The Q&A Archives: Grass Seed

Question: I live in St Louis MO. and my yard is a wreck. More dirt and weeds than grass. It's part shade & sun. I am going to redo it all, what is the best type of seed for my area?

Answer: I think I would choose a mixture of grasses, based upon how much effort you want to put into having a green lawn, and how much foot traffic the lawn will receive.

Blends of Kentucky bluegrasses look very rich with dark blue-green colors and have pretty good resistance to brown patch disease; however, they do require more inputs of fertilizer and water to maintain that rich cover through the summer months. They are also more susceptible to dollar spot, leaf spot and summer patch diseases. Selecting bluegrass varieties that offer some resistance to some of these diseases is a practical first step in lawn establishment. Bluegrasses do develop tillers and small rhizomes, which allow bluegrasses to recover from thinning or other problems.

Blends of turf-type tall fescues can give deep emerald green appearances with a slightly coarser texture than the bluegrass. They tend to be a deeper rooting plant and, therefore, require less water than the bluegrasses. They are not as susceptible to dollar spot and summer patch, but generally will require fungicides for the control of brown patch. There are several varieties of turf-type tall fescues that offer better resistance to brown patch than other varieties; therefore, selecting the more resistant varieties will improve turf quality. Tall fescues will tiller to help with recovery, but tend to be clumpy with severe thinning.

Mixtures, such as turf-type tall fescues with bluegrasses (90% fescue, 10% bluegrass), combine the advantages of each species to mask the weaknesses of each. Mixtures with perennial ryegrass should not exceed 20% perennial ryegrass as it is very susceptible to most of the diseases listed above. Ryegrass is not very heat or drought tolerant.

Hope this information is helpful!

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