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Grass Seed 411

hand holding scoop of grass seed ready to plant

When fall seeding or patching spots in your existing turf, it's important to choose the right grass seed for your situation. Sunny and shady spots require different types of seed, as do dry versus moist areas, and high traffic/low traffic spots.

Grass Seed Blends
Blends of turf seeds are the preferred choice for most lawns. Fleet Farm offers a wide selection of blends that are appropriate for northern climates like ours. For sunny areas and medium to high maintenance lawns, a good mix should contain from 50-100% Kentucky bluegrass, 25-35% fine fescue and 15-25% perennial ryegrass seed.

Shady areas and lower maintenance lawns require separate blends depending on environment. If the area is dry, the mix should contain 50% or greater fine fescue, 25% Kentucky bluegrass and less than 15% perennial ryegrass. Moist areas should use a mix of 20% or greater rough bluegrass or 10% supina bluegrass, 40% or less fine fescue, 40% or less Kentucky bluegrass and 15% or less perennial ryegrass.

It's important to read the label on your package. Use grass seed within a year of the tested date listed on the label. This guarantees the best germination rate. Certified seed undergoes periodic testing to ensure a certain percentage of germination. Non-certified seed may contain quantities of weed seed and should be avoided. If the seed is labeled "VNS" or "Variety Not Stated" you are not assured of the species contained in the blend. Avoid purchasing these to prevent noxious weed infestations.

In this area, the best time to seed is mid August through mid September. April into May is the next best time, although cold weather can delay germination. Dormant seeding in November can be done, but the seed will not germinate until spring. This is not usually recommended because of the wild variances of weather conditions in winter.

When it comes time to seed your lawn, be sure to take the proper steps to ensure success. A soil test is recommended to see if topsoil should be added and amendments to your soil are required.

Patching spots in existing turf
There are many blends available specifically for patching spots in established lawns. First remove the dead grass and any weeds, adding topsoil so the patching material has a surface to adhere to. For yellow spots caused by pet urine, we recommend a repair mix containing minerals to neutralize the soil and give the grass a better chance to grow. Other bare patches can be repaired with this mix, specifically formulated for northern lawns. It contains mulch and seed, holding in moisture for faster germination.

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