Weed Free Grass Seed

Purchasing the right grass seed is critical for lawn care. Learn how to pick grass seed and the importance of reading seed labels. The best grass seed for overseeding depends on existing grass, climate, and soil. See our list of the best grass seed for overseeding.

How to Pick Grass Seed & Importance of Reading A Seed Label

No two bags of grass seed are created equal, which can make knowing what type to purchase a challenge. Push past all the marketing gimmicks and fancy wording—and choosing grass seed is all about reading the specifics on the label in order to have a healthy lawn.

Grass seed labels can include a mix of numbers, percentages and industry terminology. Below, we decipher the most common items found on a seed label so that you can make smart decisions when it comes to learning how to pick the right type of grass seed or hiring a company to put seed down for you.

Plus, reading seed labels and choosing grass seed carefully can help you grow a lush lawn that naturally keeps weeds at bay (even those pesky winter weeds).

Pure Seed/Purity

Purity is the percent, by weight, of pure seed of each component in the mixture. Not all the pure seed is live seed. Look for percentages over 97.5—the higher the better.

Variety/Kind

Variety is the specific type of grass included. Do not buy seed that does not list the variety. Variety not stated (VNS) seed lots often include older varieties not well adapted to lawns.

Germination

Tells how much of each pure seed variety included will sprout (the amount of live seed in the bag). Look for percentages over 80—the higher the better.

Crop is the percent, by weight, of seeds in a package that are grown as a cash crop. Examples may include orchardgrass, timothy, clover, redtop and bentgrass, which are considered weeds in turf. Look for seed with a crop of less than 0.3%—the lower the better.

Inert Matter

Inert matter is the percent, by weight, of material not capable of growth (i.e. filler). Filler can be any substance added to take up space. For example: broken seed that couldn’t be removed, dirt, corn cobs, sand, etc. Look for the percentage to be less than 2—the lower the better. Otherwise, you’re paying for “junk”!

Weed Seed

Weed seed is the percent, by weight, of weed seed in a package. It can be difficult and expensive to catch all weed seeds during the cleaning process. Acceptable limits range from 0.0% – 0.3%. The lower the percentage of weed seed, the higher the quality of grass seed.

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Noxious Weed

Most states have certain weeds so troublesome and undesirable that a tally of their presence in the seed mixture is required on the seed label. You want a seed that reads “NONE” under this category.

Picking the Right Seeds Is a Robust Defense Against Weeds

You should read seeds labels closely so that you select the optimal variety for the given season and climate. A thriving, dense-growing lawn will naturally crowd out weeds. For example, lawns planted with warm-season grass seed (such as Bermuda grass, Centipede grass, and St. Augustine grass) are vulnerable to henbit. Henbit is an annual winter weed. It often takes hold in patchy spots in a lawn where the grass grows less densely.

Key Takeaways: How To Pick Grass Seed

  • Buy certified grass seed—it’s guaranteed by the seller to give you the kind of seed named on the package.
  • Generally speaking, the higher the cost of grass seed, the higher the quality of product.
  • Avoid…
    • Buying seed out of bulk bins
    • Seed mixes containing annual ryegrass
    • Contractor type blends of ryegrass

    If you have any questions about reading a seed label or signing up for an aeration and seeding service, get in touch with your local NaturaLawn of America expert.

    The Best Grass Seed for Overseeding of 2022

    Overseeding creates a dense, lush stand of grass—and an overall healthier lawn.

    By Glenda Taylor | Updated Jan 4, 2022 11:06 AM

    BobVila.com and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

    The best grass seed for overseeding a lawn will depend on the existing type of grass, the prevailing climate, and the soil type. After a few years, even the best-kept lawns can start to look sparse and worn out due to drought, under-watering, overwatering, or even growing a grass variety that’s not well suited to the region.

    Overseeding a lawn with a superior variety of grass seed at least once every three years will keep the yard looking its best while helping it resist drought and disease. Ahead, learn what to look for when selecting a seed type, and find out why the following varieties were chosen as the best grass seed blends for overseeding lawns in different regions.

    1. BEST OVERALL:Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed All-Purpose Mix
    2. RUNNER-UP:Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed High Traffic Mix
    3. MOST DROUGHT-TOLERANT:Jonathan Green 10316 Black Beauty Grass Seed
    4. BEST FOR SHADE:Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Dense Shade Mix
    5. BEST FOR BLUEGRASS LAWNS:Scotts Turf Builder Grass Kentucky Bluegrass Mix
    6. BEST FOR CLAY SOIL:Jonathan Green 10323 Black Beauty Ultra Mixture
    7. BEST FOR WARM CLIMATES:Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Southern Gold Mix

    What to Consider When Choosing the Best Grass Seed for Overseeding

    For the best results, choose a grass seed type that will grow well in your yard. The amount of sunlight the lawn receives, the general climate, and the kind of grass desired are all up for consideration. Additionally, the size of the yard and the seed’s coverage rate will play a role in how much seed you’ll need to overseed the lawn.

    Types of Grass Seed

    Not all types of grass seed grow well in all areas—some varieties are better suited to cold climates, while others thrive only in subtropical environments. When choosing grass seed for overseeding, select a type based on what grows best in your area. The best grass seed is one that will thrive in the specific region where it’s planted.

    For example, grass seed that grows well in the Pacific Northwest may not grow in southern climates. In general, more cool-season grasses are grown from seed than are warm-season grasses. Several warm-season grasses, such as St. Augustine, are propagated by plugs rather than seeds, so overseeding is more common in regions with cool winters.

    • Fescue: Among the fastest-growing grasses, fescue features several types with various textures. It’s prized for its drought resistance, will withstand moderate traffic, and grows in both sunny and shady spots.
    • Kentucky bluegrass: Dense and durable, Kentucky bluegrass is a self-spreading, disease-resistant turf option that will tolerate cold temperatures. It’s not as drought resistant as fescue but provides a lush lawn that tolerates high traffic. The best Kentucky bluegrass seed often comes with a coating that absorbs moisture to help keep the seeds damp until they germinate.
    • Perennial ryegrass: Useful for overseeding moderately cool- or warm-season grasses, perennial ryegrass requires a lot of water and doesn’t grow well in frigid climates.
    • Buffalograss: Prized for its low maintenance, buffalograss thrives in the Midwest and Great Plains. It’s slow to green up in the spring and goes dormant early in the fall, however.
    • Bermuda: Strictly a warm-weather grass, Bermuda produces a lush lawn in sunny yards and is drought tolerant. It doesn’t like cold weather and it doesn’t tolerate deep shade.

    Climate and Sun Exposure

    Researchers and seed manufacturers are busy hybridizing grass seed types to thrive in specific climates, such as the warm Southeast or the rainy West Coast, and to grow in harsh sun or dense shade. Most grass seed varieties grow well with full to partial sun, but new and improved versions will tolerate shade as well.

    Buyers can often find specialized seeds within the same seed family. For instance, several options are available just within the fescue grass seed type. These include hard fescue that grows in colder climates and high elevations, creeping fescue that will grow even in deep shade, and fastest-growing grasses that withstands heavy traffic but doesn’t like hot weather.

    Coverage Area

    The amount of seed necessary for overseeding a lawn depends on the type, whether the seed is coated or bare, and the overall condition of the existing lawn. The best rule of thumb is to follow the manufacturer’s coverage recommendations that appear on the bag of seeds.

    The coverage area for coated grass seeds is not as high as uncoated seeds because coated seeds are larger, so fewer seeds are present per pound. Spread rate varies by grass type as well, and this will appear on the package. K31 fescue, for example, has a spread rate of 5 to 10 pounds per 1,000 feet, with 10 pounds being the average for establishing new lawns and 5 pounds as the average for overseeding. For the best results, follow the spread rate suggested by the manufacturer.

    Low Maintenance

    Keeping a lawn healthy and beautiful requires diligence and proper attention. Achieving a maintenance-free lawn isn’t possible, but you can reduce the amount of mowing, fertilizing, dethatching, and watering by choosing to overseed with a grass variety that grows well in the specific region. Generally, a low-growing grass variety, such as buffalograss, requires fewer mowings than a tall-growing variety, such as fescue.

    If watering the lawn is a particularly tedious task, a drought-tolerant variety, such as Bermuda grass, is among the best options for a low-maintenance yard in warm, sunny climates. What is considered low maintenance in one region may be high maintenance in another, so consider choosing a variety that’s well suited or native to the area.

    Our Top Picks

    Before choosing a grass seed for overseeding, consider the type of existing grass in the lawn. If it’s growing well, overseeding with the same type is recommended. If the lawn is struggling to survive, sparse, and full of weeds or patchy, consider overseeding with a better variety to correct the existing problems. The following seeds are meant for different regions and lawns, but each is a standout in its category.

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