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Finding the Best Grass Seed for Your Lawn

A man pouring grass seed into a spreader.

Updated March 23, 2022

Marc M.

By Marc M.

Find the best grass for your lawn by comparing different features and characteristics. Read on for the most popular turfgrasses and the methods for applying them.

Choosing Grass Types by Location

A cold hardiness map of the United States.

The simplest way to decide what type of grass is best for your lawn is by location. There are three basic climate areas to consider:

  • Northern region (the blue area on the map) where cool-season grasses thrive
  • Deep South/Gulf region (tan) where warm-season grasses grow best
  • Transition zone (green) between the Northern and Deep South/Gulf regions

Tip

To learn more about other plants that grow well in your area, check out Learn Your Hardiness Zone and our Lowe’s Plant Guide.

Northern Grass Types

A bag of Scotts Kentucky blue grass mix.

Northern grasses (cool-season grasses) are more cold tolerant than other types and grow fairly quickly in the spring and fall. However, their growth does slow down some during the warmer seasons. Options include:

  • Fescue
  • Sun and shade
  • Bluegrass

Transitional Grass Types

A bag of Scotts fescue grass seed.

The transition zone sometimes requires mixtures or blends of warm- and cool-season grasses. In general, the transition zone has more success with cool-season grasses than warm-season varieties. Here are some that do well in this region:

  • Sun and shade
  • Bermuda
  • Fescue
  • Zoysia

Tip

Additional factors — such as altitude, the amount of sun or shade, the amount of foot traffic, and the availability of water — may affect the success of a turfgrass variety.

Deep South/Gulf Grass Types

A bag of Scotts Bermudagrass seed.

Deep South/Gulf grasses (warm-season grasses) are more tolerant of hot temperatures, but they aren’t as cold hardy as Northern varieties. These types include:

  • Bermuda
  • St. Augustine
  • Centipede
  • Bahia

How to Grow and Maintain a Healthy Lawn

A man holding a small bag of Scotts grass seed.

Just like any plant, grass needs specific conditions and care to perform at its best. Here are the mowing, soil and sunlight requirements for some common varieties of turfgrass.

Cool-Season Grasses

A chart showing mowing, soil and sunlight requirements for several cool-season turfgrass.

Warm-Season Grasses

A chart showing mowing, soil and sunlight requirements for several warm-season turfgrass.

Types of Grass and Their Features

A woman holding a bag of Scotts Rapid Grass seed.

Bahia Grass

Due to its ability to withstand the heat and humidity of the South, Bahia grass is best suited for Southern states such as Louisiana or Florida. This type of grass is a warm-season variety and has a rough texture. It can endure heavy foot traffic. This is the best grass seed for college campuses in the region because of its toughness.

Bermuda Grass

Bermuda grass, a warm-season grass, has an aggressive growth habit, so it’s not ideal for areas near flower beds. This grass is also weed-resistant. Since Bermuda grass loses its color in winter, consider overseeding it with ryegrass.

Kentucky Bluegrass

For cool Northern areas, Kentucky bluegrass is the best grass seed, provided that the proper conditions are met. These include sunlight, good soil and a regular water supply. This is a cool-season grass seed that thrives in places like Washington state. Kentucky bluegrass grows tremendously during the spring and fall months. The rate of growth decreases with the colder months; however, this grass seed is cold tolerant.

Centipede Grass

Centipede grass is the best grass seed if you want a low-maintenance, low-growing lawn. The best soil for this type of grass seed is acidic and can be found in the Deep South region. This is a warm-season grass with a rough texture. It’s ideal for dealing with and controlling weeds, and it’s resistant to pests. Centipede grass isn’t cold tolerant and thrives in hot temperatures, making it ideal for places like Alabama or South Carolina. With proper care, this grass seed will flourish year-round.

Fescue Grass

The turf-type fescue family is the best grass seed for variation. Members include fine fescue, creeping fescue, hard fescue and tall fescue grasses (such as Kentucky 31 tall fescue). Due to the variety, tolerance of certain conditions varies. It’s important to check the label for the following: heat, drought and cold tolerance, as well as lighting specifics (such as direct sunlight, partial sunlight or shade) and durability.

Perennial Ryegrass

To keep a warm-season lawn looking green all year, consider overseeding it with perennial ryegrass to maintain healthy growth during the winter. It’s also great for adding to cool-season grass mixes due to its quick germination. Perennial ryegrass can also withstand moderate to high foot traffic.

St. Augustine Grass

St. Augustine grass is a warm-season grass that keeps its blue-green color into the fall season. It’s a great option in regions where the climate is warm and where sandy soil is prevalent. This grass seed is best for places in the Deep South or Gulf regions such as southern Texas.  

Zoysia Grass

Zoysia grass is more of a high-maintenance grass seed, but the results are worth it. This grass seed is ideal for warm climates and requires a well-drained growing site. This type requires more work; however, when treated properly it results in a lush and luxurious lawn. You might find this grass seed best suited for places like Georgia or South Carolina.

Good to Know

Many types of popular turfgrasses are available for planting as grass seed, plugs and sod grass.

Identifying Creeping Grass and Bunch Grass

Creeping grasses, such as Kentucky bluegrass and most warm-season varieties, spread by above- or below-ground runners. They’re more prone to lawn thatch, which refers to the tough stems and roots that don’t break down or decompose as easily as grass. If this layer becomes too thick, it can damage your grass by not letting enough nutrients into the soil. Bunch grasses, such as fescue and ryegrass, spread from the crown of the plant. Mow high to protect the crown and ensure the survival of the grass.

Choosing Lawn Fertilizer

Keep your lawn green and healthy by fertilizing it according to the season:

For more help, see our Fertilizer Buying Guide and How to Fertilize Your Lawn.

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