Centipede in the south on the northern coast, where it is a bit more humid.
Cool Season Grass
Fescue grass is quite popular, and if you are planning on planting an entirely new lawn, the fescue is a popular choice. The fine fescue is a thin textured grass that does well in the shade. The cooler conditions and moist weather seem to be the best fit for fine fescue.
Cool Season Grass
Kentucky bluegrass is one of the more popular types of grass in the north. In fact, if you live in the North, you have probably purchased some Bluegrass sod at some point. Bluegrass tends to spread quickly and is relatively easy to keep alive.
Cool Season Grass
Ryegrass is a cool season grass that is soft and dark green. When you mow, Ryegrass looks a bit white when you are finished. Although this is considered a cool season grass, it doesn’t do well in areas where the temperature never fully warms up. Bluegrass seems to be a more popular northern grass
Cool Season Grass
Tall fescue is another type of fescue that does very well in high impact areas. You will notice tall fescue on sports fields, and it grows in thick bunches. Tall fescue grass is often mixed in with other seeds to complete a seed mixture.
Warm Season Grass
Zoysia is a grass type that is growing in popularity across the south. With the ability to purchase seed and grow this grass easily, it usually turns out to be a better choice than St.Augustine. The only downside of Zoysia seed initially is that it is slow growing; sometimes, it can take up to a year.
Grass Seeds By Region
There are two basic regions when you start talking about grass seen. There are cool season grasses and warm season grasses. Depending on where you live, you will need to understand which seed can grow where you live. If you plant a warm season grass in a cool season zone, it will not last through the winter.
Cool Season Grasses
Warm Season Grasses
- St. Augustine
Considerations When Buying Grass Seed
Now that you have a better understanding of the best grass seeds on the market, how will you know which one will be the best for your yard? Aside from the type of grass, you must make a few other considerations before purchasing lawn seed.
The most important consideration is what type of grass you are going to want in your yard. Most people like to have grass that matches across their entire yard. This is not just for aesthetics but also for keeping the lawn in great shape.
When you have different types of turf, you may need to adjust your watering and fertilizing schedule. If you are unsure of which type of grass you have, you can use an online guide from a seed company to determine what you have.
Location of Seeds to Be Planted
Once you identify the type of lawn seeds that you want, you must consider where you will be planting the seeds. Is the grass in a full shade area, partial sun, or full sun? Try and watch the areas that need seeding for a day to two to establish what is necessary.
When you don’t pay attention to the light in the area, you will have difficulty getting the grass to come up.
The price of grass seed seems to be all over the place. Many of the southern grass seeds are much more expensive than the cooler season grasses. Part of this is that they are a bit harder to grow. When it comes to home lawns, you don’t want to have to seed all that often. Paying for a high-end seed, to begin with, will help to make sure you get a stable and healthy lawn.
How much of your lawn needs to be covered with seed? Certainly, if you are putting a new lawn in, you will need quite a bit of seed. However, if you are just fixing up some bare spots, you may save some money by purchase a smaller bag. Lawn seed will have a shelf life; if you don’t need a 50lb bag, don’t buy one!
Best Time to Plant Grass Seed
Knowing when to plant grass seed and understanding the importance of growing conditions will ensure that your seed purchase is not waisted. There are good times in the spring and fall to plant the seed, and sometimes in the summer as well.
When to Plant Grass Seed in Spring
Warm season grasses are going to do the best when they are planted in the spring. The spring temperatures and soil temperatures are warm enough for the warm season grasses. They will also have the entire summer to grow and gain strength before temperatures start to drop.
Warm soil helps the seeds start to establish themselves. We recommend waiting until you start seeing some 80 degree temperatures before you start your planting projects.
Planting Grass Seed in Fall
Cool season grasses tend to do best when planted in the fall. Although this can be a long wait to fill in, it is truly the best time to plant these seeds. You will want to wait until the daytime temperatures start to drop. However, always give your new seed about 35-50 days before it will experience its first frost.
Your first frost time will depend on your location, but most of this information should be available on a local weather app. The early fall is usually the best time for these grasses.
Planting Grass Seed in Summer
Planting grass seed in the summer is not ideal. Summers tend to be quite dry and hot, and most of the time, these are not great characteristics for getting a green lawn. If you are going to plant grass in the summer, make sure that it is warm season grass. Pay very close attention to the water that you are giving your new seed. Although you want to keep it moist, too much moisture can cause fungus.
How to Plant Grass Seed
Planting grass seed is not difficult, but making sure that you do it correctly will help ensure that your money on grass speed was well spent. Here are the important steps to follow.
1) Prepare the Soil
It is important to make sure that your soil is prepared before you start putting your seed in the ground. It is good to rake up and turn over about two to three inches of soil before putting your seed down.
2) Spread Seed
Next, you can spread your seed by hand or spread it using a spreader. If you are dealing with a larger lawn, you will want to use the spreader to make sure that the entire lawn gets covered.
3) Cover Seed
This is the step that most homeowners forget to do. Once you plant the seeds, you need to put about a 1/4 inch of soil over the top. If you don’t do this, your seed will be much too exposed, and it won’t have a chance to grow properly. Do not forget this important step.
Once you have completed these steps, add some water to the equation. Follow the watering recommendations very closely when you are seeding a lawn. Depending on the type of grass you are planting, you will need to adjust your watering protocol.
Grass Seed FAQ
What Is the Best Grass Seed?
The best grass seed is the one that is going to grow well in your area. The problem with choosing one type of seed as the best will make people think that it could work on their turf. If you live in a cool season area, people have quite a bit of luck with Perrenial Ryegrass. The ryegrass is easy to grow, and it will start turning your lawn green in a matter of weeks.
How Much Grass Seed Do I Need?
To determine how much grass seed you need, you will need to know the square footage of the area that you are covering. When you look at the grass seed, you purchase they will tell you how much square footage it will cover for newly seeded turf and fill in bare areas. When you fill in or oversee, you need much less than when planting a new lawn.
Does Grass Seed Go Bad?
Grass seed will go bad. As you may remember, one of our considerations when purchasing seed is to make sure you don’t purchase too much. When you buy a 50-pound bag of seed and only use two pounds, you may have to spend a lot more than you need to.
Grass seed will last for about two years after you open the bag; however, it will never be as effective as when you first open the bag. We recommend using the entire bag of seed when you first purchase it.
How Long Does Grass Seed Last?
A bag of opened grass seed that is left covered in your garage should last for about two years. Sometimes it will last for three years or more, but it tends to lose its effectiveness. If you are going to purchase grass seed, use it when you get it.
Will Grass Seed Grow if You Just Throw It on the Ground?
There is a chance that grass seed will grow if you throw it on the ground, but it is not the most effective way to plant grass. The problem with throwing grass down like this is that it will have a hard time rooting in the turf. Unless your soil is very soft and easy for the seed to penetrate, the seed will struggle.
Additionally, if you are not watering and keeping an eye on the seeds they will not thrive. As such, we would like to throw some seed down and walk away; it’s not a guarantee that this will work.
How Often to Water New Grass Seed?
Depending on the type of seed you plant, you will likely need to water your grass seed daily. From our grass seed reviews, you probably noticed that the new seeds are being designed with the capability of retaining more water.
The grass that you purchase will have a recommendation for how often to water, and you should follow it closely. Never water so much that the seeds start to wash away. Take into account that rain needs to be considered as watering as well. New grass seed truly needs to be babysat until it establishes itself.
How to Plant Grass Seed on Hard Dirt?
If your dirt is very hard, you will have to add a few steps before planting your grass seed. The soil needs to be turned over so the grass can take root and start to grow properly. You can do this by hand, or you can use a rototiller to complete the project.
How to Plant Grass Seed on Existing Lawn?
Planting grass seed on the existing lawn can be a great way to improve your lawn’s health and thickness. If your grass is nice and thick, it will resist weeds much better. When planting grass seed on existing grass, be sure to rake out the current lawn.
If you can do a light aeration of the turf, this is another great way to grow seed in your current lawn. After adding the seed to the turf, try to cover it with a light layer of topsoil. As always, make sure you are then watering your turf generously. As long as you rake and prepare the room for the new seed to fill in, you won’t have problems growing grass on existing lawns.
Will Grass Seed Germinate on Top of Soil?
The step that many people like to skip in the grass growing process is covering up the seed with soil. Some durable grass seeds will still germinate on top of the soil, but this will happen much slower, and the grass will not spread nearly as fast. Although the grass seed can germinate on top of soil, this is not the best way to protect the money you just spend on a bag of grass seed. Follow the proper procedures to get the most use of the see you have just purchased.
Recap: Buying and Planting Grass Seed
At this point, you should have everything you need to purchase and plant new grass seed this season. There is something pretty special about having green grass and a full lawn. Whether you are putting in a new lawn or trying to work on areas with high foot traffic, planting grass seed is a skill all homeowners need. Always make sure you pick a product that will work with your soil, location, and climate. If you follow the proper steps, you will have a lush and healthy lawn in no time.
Last Updated on July 26, 2021 by Gustaf Johansson