Find the best grass seed to use for you lawn. Read up on Kentucky Bluegrass and Fescue cool season grasses as well as some other lawn care tips. Why Zoysia? Zoysia is a particularly hardy grass that grows well in a wide range of conditions and requires far less watering and mowing than most grasses. At the same time, this “tough” grass Grass seed can resist disease and fungus while quickly turning your lawn green. We researched the top options for warm climates, heavy traffic, and more.
How to Pick Out The Best Grass Seed
Bare spots in your lawn got you down? Are you creating a new lawn? Either way, you’ll need some advice on the best grass seed! The best grass seed for cool season grasses used in Ohio lawns are Kentucky bluegrass and tall fescue grass. Cool season grasses grow best between 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit, making the spring a good time to start taking care of all of those brown spots on your lawn. Both are great grasses, but there are a few differences in them that one person or homeowner may prefer over the other. Read up on Kentucky Bluegrass and Tall Fescue to see if they seem like they are the best grass seed for your lawn.
Kentucky Bluegrass is one of the best grass seeds. It is a cool season grass popularly used in Ohio. Fun Fact – this grass originated from Europe and Northern Asia! Kentucky Bluegrass grows vigorously when it is cooler outside in the spring and fall. In the summer heat, the grass grows very slow. This cold seasonal grass has shallow roots, which makes the grass not very drought resistant because it cannot hold a lot of water. This makes the grass have a lower tolerance for heat as well. When Kentucky Bluegrass is healthy, it grows beautifully with an emerald green color that has a hint of blue in the lawn. If you have a lawn with Kentucky Bluegrass, it is important to make sure you water your lawn regularly to keep it green and healthy because it cannot store as much water in its roots as fescue or other cool season grasses. The seeds in the Kentucky Bluegrass spread quite well, making it easy to repair damage and grow a thick lush lawn.
Tall Fescue Grass
Tall Fescue grass is another one of the best grass seeds for cool season grass. It is abundant in the Ohio area. This grass is very resilient and it thrives in the spring, summer, and fall. It can withstand the harsh cold of the winter which sounds perfect for our crazy Ohio seasonal weather. The root system grows deep into the ground, 2 to 3 feet, making it drought resistant and able to endure the high heat of the late summer, unlike the Kentucky Bluegrass. Tall Fescue grass absorbs much more water than most other cool season grasses because of its deep roots. In fact, your lawn may require 30 percent less water per year to stay hydrated and healthy than other grasses.
Buying The Seed
When you have decided on the best grass seed and go to purchase the bags for your lawn, there are a few things you should know. With whatever grass seed you decide to buy, pick out a 75/25 mixture with 25 percent annual rye. The annual rye will not grow back after the first year, but it will cause the perennial grass to sprout and grow strong from the seed. The rye germinates faster than the other seeds, making the rye able to protect and shade the growing grass. The harsh rain storms can wash away the seeds if there is not annual rye to protect it. Imagine doing all of the hard work of seeding for nothing!
Take Care of Your New Grass
There are some treatments that will help your new grass thrive. Be sure to do some of the following treatments on your lawn.
Lawn aeration relieves compaction in your lawn and allows room for roots to spread and grow in the soil. Core aeration removes small plugs of soil from your lawn. When the holes are in the ground from aeration, it is the perfect time to seed. The seeds with be able to make contact with the soil much easier when the lawn is punctured and cored. If you are seeding your lawn because of bare spots, know that bare spots are a symptom of a compacted lawn so aeration will be beneficial to keep it healthy and avoid future bare spots. Some other symptoms of a compacted lawn are puddles and pooling in the yard and dry brownish lawns. You should aerate your lawn at least once a year to help make your lawn greener and healthier.
Fertilizer provides your lawn with vital nutrients that may not be provided through your soil naturally. In order to most effectively add nutrients to your lawn, you or your lawn fertilizing company should take a sample of your soil and test it to see which nutrients occur naturally in the soil. Using this information, the lawn company should be able to give your lawn the lacking nutrients. Early spring fertilizing is something we want to do with our cool season grasses. It is best to get a few fertilizing treatments in before it gets too hot outside because fertilizer does not work well with high heat. A really great time to fertilize is right after your lawn has been aerated. The cored soil will be able to absorb the nutrients very well.
Mowing Your Lawn
Did you know you might be cutting your lawn too short? The recommended height for Kentucky Bluegrass and Tall Fescue is around two to three inches. You can mow your lawn after the new seeds have reached mowing heights , but this can take up to 4 weeks or more. Generally, you would think cutting the grass shorter would be better, but having a longer lawn is actually better for the health of your grass. Having longer grass will allow for more water retention and the longer blades of grass will create more shade for the roots of the grass. Keeping a longer lawn will inevitably lead to your lawn needing to be mowed more often, but the health and beauty of a greener lawn is worth it. Lawn mowing can begin in the spring as soon as you notice growth in your lawn. When scheduling your spring lawn care services, ask to see if they can keep your lawn a little bit longer to keep your lawn healthier.
Zoysia is a particularly hardy grass that grows well in a wide range of conditions and requires far less watering and mowing than most grasses. At the same time, this “tough” grass creates a thick, soft carpet that feels great in bare feet. Zoysia is ideal because it actually grows differently. It sends out runners or “stolons,” expanding sideways more than it grows tall.
This is why it is so dense and effective at choking out most summer weeds and replacing existing grass. With our superior blend of zoysia, Amazoy®, you can plant a network of plugs in a new or existing lawn and it will grow into a lush, even, weed-free lawn within several growing seasons.
The key reasons zoysia is so attractive for homeowners:
Cuts water bills
- Zoysia’s vigorous root system is so deep and extensive the grass rarely, if ever, needs watering — zoysia can really cut your water bills.
Reduces mowing by two-thirds
- The lateral growth of zoysia means it grows tall very slowly — most people mow zoysia once for every three times they need to mow other grasses!
Zoysia thrives in heat and cold
“We planted Amazoy plugs three years ago and we cannot believe how beautiful our new lawn is. Our grand son loves to play outside when he comes to visit” —M.D.
- “The hotter it gets, the better it grows.” Zoysia loves blistering heat and yet it won’t winter kill either — it can survive to 30° below zero. It’s perfect for extreme conditions as well as mild climates.
- Amazoy plugs will thrive in the heat and sunshine, but will not be damaged by snow or cold weather conditions. Amazoy can withstand temperatures of 120° to -30°Fahrenheit.
Chokes out crabgrass and weeds all summer long
- Your established zoysia lawn grows so thick with deep roots that crabgrass and other summer weed seeds cannot germinate.
No more chemicals
- Since zoysia naturally resists insects and diseases, you avoid the cost, time and risk of exposing your family and pets to weedkillers and pesticides.
Never needs replacement — even heals itself
- It’s beautiful and tough. The way it naturally grows outward along the ground in all directions, zoysia grass acts like a network of plants that can withstand heavy use, and will fill in if damaged.
Zoysia is THE answer for slopes, play areas and bare spots
- You can’t beat zoysia for hard to cover spots, worn areas or to end erosion on slopes. It even levels out ground irregularities.
You don’t pamper zoysia – You enjoy it!
“I always thought my Great Grandmother had the most beautiful lawn. It was like walking on carpet” —N.O.
Amazoy zoysia plugs will grow in all kinds of clay soils. Although clay soils are dense, Amazoy zoysia grass has strong roots that penetrate and create air passages for good root development.
Amazoy zoysia plugs will grow in rock-like or granite soil, but you will need to mix in a layer of top soil before planting.
Amazoy zoysia plugs will grow in most salty soils. Because zoysia grass is highly salt tolerant, it is recommended for areas near coastlines where salty soils are often found. Amazoy will grow well in areas near roads and driveways that are salted to melt winter ice and snow.
Amazoy zoysia plugs grow especially well in sandy soil because there are many airspaces that allow zoysia’s roots to penetrate, providing quicker root development.
Although Amazoy zoysia grass grows well in many different types of soil, the ideal soil pH level is 6 to 7. pH levels can be altered by using granulated lime to raise the pH level or small quantities of sulfur to lower it. When using sulfur, it is important not to over-apply, as sulfur is an acidifying agent that can burn lawns. Insert a pH meter into your soil at several locations to determine pH levels. We offer an easy to use pH Meter.
Amazoy can be planted in part shade, as long as the area to be planted gets at least 2 to 3 hours of direct sunlight a day.
If you are planting your plugs under trees, make sure that the pH of the soil is between 6 and 7. Trees have a tendency to alter the pH of your soil. pH levels can be modified by using granulated lime to raise pH and small quantities of sulfur to reduce it.
To determine the pH of your soil, use a pH meter or soil testing kit. We offer an easy to use pH Meter and Soil Test Kit.
Slopes and Borders
Excellent on Slopes and Hills
Amazoy zoysia works very well in areas with steep slopes and hills. Amazoy plugs make it easy to plant the grass on steep areas and once established they will create a thick carpet-like grass. It will also require less mowing, which can be difficult and dangerous on steep slopes.
Great Erosion Control
Amazoy’s deep root system (about 2 feet when fully established) and the thickness of the turf will work to significantly reduce slope erosion. Amazoy plugs make it easy to initially plant zoysia on steep areas as well.
Children and Pets
Safe for Children and Pets
Amazoy zoysia is completely safe for children and pets. Because there is no need to use poisonous chemicals on your lawn, your children and pets can romp on the lawn without fear of contamination. Zoysia’s durability means you will have no worries about damage that can result from lawn play.
More Tolerant of Animal Waste
Zoysia is more tolerant to pet urine and feces than most grasses. However, no grass will survive prolonged or constant exposure to pet waste. Pets should be kept off of the new plugs for at least 30 days in order for the plugs to become established.
After the plugs are established, you can minimize the effects of pet waste by periodically liming the soil in order to restore the pH level to an acceptable range between 6 and 7.
Safe for Horses and Dogs
Amazoy grass plugs are safe for horses and dogs. While zoysia has minimal nutritional value, eating zoysia will not harm horses and dogs.
“Many years ago my father plugged Amazoy zoysia grass into the family yard and it is still green as ever. It has absolutely choked out all the crab grass.” —P.D.S.
Safe for Wells and Septic Systems
Amazoy zoysia grass is safe for wells and septic systems as well as leach fields. The developed root system of zoysia may reach 2 or more feet below the soil surface but cannot penetrate well walls, septic systems or damage underground lines.
Amazoy has an inherent resistance to the effects of most insects and diseases and resists injury from most chemicals when pest populations do require controls.
Chokes Out Weeds
Once established, the dense turf created by zoysia significantly reduces summer weeds. Amazoy will choke out all existing cultivated and wild grasses, including Bermuda (often called wire grass) and St. Augustine. For best results keep these grasses away from newly planted zoysia plugs.
Zoysia, like deciduous trees, goes dormant after the first killing frost and will go off its green color until the ground reaches temperatures of about 50°F in the spring. This is a normal, healthy process. In fact, zoysia’s ability to go “dormant” is important to its ability to better withstand extreme winter cold and still come back full and green every spring. Amazoy will not be damaged by snow and cold weather conditions. Amazoy can withstand temperatures of -30°Fahrenheit ( -30°F below zero).
What About Zoysia Seed?
“We bought some plugs from you about a couple of years ago. We think there is nothing on the market that will touch them” —H.S.
Amazoy, the first Zoysia cultivar to be released by the US Department of Agriculture is still the superior standard. Vegetatively propagated Zoysia grass plugs provide the highest quality lawn.
Historically, it has been extremely difficult to create a fine Zoysia grass lawn from seed. However, Zoysia seed has come a long way over the last few decades. It now germinates better producing a beautiful lawn, but still has some very particular requirements in order to be successful. Our experience is that it is possible to establish a lawn from the Zoysia seed and we now are making available Zoysia seed to homeowners. We only supply what we believe to be the best of the best and the one that meets our standard for quality and durability.
There are very specific requirements for how deep to plant the seed, the amount of light it needs, and watering. It will be important to follow the seed planting instructions carefully for success.
“I am very proud of the way my plugs of (Amazoy) Meyer Z-52 grass have grown and spread and it is all that you have claimed for it” —A.B.
What do Zoysia Plugs look like?
Amazoy Zoysia grass resembles Kentucky bluegrass as far as texture and appearance. Each plug is a small piece of Zoysia sod that can measure as small as 1 inch square but can be much bigger in size just never smaller.
How are plugs shipped?
Amazoy Freestyle Plugs are shipped in 10″ by 15″ sheets of grass. Each sheet can produce up to 150 — 1″ square plugs. The plugs can be cut bigger, that’s the freestyle part. Bigger plugs means less cutting and less planting, but you will get less plugs from each sheet.
Super Plugs are precut for you into individual 3″ by 3″ plugs that are ready to plant. They will arrive in easy-to-handle trays of 15 Super plugs.
All plugs are shipped the same day they are packed with a moisture-proof lining so the roots reach you fresh, vigorous and ready to grow.
How long will the plugs last before planting?
Zoysia plugs are living plants, therefore, we recommend planting them as soon as possible. If the plugs cannot be planted upon receipt, remove them from the cartons, placing blade side up in an area that receives some sunlight (not direct sun). Mist the plugs with water and keep them moist until planting. Plugs must be planted within 2 weeks of receipt.
7 Best Grass Seed Products to Restore a Patchy Lawn
The winner is the Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Sun & Shade Mix
Theresa Holland is a freelance writer specializing in home improvement, cleaning, and bedding. She shares her favorite life hacks on her blog The Taboo Textbook.
Barbara Gillette is a master gardener, herbalist, beekeeper, and journalist. She has 30 years of experience propagating and growing fruits, vegetables, herbs, and ornamentals.
Sarah Scott is a fact-checker and researcher who has worked in the custom home building industry in sales, marketing, and design.
We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.
The Spruce / Laurey W. Glenn
Grass seed can grow a lawn from scratch, make existing turf thicker, or target unsightly bald patches and brown spots. We researched and tested grass seed from the top brands, evaluating ease of use, effectiveness, and formulation.
Our top pick, the Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Sun & Shade Mix, is a versatile blend that stands up well to drought and disease and can seed up to 8,000 square feet of lawn—an eighth of a football field.
Here is the best grass seed for sprucing up your yard.
Best Overall: Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Sun & Shade Mix
Courtesy of Amazon
Thrives in sun and shade
Holds up in droughts and cold winters
Not suited for Southern lawns
Who else recommends it? Bob Vila also picked Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Sun and Shade Mix.
What do buyers say? 82% of 29,000+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.
Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Sun & Shade Mix thrives in scorching sunlight or densely shaded conditions, making it our top choice. This fine-bladed grass mix can even hold up in droughts and cold winters. It begins to grow in five to ten days; you can mow it after blades reach three inches in height. For optimum growth, water your lawn twice daily for three weeks.
Each individual seed, wrapped in a special WaterSmart Plus coating, absorbs twice the amount of water as its uncoated counterparts. The coating also protects your seedlings from various lawn diseases, and feeds them essential nutrients to jump-start growth. Although this mix tolerates extreme weather changes, Scott’s does not recommend using it in Southern states.
Sun Tolerance: Dense Shade to Full Sun | Climate: Drought, Cold Winters | Size: Up to 8,000 square feet | Grass Texture: Fine
Best for Shade: Pennington One Step Complete for Dense Shade Areas
Courtesy of The Home Depot
Formulated with mulch and fertilizer
Great for spot treatments or larger areas
Suited for Midwestern lawns
Not for warm-season lawns
Pennington One Step Complete blends the brand’s Smart Seed with mulch and professional-grade fertilizer, allowing the lawn to thrive in densely shaded areas. This all-in-one grass seed sprouts seedlings in as little as two weeks, even in the tricky corners of your lawn that don’t see more than two to four hours of direct sunlight a day. Whether you’re growing a lawn from scratch or just looking to patch up sparse areas, this ultra-absorbent mixture is a quick and easy solution for achieving a lush, spot-free yard.
Sun Tolerance: Dense Shade | Climate: Cool-season | Size: 125 square feet | Grass Texture: Medium
Best for Full Sun: JB Instant Lawn Signature Sunny Premium Lawn Seed
Courtesy of Lowe’s
Works with new and existing lawns
Comes in various sizes
Not suited for Midwestern lawns
JB Instant Lawn’s Sunny Blend is formulated for direct sunlight. It loves clear skies and flourishes in non-shaded areas with daily sun exposure of six or more hours. The brand’s signature perennial ryegrass seed produces thick, sod-quality lawns with fine blades and a deep green hue. You can plant it with your existing grass, or use to grow a lawn from scratch with a germination period of seven to ten days.
Sun Tolerance: Full Sun | Climate: Cool-season | Size: 1,000 square feet (max overseeding coverage area), 600 square feet (max new seeding coverage area) | Grass Texture: Fine
Best for Cool Season: Barenbrug Winter Wonderlawn Super Over Seeding Grass Seed
Courtesy of Tractor Supply
Thrives in sun and partial shade
Stands up to heavy traffic
Not suited for Northern lawns
For the chillier season, keep a bag of Winter Wonderlawn on hand. Containing a blend of Italian and perennial ryegrass, the mixture is ideal for overseeding your lawn during the coldest months.
This grass seed establishes quickly and germinates within four days, even in fall and winter. After a few weeks, expect a dense growth of fine-bladed grass, with a deep green color.
Sun Tolerance: Full Sun and Partial Shade | Climate: Southern | Size: 2,500 square feet | Grass Texture: Fine
Best for Warm Season: Water Saver Lawn Seed Mixture with Turf-Type Tall Fescue and RFT
Courtesy of The Home Depot
Thrives in sun and shade
Tolerates drought conditions
Not suited for Southern lawns
Water Saver contains a mixture of turf-quality tall fescue and RFT (rhizomatous tall fescue) seeds. The blend has a gorgeous color, a nice texture, and stands up to various diseases.
This lawn seed establishes quickly, roots deeply, and retains water, allowing it to tolerate high temps and drought conditions. It thrives in the sun or shade, and thanks to its deep roots, you can mow it shorter than other varieties.
Sun Tolerance: Full Sun and Partial Shade | Climate: Hot and Dry | Size: 1,000 square feet | Grass Texture: Coarse
Best Fast-Growing: Vigoro Fast Grass Seed Mix
Courtesy of The Home Depot
Great for spot treatments
Thrives in sun and shade
Only for existing lawns
Anytime you need speedy ground cover, erosion control, or want to repair patches in your yard, this is your best bet. Vigoro Fast Grass Mix germinates impressively quickly, and sprouts in as little as three days.
The seed works in sunny and shady areas, and produces lush, green grass with semi-fine blades and virtually no weeds. It’s ideal for temporarily filling in bare spots and, depending on when and where you plant it, you might see continued growth.
Sun Tolerance: Sun and Shade | Climate: Any | Size: 750 square feet | Grass Texture: Fine to Medium
Best Bermuda grass: Sta-Green Grass Seed Bermuda grass
Courtesy of Lowe’s
Grows back annually
99 percent weed-free
Longer germination period
Bermuda grass is a warm-weather perennial , meaning it flourishes in spring and summer, and grows back annually. This grass seed from Sta-Green contains a premium blend of 99 percent weed-free Bermuda grass.
The germination period is longer than other species (about two to three weeks). But thanks to a special QuickGrow2X coating, the mixture grows faster than other Bermuda grasses and resists disease. Soon enough, you can expect a beautiful lawn, with medium-textured grass that’s dense, lush, and feels good between your toes.
Sun Tolerance: Full Sun | Climate: Southern, Dry | Size: 5,000 square feet (max overseeding coverage area), 2,500 square feet (max new seeding coverage area) | Grass Texture: Fine to Medium
Best for Heavy Traffic: Jonathan Green Black Beauty Heavy Traffic Premium Grass Seed Mixture
Courtesy of Amazon
Stands up to heavy traffic
Resists weeds and insects
Comes in various sizes
Not suited for densely shaded areas
If you have kids, pets, or an otherwise busy household, we recommend Jonathan Green Black Beauty. The brand’s Heavy Traffic Premium Mixture contains a healthy blend of fescue and perennial ryegrass seeds. Fescue emits an amino acid that naturally acts as a herbicide, so it curbs emerging crabgrass and broadleaf weed seedlings. Not only that, but this reliable formula stands up to abrasion and naturally resists insects.
Sun Tolerance: Partial Sun | Climate: Hard Wear | Size: 1,200 square feet | Grass Texture: Coarse
Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Sun & Shade Mix is the best grass seed overall. The seeds’ special coating makes them more absorbent, allowing your turf to thrive year-round in sun or shade. However, if you have pets or kids and want something that can grow with heavy foot traffic, Jonathan Green Black Beauty Heavy Traffic Premium Grass Seed Mixture might be a better choice.
What to Look For When Buying Grass Seed
One of the most important things to keep in mind when buying grass seed is the climate, as some blends do better in certain regions. For instance, Bermuda grass is native to the southern hemisphere, so it thrives in the South and the Southwestern United States.
That being said, some grass species (such as fescue and ryegrass) can grow in a variety of climates. Be sure to check the product description before purchasing grass seed to confirm it can grow where you live.
Another thing to consider is the level of sun exposure your seedlings get. Species such as Bermuda grass and some types of ryegrass need at least a few hours of sunlight a day to thrive, whereas fescue can grow in densely shaded areas.
Some mixes are formulated to grow in sun or shade, any time of year. Check the product information before buying grass seed to make sure it’s suitable for the amount of sunlight your yard gets.
If you’re in the market for low-maintenance grass seed, look for an option that contains fertilizer. That way, your seedlings have the nourishment they need to grow quickly and flourish. Some blends also contain mulch, which helps keep the soil healthy, retains water, and prevents weed growth.
Speaking of weed growth, you may consider grass seed that specifically indicates it’s a weed-free (or 99 percent weed-free) formula. Additionally, some seeds are individually coated with a special substance that makes them more absorbent, meaning you don’t need to water as often, and disease resistant.
The best time to plant grass seed depends on the type of seed and the climate. However, since most mixtures germinate when temperatures aren’t too hot or cold, planting in the fall for a cool-season grass and spring for a warm-season grass is typically ideal. Seedlings thrive in semi-warm soil, with moderate daytime temperatures and slightly cooler evenings.
To prepare the soil for grass seed, start by removing any sticks, large rocks, and weeds from the surface. Then, break up the soil with a spade, hoe, garden fork, or core aerator, continuing to remove rocks and debris as you go. If your grass seed lacks fertilizer, add a slow-release fertilizer to the soil before planting.
The goal is to keep the top layer of soil moist at all times, so water grass seed once or twice a day until it germinates. How much and how often depends on where you live and what the weather is like. When your seedlings reach about an inch tall, you can switch to watering every other day. After a few weeks, when the grass has established, weekly or bi-weekly watering should suffice.
Why Trust The Spruce?
The Spruce contributor Theresa Holland is an experienced commerce writer, with several years of experience covering home improvement. She’s spent countless hours researching yard care and landscaping products, not only for the content she writes but also for personal use. You can see more of her home-related stories on MyDomaine.
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
The Best Grass Seed for the Northeast of 2022. Bob Vila. https://www.bobvila.com/articles/best-grass-seed-for-northeast/
Rocha, Inês et al. Seed Coating: A Tool for Delivering Beneficial Microbes to Agricultural Crops. Frontiers in Plant Science, vol. 10. pp. 1357, 2019. doi:10.3389/fpls.2019.01357