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Warm or Cool season matter when selection of the best grass seed?

Posted by coody GA (My Page) on
Sat, Apr 4, 09 at 11:08

My lawn is dormant in the winter. It is probably the warm season grass. I would like to select the best grass seed to fill in the bare spots. Should I select the warm season grass seed or the season type does not matter if I want to spread the best grass seed? Do your experts know which grass seed is the best?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Warm or Cool season matter when selection of the best grass s

You should seed the same kind of grass as you have now. If you seed cool season grasses in the bare spots, your lawn will never look right. In the winter, you'll have a brown lawn with green patches and in the summer you'll have a green lawn with brown patches.

In addition to the warm/cool season thing, you also want to stick with the same variety of grass. For example, if you've got St Augustine grass, don't use Bermuda in the bare spots. If you've got Bermuda, don't use St Augustine in the bare spots. The two have different mowing and fertilizing requirements and don't really look that good when mixed together.

Actually, if you have Bermuda, you probably don't need to do anything because it spreads pretty aggressively, so as it wakes up, it will fill those bare spots in by itself.


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RE: Warm or Cool season matter when selection of the best grass s

Warm season grasses in georgia are all creepers. You don't need to overseed for small bare spots. Just fertilize and water the areas and they will fill in.


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RE: Warm or Cool season matter when selection of the best grass s

Thanks for the inputs. Let me ask a general question. Lets assume change the grass entirely and need to select the new warm season grass. Do you recommend what the best warm season grass and why? Should it be heat-tolerant, less watering and weeds, and easy to care? What is your experts' selection?


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RE: Warm or Cool season matter when selection of the best grass s

There is no "best" grass.
It just depends on the site and the traits you are looking for. Whether you want to mow a lot, have low maintenance or have sun, shade, clay or sand soil, want dark green color year round, want repairability.

This chart should help give you an overview.
http://buckjones.com/turfgrassChoose.html

You keep mentioning seed. The only decent turf seed you're going to find is for tall fescue and for centipede and neither of those will work well in all parts of the state so it depends on where you are.


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RE: Warm or Cool season matter when selection of the best grass s

I do not like tall fescues because its leaf is too wide and it is too high. The maintenance is too heavy. It looks like grassy weed. Have you heard about the Kentucky type grass?


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RE: Warm or Cool season matter when selection of the best grass s

Yes the kentucky type grass- Kentucky 31 or K31 for short is the unimproved cow pasture type of tall fescue with coarse blades that looks weedy that you described. The newer turf types are very nice.

Never the less, it sounds like we're getting somewhere. If you don't want coarse blades, that eliminates st. augustine and centipede. It also eliminates seeded varieties of zoysia and most common seeded bermudas as well.

Provided you don't want to give tall fescue a try, that narrows it down to sod hybrids of bermuda, zoysia, and thermal blue. Knowing more about the amount of sun/shade and the city you live in can narrow it down further.


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RE: Warm or Cool season matter when selection of the best grass s

Kentucky bluegrass is not a warm season grass but you can probably make it work. You'll be watering plenty.

One thing that gives bermuda an advantage in the south is that if it goes completely dry for a month or two, bermuda goes dormant and will return. St Augustine, the other popular southern grass, will die if it does not get water every other week in the summer. St Augustine has very wide blades so you might not like that.


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RE: Warm or Cool season matter when selection of the best grass s

Most of the state Coody is located in has 1 or 2 months of dry or drought in the summer. When the summer is the only time the grass is most actively growing, when you subtract a month or two of dormancy or reduced vigor during these times and you subtract the other 6 months of the year it is dormant or going in and out of dormancy, what you are left with is 2 months of green grass if you're lucky.

With Bermuda in Georgia, at a bare minimum you have to water and mow weekly. That may not sound like a big deal and it's not really but if you don't it won't be green and you will have a brown lawn for 8-10 months of the year.

I'm not saying this because I don't like bermuda. I'm not saying this is the case for florida or texas or the gulf coast states with monsoonal summer moisture. I'm saying this for the georgia and piedmont where bermuda is not optimal most of the year. The other choices are not optimal either but with cool season grasses, which are also high maintenance, you at least get a green lawn out of the deal for the entire year including summer once it is established.


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RE: Warm or Cool season matter when selection of the best grass s

I agree with IFISNM (short for iforgotitsonevermind) However, if you are on the most southern part of GA, a warm season grass will probably be your best option, but dont hold me to it, I'm up in Raleigh and not very familiar with warm season grasses or your particular climate.


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RE: Warm or Cool season matter when selection of the best grass s

So, what is the idea grass (can aggressively spreads to fill in bare spots and thinning areas and stay green in hot temperature etc) in your opinion in the southern area if the cool or warm season grass does not matter assuming the lawn receiving 80 % of direct sun daily?


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RE: Warm or Cool season matter when selection of the best grass s

I have a question to clarify something. Coody asked about Kentucky type grass. There were two responses to that. One dealt with Kentucy 31 (AKA K31 or KY31), which is a forage type tall fescue. It's tough and drought resistant, but wide bladed, fast growing and clumpy. The other response mentioned Kentucky bluegrass (AKA KBG), which is a turf type grass that is relatively fine bladed and spreads via rhizomes.

The K31 fescue would probably grow more easily where you are, but I don't like it as a turfgrass. The KBG will be more difficult to keep happy in the heat, but it's a much more attractive grass.

Which one of these did you mean, Coody?


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RE: Warm or Cool season matter when selection of the best grass s

Still waiting to find out where coody is located and also what 80% sunlight means.
If you are in southern ga, a warm season grass is the answer. many of those areas the grass does not even enter dormancy or if it does it's very brief. Needless to say you have a longer growing season.

We are slowly widdling away at the turf species.
In south ga or coastal ga, fescue is out.
Doesn't want coarse blades, st. augustine and centipede is out.
Not sure what 80% sun means but whether or not bermuda is out hinges on the answer to that.
If it's too shady for that then it seems like that leaves you with only one choice - hybrid zoysia .


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RE: Warm or Cool season matter when selection of the best grass s

80% direct sun means the lawn receives the sun before 4 oclock. After 4 oclock (3 oclock in the winter) the sun is obscured by a house. I saw some posts seem preferring cool season grass even I am talking about the lawn in the south of the GA-because the cool season grass can keep green all seasons. So, I further ask what is the idea grass you recommend if the cool or warm season grass does not matter. Can you provide your recommendations; better the grass seed is available in the store.


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RE: Warm or Cool season matter when selection of the best grass s

Coody, where in GA are you located? City/town, please.

GA has like 5 different climatic zones, don't generalize the weather there. What grows near the GA/FL border might not grow near the GA/NC/TN border.


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RE: Warm or Cool season matter when selection of the best grass s

The only grass seed available in the store that I would plant are the premium turf type fescues, bluegrass, and centipede.
That doesn't mean these are good for your location coody just that chinese common zoysia and the pasture grade bermudas aren't good selections. If you want performance in a warm season grass, you need to buy sod. If you're in south ga, you are in the epicenter of warm season sod production. You are bound to find a deal in this economy with home construction totally stalled throughout the region.


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RE: Warm or Cool season matter when selection of the best grass s

Auteck, I am talking about the lawn located in Athens, GA. Can you or any experts recommend an idea grass type in that area regardless of warm or cool season grass and explain why? The lawn receives direct sun until 4 oclock daily because of obscured by a house after 4 pm. Please provide the name of the grass/seed/sod. I will check it in the store.


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RE: Warm or Cool season matter when selection of the best grass s

Emerald Zoysia sod will give you about 6 months of green grass in athens. Next to centipede, that is the longest period of green. It's slow to establish but performs very well once established. It's only sold as a sod since it's a hybrid. There are no seeds for it. You can find pallets of it that cover 450sf going for $100-$150 now.

If you want year round green and darker color and more lush appearance Look for tall fescue or thermal blue sod. If you want to seed instead of sod, then tall fescue is the grass for you. You will have to wait until autumn to seed it as it is too late to do it now. Tall fescue sod is generally only available until May so you're running out of time for that as well. You can find pallets of that for $85-100 now

So there. 3 recommended species based on what you said you wanted. A fine bladed grass for full sun.


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RE: Warm or Cool season matter when selection of the best grass s

Thank you for finally tell us where you are. You can't imagine how important that little detail is. See how quickly you got specific recommendations once you said that!


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RE: Warm or Cool season matter when selection of the best grass s

I do not like tall fescue due to its wide leaf, thick and tall stem. It looks like grassy weed. I am trying to remove them from the lawn. I prefer self-repairing and heat tolerant grass seed right now. I do not care it will be dormant or not in the winter (Dormant grass may look better because it just shows the winter season). I saw the Scotts Heat-tolerant Kentucky blue grass. Is it ok or you think some type of grass seed is even better?


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RE: Warm or Cool season matter when selection of the best grass s

Before you go with Scott's Heat Tolerant Blue, I would read up on it. It's 90% tall fescue and 10% hybrid Kentucky/Texas Bluegrass. If you don't want fescue, this might not be a good choice for you.

If you don't mind something that is dormant in the winter, why not stick with what you've got? If it's dormant now because it's a warm season grass, odds are it will fill in once it warms up without any help from you.

If you want to replace it with a cool season grass, you'll probably need to get the current lawn really healthy first in order to completely kill it and reseed with the cool season grasses in the late summer/early fall.


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RE: Warm or Cool season matter when selection of the best grass s

I give up.


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RE: Warm or Cool season matter when selection of the best grass s

I agree with bpgreen and just about to agree with iforgotitsonevermind. However, if you don't like fescue (some fescues are fine bladed like bluegrass) you can use Kentucky Bluegrass which is selfrepair and might go dormant (not like a warm season grass) during the winter.

You also need to keep in mind that your neighbors might have bermuda lawns and you are going to need to put some kind of borders (railroad ties work well and are cheap) to keep it from invading your to be bluegrass lawn.

You temperatures are quite similar to Charlotte, NC; where Kentucky Bluegrass grows. I think you should be able to grow it as well. However, your rainfall might be questionable...

Here, check this website: www.turf-seed.com

You can find information on cool and warm season grasses.

Good luck.

auteck


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RE: Warm or Cool season matter when selection of the best grass s

Taken last night, just for you.
http://img26.imageshack.us/img26/1174/bermudafescuecomparison.jpg

That brown grass on the top is bermuda as of yesterday. Not a green blade in sight. The grass adjoining that space is fescue and look how beautiful and dark green that is.
Bermuda does not hold a candle to that color which is why fescue is used so much in professionally designed landscapes.

Bermuda doesn't just "show the winter season" as you put it. It's brown in fall, winter and spring. And if it's dry summer, it's brown in summer. Heck, you're in Athens, you know it snowed here this week. Bermuda will not be green for some time to come. The only green bermuda you see is the lawns that have been taken over by weeds, which is most of them that haven't used pre-ermegent in the fall.

Believe me, you don't want to be stuck with a brown, weed infested, ugly lawn while everyone else has a gorgeous lush fescue or thermal bluegrass lawn.

You're in Athens,GA I'm sure you've heard of the term "Gnat line" being used. Well warm season grass is for areas "below the gnat line".


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RE: Warm or Cool season matter when selection of the best grass s

We live in Blairsville, Ga. As new owners we have several issues to tackle. We have a level section of grass/weeds which received direct sun for approx. 6 hrs. per day. Below that area is a steep slope which has some phlox and blue juniper in specific areas. Other areas are covered with blackberry bushes. That being said, we want to prevent erosion, cannot "mow" the slope, will need to use a weed-whacker to cut, but want grass. We prefer a low-growing grass that does not require alot of upkeep. Do you have any suggestions for type of grass to use? Thanks in advance!


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RE: Warm or Cool season matter when selection of the best grass s

eagleap, in georgia, mostly ornamental grass is used for slopes as well as junipers. Not the ultra low growing junipers but the ones that get 2-3' high and about 6' wide. Maintainging a slope like that with a weed whacker will get old fast, take it from me. About those ornmental grasses, weeping love grass is one, muhly grass is a native from the coastal areas of the state but I'm pretty sure it will grow in blairsville. Another one I know will grow there is blue fescue which is easy to find in garden centers in small pots.

If you want a turfgrass, centipede which is only marginally hardy, if at all in blairsville dep on the elevation is a very slow growing turf that doesn't need any maintenance. It's not very attractive. There are dwarf tall fescues that only get to 6-8" maturity. You would have to special order seed for them and seeding a slope is very difficult. Consider trees or shrubs there.


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RE: Warm or Cool season matter when selection of the best grass s

Great information, thank you! We are being attacked by the thorns on the bushes which made us initially consider grasses. I really like the idea of ornamental grasses (lower height) and will look into it. Again, thanks.


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RE: Warm or Cool season matter when selection of the best grass s

You can just remove the blackberries, greenbriars etc that have thorns and are weedy and use pre-emergent herbicides to prevent these and other unwanted things from sprouting in the future. The grasses alone will not keep the blackberries out.


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RE: Warm or Cool season matter when selection of the best grass s

I'm not sure whether it's adapted to GA or not, but creeping red fescue is a low growing fine fescue that can be left unmowed (it probably gets 4-6 inches tall) and spreads to fill in bare spots. It's a cool season grass so it might struggle in the summer heat.


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RE: Warm or Cool season matter when selection of the best grass s

Yes creeping red fescue is a very well adapted native grass. Also drought tolerant once established. I didn't mention it because it does get taller than 4-6" tall and because it's more of a lawn grass than ornamental so it would just look a little unkempt.


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