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What grass seed do professional landscapers use for the greenest lawns?

In the spring, a landscaper's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of grass and the planting to come. Here are some suggestions on choosing the best seeds to turn your springtime landscaping services into the gentle, green slopes of a summer lawn.

Temperature, Water, and Sunlight

A few questions drive grass seed choice. Is the planting climate hot or cool? Is water readily available by rain or irrigation? Is the area sunny or shaded? Answers to these question help determine the best seeds for a particular location.

Cool Grasses, Warm Grasses

Grasses are either cool-season grasses or warm-season grasses.

Cool-season grasses prefer cooler weather and may stay green under cover of snow during the winter. However, they are likely to wither under summer heat. If cooler weather prevails in your region, then cool-season grasses will perform best, particularly during fall and spring. Cool-season grasses include Kentucky Bluegrass, Ryegrass, and Fescues.

Warm-season grasses grow vigorously during hot spells, but turn dormant and brown in cooler weather. If the temperature generally soars in your region, you’ll find warm-season grasses are the better choice. Warm-season grasses include Bermuda, St. Augustine, Bahia, Centipedegrass, and Zoysia.

Water, Water, Anywhere?

Water availability is also important. You may be planting in a naturally arid region or in an area subject to water conservation measures. If so, you’ll want to choose a drought-resistant variety. Drought-resistant grasses include Bermuda, Zoysia, St. Augustine, Buffalo, Bahia, and Fescue.

Careful with water, though. Too much water leads to shallow rooting or drowns the roots. This stresses the plant and makes it less resistant to disease and injury. If the planting area is too wet or moist, consider installing drainage or removing excess tree cover to promote drying.

Sun and Shade

All grasses enjoy the sun, but some grasses can thrive with less sun. If your planting area includes shade or tends to be cloudy, then choose a shade-resistant grass. As it turns, out, most cool-season grasses do just fine in shade, but the fescues are particularly shade-tolerant, especially Creeping Fescue and Tall Fescue. Among the warm-season grasses, St. Augustine is shade-tolerant.


Annual variations in temperature, rain, and light can challenge any grass. Seed blends can help. By mixing complementary grasses or planting in succession, you can promote a green lawn throughout the year. For example, in a warm, southern climate, you might mix ryegrass with warm-season grasses in the spring or sow ryegrass in the early days of fall. During the summer, the warm-season grasses will stay lush and green, but as they start to fail with colder weather, the ryegrass can take over and keep the lawn green until the warm weather returns. A careful balancing of seeds can diversify your lawn and ensure it is ready for changing conditions.

The Big Picture

The following table can help you sort out how the different grasses perform. We hope you find it useful as you gear up for your spring sowing.

Cool Season
Warm Season
Drought Resistant
Shade Tolerant
Kentucky Bluegrass
Perennial Ryegrass
Tall Fescue
Fine Fescue
Creeping Fescue
St. Augustine

What’s your favourite grass seed? What works best for you?

Share your strategies and experiences with other professionals!