It seems like buying from a big box store is not advisable. Any suggestions for a reliable online seed company would be very appreciated. Also, would love opinions on a good KBG variety.
Unfortunately picking a "good KBG variety" isn't as easy as one might think. There are over 100 cultivars that you could pick from. It is generally recommended that you use 3 or more cultivars when you seed to give your lawn genetic diversity by using different subclasses of KBG. You may have heard of these subclasses; compact, compact America, compact midnight, mid-atlantic, aggressive, BVMG, shamrock, other, etc. Most people use one from each of the compact subclasses, but you can substitute from other groups if you want. Another thing to consider is where you live. Some cultivars do better in hotter climates than others, and some are a better choice for the northern part of the country. So the first question is, where do you live? Another question is, what kind of conditions will this yard see? By that I mean is it full sun? Partial shade? Moderate shade? What's the traffic situation like? Is this for a renovation, or just an overseed? Do you have irrigation, or the budget for irrigating the seed for the germination and establishment period?
I can give you the names of several seed sellers, but of course they don't always carry the cultivars you want. One of the best is Williams Lawn Seed. Pawnee Buttes has a good selection. The Hogan Company has some good ones as well. There are others too, but answer some of the questions I posted earlier as that will determine the seller.
Hello! I live in NE Ohio, about an hour from Cleveland. Front lawn is mostly sun (one pine tree, but not to large), loam (although back yard is mostly clay??). I can water if need be, but have heard of more drought resistant KGB. That would be preferable, so save on water bills. We have pets and children, but they play in the large fenced in back yard, so front will not get a lot of traffic. Just me, mowing and tending to the flower beds. It will be to seed from scratch.
Will having all KBG, but mixing in more than one variety be okay for disease resistance. Or does a lawn need different types of grass all together?
Many people have 100% KBG lawns, and to be honest, those lawns generally look the best when properly maintained. Using 3 cultivars of different subclasses gives you the genetic diversity that can help prevent disease from killing your whole lawn, but it can still happen. Thankfully there are some very disease resistant cultivars available today. A few decades ago this wasn't the case, and disease was usually a yearly issue. Mixed grass lawns can be very nice, and have great genetic diversity, but in terms of appearance, they are generally not as nice as 100% KBG. It's your call, but they can have problems as well. Another point to consider is water. All grass needs it, and in the first year of KBG, you don't want to stress your new grass with drought. True, some cultivars are more drought tolerant, but if you want a KBG lawn, you will have to water for about a month to establish it, and provide irrigation when mother nature does not.
One of the best cultivars available today is Bewitched, it should be part of your blend. It performs well across the board, and has a nice dark green color. For your compact midnight, you can basically throw a dart, as most are very good and perform similarly. Midnight is the standard and it is great, but so is Award, Alexa II, NuDestiny, Granite, Impact etc. The third one that many people like to use is Prosperity. It is classified as a compact America, but it exhibits very dark color, which isn't typical of that subclass. It doesn't score very well in the disease trials however, so it's a trade off. Another one that is fairly new that might be a good fit is Blackberry. Unfortunately there isn't any NTEP data, but it's techsheet looks good, and the grower has many very good cultivars. Here are some other compact Americas that are used often: Kingfisher, Unique, Boutique, Showcase, Bedazzled, and America (of course). Another option is to use Zinfandel, which is a mid-Atlantic. This is a very new cultivar that tested very well, and has good disease tolerance. For seed sellers the internet is the best source. Williams Lawn Seed is very good, ask for Dennis. The other ones I mentioned are good as well. Seed Superstore carries great seeds, but they are very pricey, so shop around. If you can, ask for sod quality. It's not a guarantee you will get weed free seeds, but it's worth the extra money.
Thank you VERY much!! This is all very confusing and you're very detailed. One question though, before I order the seed. You have examples for first, second, third. One from each example would make up my 3 that makes a diverse lawn? Example: Bewitched, Midnight, and Prosperity would make a good blend?
Yes, three cultivars from three different subclasses is enough, and is what is typically done. The blend you have listed is fine and should make a very nice lawn as long as your soil is in good shape.
The soil is quite nice in the front. I was planning on spreading an organic fertilizer before we seeded, maybe blood meal. If you were me, and disease resistance/drought tolerance were more important than color or growth rate, which would be your top pick from each class? We have one area with really weird grass that is afflicted with some disease every mid summer where that patch turns brown and fungus looking. So would be nice to have a grass that will be stronger in that area.
Even the most disease resistant cultivars can get fungus, so there's no guarantee you will have a healthy lawn year after year. Prosperity does seem to be more susceptible to lawn disease than some of the other ones I mentioned. Blackberry did well on the CTBT summer patch trials, but there is no NTEP data on it, it wasn't part of the last trial. Zinfandel is a compact mid-atlantic, and it was a winner in the NTEP's in almost all areas. It's hard to find however, only a few sellers have it. Bewitched is one of the best in terms of turf quality and disease resistence. Midnight too, it does very well, the only weak area was for red thread, but it is definitely a winner in the other areas. Most of the compact midnights perform very similarly, so you can almost use any one of them without issue (Award, Alexa II, Impact, Blue Velvet, Nuchicago, Nudestiny, Sudden Impact, etc.)
I looked on the website of one of the seed houses you listed. I put 30% Bewitched, 30% Midnight II and 40% Zinfandel in my mix. Haven't pulled the trigger yet and bought it. But from what you have said, I think I'm on the right track. Thank you again, you have been a wealth of knowledge and more help than you know!
This is how The Hogan Company reply to their homeowner customers after they ship the wrong seed
It is obvious that with all of the questions and the comments you made you lack the ability to grow grass in your yard. My advice to you would be to have someone from the turf industry that knows how to grow turfgrass do your lawn. Also, if you can tell the different from the excellent blend that we sent you and the other blend, then come and take over my business and have fun with it. Even the best turf managers, breeders, university professors, and seed industry leaders can't tell the difference without scienctific proof or our excellent blends. You need help. Please do not call or email me or my company ever again! I have turned this matter over to our legal department.
The Hogan Company
Wow, the owner of a company sent you that e-mail? That's unreal.
I highly doubt we are getting the full story. I ordered seed this year from Hogans and dealt with Bob. He spent a little over 30 minutes on the phone with me answering questions and making sure I got the right seed. Absolutely one of the nicest guys I've ever dealt with.
The thing that seems odd to me is EngineerManager didn't post the e-mail he sent to Bob. I really don't think we're getting the full story here. I'm not saying Bob didn't say what was posted but my guess is he had very good reason to send that e-mail.
You're probably right, but when you own a business you have to be more mature than that. Even if someone was sending you crazy stuff, you politely and professionally end the correspondence. Sending e-mails like this, regardless of the circumstances, indicates a temperament unsuited to a position of responsibility. Just imagine a large corporation or the government sending out e-mails like this. The person doing the sending wouldn't have their job very long.
I've dealt with the public in some form for over 27 years. There have been a few times when a "customer" definitely earned this type of reply. Until EngineerManager gives us the entire story I will assume he got what he deserved. If he proves me wrong I will gladly apologize.
As for the government sending out an e-mail like this, I can assure you no job would be lost as they seem to get away with anything.