quick 'which seed?' thread

Ibanez540rAugust 20, 2011

I'm in northern Ohio and planning on over seeding shortly. When I bought the house 4 years ago, the front yard had 3 very large pine trees and a large Maple. I have since removed the pines about 2 years ago and the maple remains in the middle of the front lawn. This year was the first year I had a decent looking lawn, but very far from perfect.

The main front lawn is approx. 55 x 70 and is on the West side of house. The tree is slightly off center to the North a bit. 60% of the lawn gets sun for I'd say most of the day, while closer to the Maple, not so much sun.The lawn is bumpy and not level from the pines being removed and the remaining roots. This weekend I pulled the rest of the knuckles I could find and am leveling the lawn best as possible. I've been through 5 yards of top soil and am probably bringing in 5 more tomorrow. Prior to the soil I cut the lawn down to the lowest setting, did a VERY heavy de-thatch and also plug aerated. It's looking like by the time I'm done, most of the lawn will be fresh bare soil.

So although an "overseed" I'm kind of considering it a chance to start over. I'll be ready and want to get the seed down next week, so I'm hoping to get some quick answers so if I have to order online I can get it done.

I have fairly good knowledge on the cool season grasses, and have researched my a** off, but can't make a final decision. Currently sprinkler watered, but may be putting in irrigation system in spring. I also was on the scotts 4 step this year, but may go organic.

So, I'd almost consider my lawn half full sun and half shade. A sun & shade mix sounds right, but what percentages of each? How much shade can KBG really handle? SHould I lean more shade grass or more sun?

I've came down to thinking a KBG, perennial rye, red fescue mix should due. But, again, some are heavy on one end or the other. HELP!

Here are two I've been tossing around. One is local one is online.


30% Kentucky Bluegrass

15% Revenge GLX Perennial Ryegrass

15% Apple GL Perennial Ryegrass

15% Intrigue Chewings Fescue

15% Edgewood or Celestial Creeping Red

10% Amazing GS Perennial Ryegrass


40% Midnight Kentucky Bluegrass (Improved KBG Variety)

40% Perennial Ryegrasses selected from the following varieties: Applaud, Integra, Shining Star, or Wind Dance.

20% Creeping Red Fescue - Lustrous or Boreal

I'm open to other suggestions...

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I wouldn't use either of those mixes. The first one has KBG of unknown variety, and the rest is mostly perennial rye. Perennial rye has very little shade tolerance, and the KBG's shade tolerance is questionable since you didn't list a cultivar. The second mix has Midnight, which is a great cultivar, but not in shade. Again the PR will suffer in shade after the first year. The creeping red will be fine in the shade, but Boreal is common fine fescue, and there are better cultivars out there. Of course this all depends on your shade. If the shadiest areas get less than 3 hours of sun, then KBG and PR aren't going to do well. Fine fescues can get by with that, and most tall fescues will be OK with 3-4 hours of sun. With careful selection you can get KBG to do pretty well with 4 hours or more of sun. How much sun does the area get on a typical cloudless day?

    Bookmark   August 20, 2011 at 10:55AM
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I really never timed it or payed attention to that area through a sunny day. I'll hopefully get a chance to in the next few days. If I were to guess I'd say 75% of the lawn gets at least 4 hours with most of that 75% getting at least 6-8. The other 25% may be around 4 hours of so of sunlight, the rest being dappled and then shade.

...I've seen conflicting online reviews that midnight is a high tolerant shade KBG mix, and others saying the opposite. What are some good KBG cultivars for shade tolerance?

    Bookmark   August 20, 2011 at 4:35PM
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No, Midnight or Midnight II are not a good choices for shade tolerance, not sure where you read that. The most shade tolerant in decending order according to the 2005 NTEP natural shade trial are: Voyager II, Showcase, Ascot, Baroness, Dynamo, Serene, Apollo, Barnique, Casablanca, Fairfax, Unique, Durham, Avalanche, Bluemax, and Skye. Now according to people's experience, and also the seed companies, these cultivars have shade tolerance: America, Nuglade, Liberator, Bewitched, Moonlight SLT, Beyond, and a few others. Again, 4 hours min. would be a guideline for these cultivars, but the natural shade trials were in very dense shade, so you might be able to get away with less for those.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2011 at 6:58PM
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I was at my local nursery today and looked at some of their mixes (Oliger Seed Co) and found a good KBG mix and also a good shade fescue mix. What are your thoughts on mixing the two. Say 75% KBG mix and 25% fescue mix?

Too many cultivars?


25% Camas Ky. Blue
25% Brooklawn Ky. Blue
25% Midnight Ky. Blue
25% Nu Destiny Ky. Blue


25% Intrigue Chew. Fescue
25% Edgewood Red Fescue
25% Zodiac Chew. Fescue
10% Brooklawn Ky. Blue
15% Paragon GLR Per. Rye

    Bookmark   August 20, 2011 at 11:09PM
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Camas, never heard of it, probably a common type or older cultivar that isn't used very much. Brooklawn. A shamrock type, average full sun performer, not good in natural shade. Produces high seed yield, so you find it in a lot of blends and mixes because it is cost effective. Midnight, great cultivar, just not in shade. Nu Destiny, another compact midnight. Performs worse in shade than Midnight, and gets a lot of powdery mildew in shade. The fescues used in that shade mix are good fine fescues, but do you know what fine fescue looks like? It doesn't blend very well with dark green KBG. Again Brooklawn isn't the best for shade, and Paragon is only in there for it's quick germination time, but it will fade out in shade. I am familiar with Oligers Seed, and they carry some great cultivars, but their blends are not the most well thought out. Do they sell their seeds separately, or only in mixes? If they do, then you could come up with a better mix for your lawn. They do offer some very good tall fescue cultivars. Have you ever thought of a TF/KBG mix? If you can customize your mix, that would be ideal. If you want to see what TF looks like, go to the link below. In it you will find pictures of my TF lawn taken in June this year. It gets a lot of shade btw, some areas only receiveing a few hours of sun a day. Hope this helps.


    Bookmark   August 21, 2011 at 9:00AM
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Not to hijack the thread, but can you suggest a few cultivars of the shade tolerant fescues and KBG? Is it better to use a single type of KGB or a blend? Your yard looks good. I always thought TTF was a course blade that folks wanted to avoid.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2011 at 6:00PM
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I already listed quite a few shade tolerant KBG cultivars. Which fescues, fine or turf type tall fescue? Most fine fescues are very shade tolerant, and most TTTF are fairly shade tolerant. All data regarding shade tolerance can be found at www.ntep.org . The current trial (2005)contains info on TTTF grown in shade. For the KBG shade trials you have to look at the 2000 trial. I would use the 2003 NTEP shade trials for fine fescue. Use the last year of data for all trials. TTTF used to be basically pasture grass, but in the last twenty years a lot of work has been done to improve it. Some of the newest cultivars produce very desirable turf. If you are planning an all KBG yard, then it is recommended you use three or four cultivars that are not in the same group (compact, compact midnight, compact America, etc). For TTTF it's not critical to use multiple cultivars, but it is usually done anyway. If you add some KBG to TTTF, generally you use only one cultivar at 10-20% by weight.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2011 at 8:34PM
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Well, I seeded yesterday. We'll see how it goes. I basically did a mix of my own from something similar to the above. I'll post details later. The more I payed attention each day, the area gets more sun then i thought. So, hopefully have good results.

I'll post back when I start seeing some of the Perennial Rye. (Manhatten 5)

    Bookmark   August 27, 2011 at 11:26AM
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All the best. Hope everything works well. Grass is tough. Should look great.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 11:30AM
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I noticed today I've started getting 1/4" spikes of PR. Now just the waiting game on the KBG and hoping the rye doesn't out compete.

Also have unseasonable high temps coming the next few days, 82,87,87,82 with mid 60's at night. Luckily I have a timer running the sprinkler at 10, 1, and 4.

For the two hottest days I might kick it up to 10, 12, 2, and 4.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 10:13PM
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I wish we had weather like that. I think it's coming beginning of next week. Today and tomorrow are highs around 100. That's why I haven't planted here yet. ;) I'm hoping it will be our last 100 degree for the year.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2011 at 11:21AM
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