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 grow lawn that is lush and full of grass. Checklist to grow a weed-free lawn. Growing a lawn without weeds is a dream for many homeowners. This checklist will help you keep the weeds away from your lawn while maintaining healthy grass and teach you how to make St Augustine grass thicker. Make your lawn the envy of your neighbors with the best grass seed for your yard’s conditions. Find the right match and top recommendations.
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.
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Sarah Scott is a fact-checker and researcher who has worked in the custom home building industry in sales, marketing, and design.
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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
How To Grow A Grass Lawn Without Weeds
Growing a lawn without weeds is a dream for many homeowners. While it’s probably unrealistic to have a lawn 100% free of weeds, you can aim to grow a thick, healthy stand of grass. That’s actually the easiest way to give weeds the brushoff: grow turf that’s so thick and strong that weeds can’t find an inch to take root. Follow this checklist to grow your healthiest grass ever.
Grow the Right Grass
Different grasses grow in different areas of the country. Warm-season grasses are usually grown in warmer, more southerly regions. Types include Bahiagrass, Bermudagrass, St. Augustinegrass and Zoysiagrass. Cool-season grasses are typically grown in cooler, more northerly regions. Types include Fescue, Kentucky Bluegrass and Ryegrass. Check with your local Cooperative Extension System office to learn which types of grass grow best in your area.
Start by cutting grass with a sharp mower blade that cuts grass cleanly, without tearing or shredding. Proper mowing height depends on grass type. Vary your mowing pattern to avoid creating ruts in the lawn. Avoid mowing when soil is wet, or you risk tearing up grass and soil.
Provide adequate moisture to grass, especially during episodes of drought or high temperatures. Provide deep, infrequent irrigation, which promotes healthy, deeper roots. Learn about lawn irrigation basics and how much grass actually needs.
Before you start a fertilizer program, do a soil test so you know you’re applying the correct blend of nutrients. In some parts of the country, soils may be acidic or alkaline and require additions of iron, magnesium or lime. Also, different types of grass need to be fertilized at different times of the year. Check with your local Cooperative Extension System office for help developing the right fertilizer program for your lawn.
Scout for Problems
Like any landscape planting, lawns can suffer from a variety of problems. Weeds, bare spots, insects and diseases can weaken and, if left untreated, even destroy a healthy lawn. Keep an eye out for problems in your lawn.
- Deal with weeds when you first see them, because one weed leads to many more. Learn about the types of lawn weed killers and when to use each. Discover why fall weed control is key and how to do it successfully.
- When a bare spot appears, figure out the cause and deal with it. Open soil extends an invitation to weeds, so repair bare spots as quickly as possible.
- Scout for insect problems. Some of the signs to look for are skunks digging up lawn or flocks of birds feeding on turf. White Grubs are a common lawn pest. Discover the basics of dealing with Grubs.
Aerate and Dethatch
Compacted soils don’t allow air and water to reach grass roots, which results in unhealthy grass.
Aerating helps relieve soil compaction.
When thatch builds up in a lawn, it can prevent water and fertilizer from reaching soil and provide refuge for insects.
The Best Grass Seed of 2022
Make your lawn the envy of your neighbors with the best grass seeds for your yard’s conditions.
By Tony Carrick | Updated Jun 29, 2022 6:15 PM
BobVila.com and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.
Many homeowners dream of a lush, green carpet of grass upon which their children and pets can frolic. Growing a lawn that makes neighbors green with envy begins with choosing the right grass seed.
There is a seemingly endless variety of different seed types and products on the market, which can make choosing the right one an involved process. Climate, shade, and foot traffic all play roles in which grass seed is right for your lawn. This guide features factors to consider when choosing the best grass seed that will turn your yard into a striking carpet of green.
- BEST OVERALL:Scotts Turf Builder Thick’R Lawn Sun & Shade-3 in 1
- BEST BUDGET:Scotts Turf Builder Sunny Mix, 3lb.
- BEST WARM-SEASON:Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Southern Gold Mix
- BEST COOL-SEASON:Jonathan Green Black Beauty All Grasses Sun or Shade
- BEST FOR DENSE SHADE:Pennington Seed Smart Seed Grass Seed 3 Lb
- BEST FOR HIGH-TRAFFIC:Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed High Traffic Mix
- BEST KENTUCKY BLUEGRASS:Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Kentucky Bluegrass
- BEST BERMUDA GRASS:Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Bermudagrass, 5 lb
- BEST FAST-GROWING:Pennington Smart Seed Perennial Rye Blend Grass Seed
- BEST LOW-MAINTENANCE:Scotts Turf Builder Zoysia Grass Seed and Mulch
Types of Grass Seed
Grass seed falls into two main categories: warm-season and cool-season grasses. Warm-season grasses endure hot southern climates much better than cool-season grasses. During the winter, warm-season grasses turn brown as they go dormant. Cool-season grasses grow quickly in the cool weather of fall and spring before going dormant in the summer heat. Warm-season grasses can be reseeded during the spring and summer, while spring and fall are the optimal time to reseed cool-season grasses.
- Bahia: This warm-season grass is popular in hot climates because of its heat tolerance and drought-resistant qualities. While other grasses burn to a crisp in the hot sun, with its broad leaves and coarse texture, Bahia grass thrives. This makes it an attractive grass species in the Deep South.
- Bermuda: As with many other warm-season grasses, Bermuda grass thrives in hot climates thanks to its exceptional ability to tolerate heat and withstand high traffic. Bermuda grass requires good drainage, full-sun exposure, and plenty of nutrients. The grass does not tolerate cold weather well, making it a good option in the southern part of the country.
- Buffalo: Even though it is considered a warm-season grass, buffalo grass thrives in a broad range of climates and is quite common in states such as Montana that experience harsh winters. Like other warm-season grasses, it goes dormant and turns brown in colder weather. Planting season for buffalo grass is from April to May.
- Centipede: Centipede grass is known for being heat tolerant and very low maintenance. This makes it a popular grass with those who don’t enjoy spending a lot of time managing their lawns. Centipede grass thrives in full sun but will tolerate some shade. Due to those requirements, it does best in the Southeast. Plant centipede grass seed in the spring when all danger of frost has passed.
- St. Augustine: One of Florida’s most popular grasses, St. Augustine can tolerate high heat and humidity. It features blue-green grass blades that spread quickly through a lawn. St. Augustine also can tolerate salt water, which makes it a popular option for coastal yards. Since it spreads rapidly, one of the most effective ways to establish St. Augustine grass is by planting plugs. Plant St. Augustine seed in the spring or the summer.
- Zoysia: Zoysia is a durable, dense variety of grass that’s known for its ability to stand up to heat, drought, and high foot traffic. Possibly the softest grass for bare feet, zoysia forms a dense lawn that chokes out weeds with very little maintenance required. Although some types of zoysia can only be grown from sod or plugs, some grass seed companies offer a variety that can grow from seed. Zoysia grass should be planted in the spring once the threat of frost has passed.
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- Fescue: Tall, fine fescue grass seed is perhaps the most common grass type in the country. This is because it adapts well to many different climates as it tolerates heat, cold, shade, and drought reasonably well. This is primarily due to its deep roots that can reach as deep as 2 to 3 feet. Tall fescue is perhaps the easiest grass to grow, but it can suffer under heavy traffic. Plant and reseed fine fescue grass seed in the fall and spring. Shoppers will sometimes see fescue sold in all-season grass seed mixes, which claim they’re good year-round.
- Kentucky bluegrass: This is the type of grass most people imagine when they consider the perfect lawn. With its lush, deep-green appearance, Kentucky bluegrass is a prized species. This grass is not easy to grow, requiring a high level of maintenance and care. Its shallow root system does not tolerate heat well, making it more suitable for northern lawns. Kentucky bluegrass should be planted and reseeded in the spring and fall.
- Perennial ryegrass: Perennial ryegrass should not be confused with annual ryegrass, which is a temporary grass used for erosion control. Perennial ryegrass comes back year after year. Ryegrass germinates quickly, making it popular for new lawns. It does best in colder climates with mild summers; however, it can still be found in the southern part of the country. Perennial ryegrass should be planted or reseeded in the fall.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Grass Seed
When deciding which grass seed is best for a front yard or a backyard oasis, it’s crucial to consider several important factors, including climate, maintenance, and sun requirements. A good grass seed should thrive in the specific conditions of your yard. Check below for some of the elements you should consider when purchasing the right grass seed.
With enough determination and money, you can grow most of the above grass seeds just about anywhere in the country. It’s not uncommon to see beautiful Kentucky bluegrass lawns in the baking heat of the Southwest. But going against climate guidelines will make the job a lot harder and more expensive, requiring significant investments in irrigation systems, water, and fertilizers. Paying attention to climate will make establishing a lawn much more manageable. Consider where you live and what grass types will thrive in your region with minimal maintenance and watering.
Reseeding vs. New Planting
How you go about reseeding a lawn versus planting a new lawn is quite different. When seeding a new lawn, you’ll be applying seed to the bare dirt you’ve prepared for new planting. For reseeding, you’ll be attempting to thicken an already existing lawn. With that in mind, you typically need about twice as much seed to start a new lawn as you need to reseed an existing lawn.
Grass types vary in how well they tolerate foot traffic. If you have kids or pets and plan to use your backyard extensively as an area for play, consider selecting grass types that can take some abuse and still keep on growing. Zoysia and Bermuda grasses are the most tolerant of foot traffic, while fescue does poorly with heavy traffic.
While some property owners enjoy fussing over their lawns, many homeowners dread long hours spent maintaining a yard. Consider which grass types require the least amount of care and how much work you’re willing to put into a lawn. Zoysia grass, for example, requires annual dethatching, while perennial ryegrass will not self-repair and requires patching. Bermuda grass, in comparison, requires very little maintenance.
Various grasses tolerate different levels of sun exposure. Some grasses, such as Bermuda grass, demand full sun but other varieties, such as tall fescue, do well with partial shade. Assess the sun exposure of your lawn to determine a good lawn grass seed for the lighting conditions there. Some seed companies produce specific seed mixes for full shade, full sun, or lawns with shaded areas and full-sun areas.
Single Seed vs. Mix
When selecting a type of grass seed, you can choose one specific seed type or a blend that combines several different species. Go for a single seed type if you’re trying to achieve a particular look for your lawn. While single seeds are more difficult to maintain, the effect of a single species lawn can be well worth it.
Mixes are easier to grow and maintain because companies blend the mixes for improved drought or heat tolerance. They also generally grow more uniformly with little need for patching. However, your lawn will lack the attractive uniform look of a single species lawn.
Despite your best efforts to prepare your yard for seeding, some seeds simply weren’t meant to become plants. This is where germination percentage comes into play. Germination percentage is a measure of the viability of a collection of seeds. It is calculated by dividing the number of seeds that germinate by the total number of seeds.
Given how much grass seed can cost, the higher the germination percentage the better, and it mostly relates to seed quality. Although you might be tempted to buy the cheapest grass seed on the shelf, chances are it will have a lower germination percentage, resulting in significant waste. High-quality grass seed has a 90 to 95 percent germination rate, making it worth the additional investment.
Our Top Picks
You can find grass seed for sunny areas, shade, high traffic, hot and cold climates, and more. These top-rated grass seed picks cover lots of lawn and grass types to suit various uses.