Grass Seed That Chokes Out Weeds

Can You Smother Weeds With Grass?. Battling weeds in your yard is an ongoing fight, especially if you have bare, patchy areas in your lawn — weed seeds quickly germinate in the sunny, exposed soil, preventing your turf from populating the space. You cannot smother weeds with a new grass establishment, whether from … 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. Can Winter Rye Choke Out Weeds?. Cooler weather has set in and your yard is awash with the green of your winter rye lawn. The weeds seem to be swallowed up under the mature growth of this lush green grass. There is a definite connection between the type of lawn you have and the reduction of unwanted growths. Areas of …

Can You Smother Weeds With Grass?

Battling weeds in your yard is an ongoing fight, especially if you have bare, patchy areas in your lawn – weed seeds quickly germinate in the sunny, exposed soil, preventing your turf from populating the space. You cannot smother weeds with a new grass establishment, whether from seed, sprigs or sod, since both species will compete for soil resources. Grass clippings spread on weeds as a mulch, however, may curb weed seeds from germinating. Practice consistent maintenance on your established lawn, such as proper mowing, to help deter unwanted plants.

You cannot smother weeds with a new grass establishment, whether from seed, sprigs or sod, since both species will compete for soil resources.

Good Soil Maintenance

One of the best ways to smother weeds is to keep your soil healthy for thick grass growth. In general, your grass needs a soil pH value range between 6 and 7. With a slightly acidic range, some weed seeds cannot survive in these conditions. Proper fertilizing approximately three times each year keeps the soil prime for grass growth as well, according to the University of Rhode Island – sunlight cannot reach the soil where weed seeds germinate if the grass shades the soil. A fertilizer with a 3-1-2 ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium is sufficient for most grass species.

Removing Weeds From Grass

Some weed species are bound to invade your turf, so it is critical to remove these sprouts as soon as you find them, recommends University of Maryland. Neglecting even one weed causes stress to your grass as it steadily grows. Annual weeds do not create extensive root systems – hand-pulling them directly from the soil typically removes all traces of the plant.

But you need to carefully remove any portion of perennial weeds from the ground. Leftover root parts broken off from the main weed easily proliferate into new pesky plants. You may need to repeatedly hand-weed the turf of these perennials, especially if they had a chance to spread seed.

Mulching With Grass Clippings

Applying a 2- to 3-inch grass clipping layer across your weeds does not typically smother them – weed foliage still has ample sunlight and soil resources to grow steadily. This smothering mulch technique, however, does help you prevent weed seed germination. Seeds that do not have access to sunlight cannot properly develop into hardy seedlings.

Watering and Mowing

Although watering may seem to encourage weed growth, a proper irrigation strategy helps the grass grow tall to smother weed seeds — removing critical sunlight warmth prevents seed germination. Water your turf in the morning so that the roots have a full day of sunlight and growth to continue spreading their roots deep into the ground.

Healthy root establishment creates tall and dense grass blades to smother weeds. In addition, cutting your lawn to a minimum height of 2 inches helps to minimize weed growth. If you cut your lawn too short, sunlight penetrates the soil and helps weed seeds germinate. With sharp lawnmower blades, you create a crisp cut across all the blades to keep them healthy for future, vigorous growth.

Herbicides and New Lawns

Grass struggling to grow from a new establishment cannot smother weeds. Because there is no grass seed that kills weeds, it may be necessary to use herbicides on weeds so that your grass has a chance to populate the planted area. Your new grass needs time to establish itself before any herbicides are applied – you could possibly kill off your new grass with too much chemical exposure.

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After your sixth time mowing the new seedlings, apply herbicide directly to the weeds, if desired. Your grass has enough strength to withstand the chemical application at this point, if hand pulling the weeds does not suffice.

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

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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.

  1. BEST OVERALL:Scotts Turf Builder Thick’R Lawn Sun & Shade-3 in 1
  2. BEST BUDGET:Scotts Turf Builder Sunny Mix, 3lb.
  3. BEST WARM-SEASON:Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Southern Gold Mix
  4. BEST COOL-SEASON:Jonathan Green Black Beauty All Grasses Sun or Shade
  5. BEST FOR DENSE SHADE:Pennington Seed Smart Seed Grass Seed 3 Lb
  6. BEST FOR HIGH-TRAFFIC:Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed High Traffic Mix
  7. BEST KENTUCKY BLUEGRASS:Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Kentucky Bluegrass
  8. BEST BERMUDA GRASS:Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Bermudagrass, 5 lb
  9. BEST FAST-GROWING:Pennington Smart Seed Perennial Rye Blend Grass Seed
  10. 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.

Warm-Season Grass

  • 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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Cool-Season Grass

  • 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.

Climate

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.

Traffic Level

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.

Required Maintenance

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.

Sun Exposure

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.

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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.

Germination Percentage

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.

Can Winter Rye Choke Out Weeds?

Cooler weather has set in and your yard is awash with the green of your winter rye lawn. The weeds seem to be swallowed up under the mature growth of this lush green grass. There is a definite connection between the type of lawn you have and the reduction of unwanted growths. Areas of California and other states with mild winters — generally, U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 9 — can actually support this weed-deterring grass year-round.

Overview

There are two types of winter ryegrass. There is the annual variety that you need to replant every year and the more permanent perennial type (Lolium perenne). The grass germinates quickly, within three to five days, and can effectively cover an area within four to eight weeks. It provides a homeowner with a bright green lawn, is great as a filler for bare patches, can mix with other ground cover varieties and assists with erosion control. The weed-repelling ability, though, is one of the biggest advantages to planting this hardy grass in your yard.

Effect on Weeds

Winter rye grass is an excellent ground cover because it is allelopathic — the grass contains a chemical that will naturally destroy certain weeds and plants that grow in the same soil. Ryegrass planted in the yard can overcome weeds such as duckweed and crabgrass. Take care, though, as ryegrass may overcome other grasses planted in conjunction with it. For example, it can slow the growth of Bermuda grass. Combat this by cutting the ryegrass closer to the ground and reducing the water volume at the end of a cool season in preparation for the emergence of the alternate grass.

Grass Combinations

Gardeners will often plant ryegrass with other grasses to use this weed-deterring advantage. This grass is commonly grown with zoysia, Bermuda grass and blue grass, depending on water available, type of soil and lawn appearance desired. The seed or sod is also applied to lawns to fill in thinning or bare areas, as well as to take over when cooler weather halts the growth of summer ground cover.

Ryegrass as a Weed

Not only can winter rye choke out weeds, but also it can become a weed itself. Rye grass can be resistant to herbicides and be difficult to remove from areas where it is not wanted. Increasing the application of the herbicide glyphosate has proven to be somewhat effective in controlling the spread of this well-known ground cover.