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Choose Seed

Confirm that the cool-season grass seed combination in the seed bag is the best match for your needs. Bags of grass seed are generally a mix of species claiming to target a specific situation. 100% perennial ryegrass seeds sprouts the fastest and should only be use to patch small bare spots.

For renovation or new establishment avoid mixes that have more than 20% perennial ryegrass as its seedlings can overwhelm the other species. Also avoid mixes with annual ryegrass which only survive one growing season.

Most cool-season sods are improved Kentucky bluegrass varieties because their spreading rhizomes intertwine to form a strong sod.

Endophytes are beneficial fungi that live on the grass and discourage surface feeders. There are endophytic varieties of perennial ryegrass and fine or tall fescues.

Common Cool-Season Grasses

Kentucky Bluegrass

Shade Tolerance: Poor
Drought Tolerance: Poor
Wear Tolerance: Good
Establishment Days to Seedlings: Slowest 30-90
Feeding Need: Highest

Perennial Ryegrass

Shade Tolerance: Poor
Drought Tolerance: Poor
Wear Tolerance: Good
Establishment Days to Seedlings: Fastest 14-21
Feeding Need: Average

Tall Fescue

Shade Tolerance: Good
Drought Tolerance: Some
Wear Tolerance: Good
Establishment Days to Seedlings: Average 21-30
Feeding Need: Average

Fine Fescue

Shade Tolerance: Excellent
Drought Tolerance: Some
Wear Tolerance: Poor
Establishment Days to Seedlings: Average 21-50
Feeding Need: Lowest

Typical cool-season grass mixes for different conditions:

Sunny, lower maintenance (at least 6- 8 hrs direct sun):

  • 100% tall fescue blend or
  • 65% Kentucky bluegrass, 15% perennial ryegrasses, 20% fine fescues

Sunny, higher maintenance (at least 6- 8 hrs direct sun):

  • 65% Kentucky bluegrass, 15% perennial ryegrasses, 20% fine fescues

Shade (4 – 8 hrs direct sun):

  • 100% fine fescue variety blend

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