We recommend Pennington Smart Seed as the best grass seed brand (please remember there are lots of great brands out there; this is just our opinion). Customers love these Pennington grass seed blends because they contain the best seeds for growing in a variety of conditions. Also, Pennington Smart Seed targets specific regions, like the Northeast and the Midwest, to create blends perfect for growing in those regions’ conditions. We love Pennington, but there are other fantastic options; check out our other picks below.
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Where Does Grass Seed Come From?
You can readily buy grass seed from your local garden supply center, but where does the grass seed come from? It is important to understand how grass seed forms, and how it’s harvested, to learn how the biggest grass seed companies stay in business by growing and packaging grass seeds to create beautiful lawns.
It seems to be a mystery, since we usually don’t see any seeds in our grass blades. That’s because we regularly mow our lawns. When we do this, we make our lawns look maintained and encourage spread. However, if you regularly mow your lawn, you won’t give your grass an opportunity to grow seeds.
Grass will seed itself if you let it grow long enough (source). Eventually, grass will grow flowers that contain grass seeds. Some grasses contain male and female reproductive organs within each flower, whereas others contain them in separate flowers. Once the flowers are pollinated, grass seeds form.
You can harvest grass seeds from your own grass, but it can be time consuming. Large farms use harvesters, like combines, to harvest large amounts of grass seeds at a time. The video above shows a combine in action as it harvests grass seeds:
What Makes Some Grass Seed Better Than Others?
Just like most things in life, not all grass seed is created equal. Purchasing grass seed from a trusted company, rather than a random vendor, can make the difference between a beautiful, green lawn, and a lawn that just won’t grow.
Trusted brands, like those recommended in this guide, put time and effort into growing the best grass seeds for a variety of climates, soil types, and weather conditions. These are the brands that work to create hybrid versions of your favorite grass varieties for better drought resistance, shade tolerance, and other difficult growing conditions.
Look at the ingredients on the bag before you purchase grass seeds. This will tell you the type of seeds, the percentage of weed seeds, the expected germination rate, and any added fillers. Trustworthy seed companies will have no problem being transparent about their grass seed ingredients.
Common Types of Grass Seed
According to GreenView, most companies package grass seed in the following categories:
- Fast Grow Mix
- Sun and Shade Mix
- High-Traffic Mix
- Dense Shade Mix
Doing so helps consumers choose the best type of grass seed that will work for their soil, weather, and sunlight conditions.
To choose the best one for you, learn as much about your region’s climate and soil conditions before you purchase seeds. Grasses come in both warm-season and cool-season varieties. If you live in an area with long, hot summers, warm-season grasses will do better. However, areas with long, colder winters will prefer cool-season grasses.
How Do Grass Seed Mixes Compare to Single Varieties?
Some of the best grass seed brands sell both single varieties of grass seed and grass seed mixes. Is there much of a difference? What type is better?
The answer is yes, for most lawns, there is a difference, and grass seed mixes tend to edge out single varieties.
Although both warm and cool-season grasses can be made into a grass seed mix, also called a blend, it’s typically cool-season grasses that you’ll find as a mix. This is because cool-season grasses can be a bit more difficult to grow, and therefore, benefit from a blended variety of seeds to increase chances of germination (source).
If you have a lawn with different growing conditions, such as plenty of sun in some areas but dense shade in others, a grass seed mix will give you the best chance for a full lawn. The varieties in the mix that grow well in sun will thrive there, whereas the other varieties that fare well in the shade will take over in shaded areas.
A grass seed mix is also a good choice if you don’t have optimal soil conditions and aren’t skilled in creating optimal soil conditions. Some grass seed varieties, like Bermuda grass, grow well in a wide range of conditions. Choosing a mix of common and hybrid Bermuda grass seeds will, in this example, give you the best chance of germination in unique soil types.
How to Have Success with Planting Grass Seed
Your grass seed will only be successful if you use proper planting and care procedures. It’s important to test and prepare your soil before planting any grass seed for the best chance at germination and a beautiful, full lawn.
Try to prepare your soil before early fall, as this is typically the best time to plant grass seed. You want to make sure the weather is still warm enough to help your seeds germinate, but cool and rainy enough to keep seeds from drying out before they germinate (source).
Preparing to Plant
If you have a large area where you’re planting grass, consider using a tiller over the area. This will loosen up your soil, giving your seeds room to breathe, spread, and get nutrients. Remove any rocks, weeds, and debris from where you’ll be planting.
Test your soil’s pH, or submit a soil sample for professional testing. You can then amend the soil with any nutrients it may need to bring it to the proper pH.
Rake over your tilled soil to create a smooth, even surface for your grass seeds to grow. Thoroughly moisten the soil with water so that it’s moist several inches below the surface.
Caring for Grass Seed
Once you plant your grass seed, take special notice of the specific instructions for your variety. Some grass needs more water than other grasses, some may need overseeding to fill in bare spots, and some may need to be mowed more frequently to encourage spread.
Keep your lawn looking its best by pulling weeds and keeping the soil moist. Consider creating a footpath through heavy traffic areas to keep traffic off your lawn as much as possible.
Our Recommendation: Pennington Smart Seed
Our choice for best grass seed brand is Pennington Smart Seed, which dominates in customer reviews because of its drought-resistant, water-conserving abilities.
Pennington Smart Seed is available in a number of different mixes, like Tall Fescue, Dense Shade, and Sun and Shade Mix. The brand even has mixes available for specific regions and states, such as Northeast Mix and Pennsylvania Mix. You’re sure to find the perfect grass seed blend for your region with this brand.
To create these mixes, Pennington blends its best seeds together to create optimal blends for virtually all growing conditions. The brand also guarantees that its mixes contain no fillers and extra seeds, for a higher chance of germination than other brands.
Additionally, you’ll find that these grasses will save you water, as they’re blended to need less water than other types of grass. Even if your area has little rainfall, or you’re concerned about the cost of watering a lawn, you can still grow a beautiful lawn with Pennington Smart Seed mixes.