What is the best grass seed for Cincinnati, Dayton, Ohio or Northern Kentucky? Learn what mixtures the local pros recommend and use on lawn seeding services. Grass seed is expensive, so you'll want to use the best grass seed for overseeding to make your dollar go farther. I'll go over some of my favorites here.
The Best Grass Seed for Cincinnati, Dayton, Ohio, and Northern Kentucky
A thriving lawn is the best natural defense against weeds. A gorgeous lawn beckons your family to enjoy the outdoors. To keep your lawn in top shape, seeding can help both to support thinned-out areas and as an integral part of routine maintenance. In either case, you obviously want the best grass seed for your Cincinnati, Dayton, Ohio or Northern Kentucky home.
Of course, you want quality grass seed, but where to start? If you’ve been to a big box store and looked at seed, you already know there are an overwhelming number of types and brands of seeds. A poor choice could leave you with more hassle than you started with. Some seed blends contain filler (which can produce untreatable weeds – as we will discuss later); some turf types don’t work well in our region and yet there they are on the store shelves. We understand how confusing these options can be for you.
For beautiful, healthy grass, it is important that you make your seed selection wisely, which may mean turning to a professional for advice and assistance. We truly want you to have the best lawn possible and we know that this process starts with choosing the best grass seed available. We are here to help you with that decision.
Choosing the Best Grass Seed in Cincinnati, Dayton, Ohio, or Northern Kentucky
There are a lot of misconceptions about grass seed that can make the buying process a challenge. One major misunderstanding is the idea that every seed type is more or less the same, leading some homeowners to be fooled into choosing a product that has a fancy or appealing label or a brand name they recognize. Sometimes people also get fixated on certain advertising gimmicks. For example, they might pick a type that claims to have fast germination. But this is a common marketing ploy and it may turn out that what is growing quickly is a grass you do not desire in your yard.
The truth is that there are many differences among grass seed species. Don’t be misled by labels, brand appeal, or other irrelevant details. At the store, take the time to read the label. You may be surprised to see that it provides the percentage of how much of the content consists of weeds and nuisance grasses (which cannot be controlled by selective weed controls). The seed purchased in big box stores is simply not going to be of the same high quality as that which is used by a reputable landscape professional.
The Oasis’ Pick for the Best Grass Seed in Cincinnati, Dayton, Ohio, or Northern Kentucky
A lot of research and development on grass seed is done each year via the National Turfgrass Evaluation Program (NTEP), which grows grass at various locations across the United States in order to determine the very best turf type for each region. The University of Kentucky is one of these local test sites, and we follow that data closely in making our choice of the best grass seed for Cincinnati, Dayton, Ohio and Northern Kentucky .
Based on that research, as well as our own experience, we recommend Turf Type Tall Fescue blends as the best grass seed for our customers’ lawns. We use a blend that is 99% pure: we do not want to plant weeds in your yard!
We have found that the new varieties of Turf Type Tall Fescue can even grow in shaded areas, although sections of the yard that receive virtually no sun may require a different solution.
Getting Grass to Grow, Mature, & Survive
Getting grass seed to grow isn’t as simple as throwing it down on the ground and waiting for it to sprout. It needs some nurturing in order to germinate, with good seed-to-soil contact. That is why it is beneficial to do your seeding at the same time as your fall aeration, the service that pulls the soil plugs throughout your yard.
When lawn aeration and overseeding are done together, it allows the seeds to fall into the holes created by aerating. Years of university-level research and our experience with the success of combining the two services have shown us that this is the best way to overcome environmental challenges in our area and to help seed grow and thrive.
Successful seeding also requires the following to get started and to thrive:
- Fertilization: We apply starter fertilizer with grass seed in order to increase the fertilization rate.
- Watering: Grass seed needs to be watered daily for the first three weeks after seeding, then every other day for one week, and twice a week after that.
- Ongoing Care: A professional lawn care maintenance program will ensure that your yard gets what it needs on a continuing basis in order to thrive.
Seeding for Success
A beautiful lawn begins with choosing the best grass seed. However, seeding is only one part of an overall lawn health program that encompasses all of your turf’s needs.
By choosing Oasis, you will get the best grass seed for your Cincinnati, Dayton, Ohio, or Northern Kentucky home, giving your lawn an excellent start, and our ongoing care for your property will provide everything it requires to perform at its best all year long.
When it comes to your yard, from early on in the grass seed stage and up through health care for the mature lawn, we’re here for you. We’re always available to answer any questions that you may have, because the choices you make now will set your lawn up for success in the future.
If you’d like to find out more about seeding at your Cincinnati, Dayton, Ohio, or Northern Kentucky home, give us a call 513-697-9090 or contact us for a free estimate.
What is the Best Grass Seed for Overseeding?
With the many different types of grass seed available today, choosing what type of grass to seed alone is a difficult decision, but choosing to overseed adds another component to the mix. Let’s face it — grass seed is expensive, and if you want to get the best bang for your buck, you’ll want to choose the best grass seed for overseeding.
In this article I’ll help you choose the best seed for your lawn, your climate, and your skill level. This way, you can make an informed choice.
The two main types of grass are warm-season grass and cool-season grass, in order to decide which is best for you and overseeding, you will need to match them based on your climate and sun exposure. Not all grass types require overseeding, but generally, bunch type, cool-season grasses benefit the most from overseeding.
Why Overseed Your Lawn?
Overseeding your lawn is when you plant new grass seed over existing grass or turf. This is done without destroying or pulling up any of the previous turf as well as soil.
The most obvious reason to overseed is to improve the look of your lawn. You might want to overseed if your lawn looks old, brown, somewhat worn out. If your lawn needs huge amounts of water and nutrients to thrive, consider overseeding.
Overseeding is a great way to fill in bare spots in your grass, make your lawn thicker, improve the current grass variety you are growing, or give your lawn an overall better look. No longer will you need to worry about people running on your lawn or if heavy rains are thinning it out.
After overseeding, your lawn will be able to hold up to natural events and environmental stress.
Another reason for overseeding is if you have an insect problem or are prone to diseases. Having a healthy lawn means you will no longer be prone to pests or weeds. That means if you are looking to avoid using chemicals then overseeding is a great option.
When to Overseed
Different types of grass require different times of overseeding, but generally, late summer or early fall is the best time to overseed your lawn. This is due to the soil and outside temperatures being the best for seed germination as well as grass growth. Doing so during this time will also give your seeds more of a chance to grow with fewer weeds as well as time before cold weather sets in.
Overseeing during the middle of summer gives you a larger chance of disease due to heat and lack of water. There is also the chance of weed growth, which may cause complications during germination. I don’t recommend overseeding in the middle of the summer.
If you choose to overseed in the spring you may encounter heavy rains and high temperatures. This is a breeding ground for weeds. Spring is also a time that many people choose to treat for crabgrass or broadleaf. Using herbicides within the first 4-6 weeks after germination is not recommended. I recommend that you do not seed during this time.
There is one exception to the rule of overseeding in the spring, and that is with Bermudagrass in southern parts of the United States. For Bermudagrass, it is recommended to overseed in the late spring or early summer. This is due to Bermudagrass and other warm-season grasses need warmer weather to germinate and fully develop.
For those who live in a place with good snow cover during the winter, you might choose to do dormant overseeding in the late fall or early winter. This can only be done if the soil temperature is low enough to avoid seed germination. Dormant overseeding will only work if you have good snow cover that will prevent wind and water erosion.
Before You Overseed
Begin by understanding what problems caused your lawn to need overseeding in the first place. Problems that you may be able to fix with overseeding include:
- Bad soil condition
- Poor drainage
- Soil compaction
- Not enough water
- Bad fertility
- Poor air circulation
- Not enough sunlight
- Overdose of thatch
- Planting of the wrong grass variety
- Neglect of lawn
Mainly you want to understand the problem before adding in new grass, to ensure the new grass will be able to grow healthy and strong.
How to Overseed
When overseeding your lawn there are a few steps to actually prepare your lawn to make it go as successfully as possible.
- Prep your lawn by mowing it at the lowest setting and bagging the clippings. This way the seed will come in contact with the soil after spreading. After you mow make sure to rake your lawn to remove any dead grass and loosen the soil.
- You will need to use a fertilizer spreader to actually spread the seed. Do this by filling it with your seed of choice. If you are not using a large spreader then you can also use a handheld spreader.
- Water daily for at least two weeks, always keeping the surface moist. Once your seed has grown into a full height, you can begin mowing as usual.
How Much Seed to Apply
The amount required for overseeding lawns is usually on the label as it is different with different seeds as well as different lawns.
If you decide to overseed each year, you will need less seed than if you choose to do it once every few years or for the first time.
- Generally plan to use 2-4 lbs per 1000 square feet. This is if you want your lawn thick, and prepare to need to maintain this more as well.
- If you have trouble spots or are servicing a large dirt area, you may need up to 4-8 lbs per 1000 square feet.
- Performing a complete renovation of your lawn? Be prepared to use 8-12 lbs per 1000 square feet.
- Make sure to always irrigate properly and have patience. It will take a while to seed a bright and vibrant green lawn.
- Try not to apply too much seed when overseeding. Thick lawns are created over time, and adding too much seed all at once may lead to overcrowding and thinning.
My Picks for the Best Grass Seed for Overseeding
Generally, warm-season grasses are not used for overseeding unless they are damaged or diseased. Bermudagrass is an exception. Overseed Bermudagrass in the fall – just use a cool-season variety.
Different cool-season bunch type grasses are generally the best to overseed.
Kentucky Bluegrass / Tall Fescue Blend
Many people choose to combine several types of seeds, and if you plan to do this in your lawn, I recommend a blend of Kentucky Bluegrass and Tall Fescue for overseeding. When combining these two, tall fescue should make up around 90% of the seed due to it not blending extremely well.
It is also possible to use Kentucky bluegrass or Tall fescue individually. When using Kentucky bluegrass you need to understand that this needs a bit more care than other types of grass. But it’s worth it. Your lawn will be beautiful and luxurious.
If you’re going to go with a pre-mixed blend, I recommend that you do yourself a favor and shop at a local nursery. They’ll have a blend of grass seed that is designed to thrive in your region – just make sure that what you’re buying has very few fillers and little weed seed.
I have a full comparison of Turf Type Tall Fescue and Kentucky Bluegrass if you’d like to learn more about how they differ.
Perennial Ryegrass is a popular species for the overseeding of warm-season grasses. This is due to its rapid germination in only 3-5 days, its ability to grow with annual bluegrass, nice color, and high density.
The negative aspects include it usually being sold at a higher price point, and that it competes in growth with bermudagrass. Perennial ryegrass is similar to Annual ryegrass, but perennial ryegrass contains a finer texture and better coloring. It also will return year after year.
One drawback is that most varieties of Perennial Rye won’t spread, so you’ll have to repair thin sections. When maintained properly, to me there’s no type of grass quite as beautiful or fun to walk barefoot in as Perennial Ryegrass.
Annual ryegrass is similar to perennial ryegrass, but tends to be yellow-green in color and is more susceptible to disease.
Annual ryegrass is an inexpensive option for overseeding home lawns and general-purpose turfs, but you’ll have to do it every year since it won’t winter over. Annual Ryegrass is usually used to prevent erosion, or for a fool-proof way to add curb appeal when you’re listing your home.
I don’t like to use it in my lawn, but there are some applications where it is a good choice.
If you have a shady section of your lawn which always struggles, then you should consider overseeding that section with Red Fescue, or a Red Fescue blend. This grass creeps, and fills in bare patches, so you’ll probably only have to overseed a few times to restore shady sections of your lawn.
Overseeding is Always a Good Option
Make sure you choose the right seed for your climate.
Water and fertilize adequately, and be sure to mow once your seed has grown high enough to do so.
Many homeowners search for the best grass seed for overseeding. But the truth is that what you do to prepare for overseeding, and after you spread the seed will usually play the biggest role in how your new grass seed performs.
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by Sarah The Lawn Chick
I’ve learned to love caring for my lawn naturally and enjoying it daily. On this blog I’ll share some of my best tips and tutorials to help you make your lawn the best on the block!
12 thoughts on “ What is the Best Grass Seed for Overseeding? ”
Thank you for the info
Please sign me up for future updates etc
You bet, Susan! I’ll be starting a weekly newsletter this summer and I’ll add you to that when I do.
Like your ideas!
If I will be topdressing with compost, should I do that before or after I spread the grass seed for overseeding? Thanks!
It can work either way, but I always spread the seed and starter fertilizer and then cover with a thin (1/4″) layer of the compost. It’s tempting to spread 1/2″ – 1″ of the compost, but you don’t want to bury the seed too deeply or you can get poor or very slow germination rates. A nice thin layer is sufficient and will improve your soil more than you think.
If you prefer to get the compost spread evenly first, spread your seed and work it into the compost with the back of a leaf rake so you get most of it buried (otherwise the birds will thank you).
If you can run a core aerator over your lawn before you tackle this project you’ll probably be glad you did – loosening the soil and allowing seed and compost to fall into those holes will deliver amazing results. You can read my guide on that right here in case you’re interested in giving it a try.
Thank you for your detailed and insightful response. I had the top 3 inches of soil in my lawn tested. I have two follow up questions about nitrogen and Ph:
1. The lawn test results stated that my soil has a “very high” amount of Nitrogen, (26ppm nitrate). So, I am hesitant to use a starter fertilizer. You wisely anticipated that I will put more than 1/4 inch of compost down; probably more like 1/2 inch. Since the seed will not be touching the nitrogen-rich soil, do I still need starter fertilizer? The seed I am using is Eco-Lawn from Wildflower Farms (mixed fescue).
2. My lawn test result also identified a “slightly too acidic” Ph, (5.68). The lab report said the correct Ph for grass is 6 to 7 and recommended adding 19 to 25 pounds of lime per thousand square feet. Would it make sense to add powdered lime to the yard, then place the compost, and finish with the grass seed on top? I could wait a few weeks to add the lime but I hate to do all that walking on the newly sprouted grass. I live near Seattle so acidic soil is typical due to the endless rain (other than summer).
Thanks again. I appreciate the amount of detail you provide in your website and the conversational, easy to read style.
A separate article about soil testing may be useful, if you do not already have one posted. I searched online and found lots of sources. The cost for a basic test from the site I used was less than $20. It was easy to mail in a sample in a zip lock bag. The test more than paid for itself because the report prevented me from buying fertilizer that I do not need. The test report also included detailed recommendations about which soil supplements to apply. If you Email me, I will be happy to share a copy of the test results.
It’s great that you did a soil test and were happy with the results. It’s something I recommend in a lot of the articles on this blog, and recently wrote an article on the subject. I always say it’s the best money I spend on my lawn every year – I do it in the spring before the grass wakes up for the season so I know exactly what my lawn needs (and doesn’t). Sometimes that simple pH tweak you’re talking about unlocks the full potential of your lawn … so many people keep pounding Nitrogen-rich fertilizer blindly, when their lawn already has that nutrient in abundance.
In answer to your questions:
1. I think you’ll do fine with compost and skipping the starter fertilizer, but if you still want to use one (but are worried about the high nitrogen), go with something lower in N but higher in phosphorus. Phosphorus tends to be non-mobile in soil so it can be difficult for seedlings to uptake what they need for strong root growth, which is why planting seed is one of the few times I go with a synthetic fertilizer in my yard. That quick-release phosphorus really helps the young grass plants establish what they need to thrive on their own without me. You could try the 3-18-18 liquid fertilizer from Simple Lawn Solutions (Amazon link) – might be a good match for your project.
2. Yes, that’s exactly what I’d do with the Lime. After you spread it if you find there are some heavy spots (that can happen with powdered lime sometimes) you can work it into the turf lightly with a leaf rake to get even distribution. You may find that an annual application is something your lawn really benefits from. You also may be interested in this article about over-applying lime, and some things you may need to do to correct that issue if your pH swings too far in the other direction.
I love this site. I live in upstate NY. I landscaped in the spring and the lawn came in nice. Over the last month, it started to turn brown. I decided to do some over seeding in early September so it will look good next spring. I will be using a bluegrass and tall fescue blend, per my lawn care guy. Which BRAND do you suggest I use for the best results? There are a lot of them out there.
Thanks in advance!
Thanks so much for the comment, glad you’ve enjoyed my site – hope you’ll be a regular reader!
I’m a big fan of Jonathan Green’s Black Beauty Ultra mix. It has the fescue and bluegrass blend you’re looking for with a little perennial rye mixed in to improve wear tolerance and ensure you get a nice thick result – as that dies out over time the bluegrass will fill in and replace it. I’ve had really good luck with it and know many others have as well.
Here’s a link to a video of a brand new lawn that was killed off and re-seeded with Jonathan Green’s Black Beauty Ultra, grown in the fall at 7 weeks after seeding so you have some idea of the type of grass you can expect.
You can sometimes find the seed locally, or you can buy it direct from the manufacturer here, or on Amazon.
Best of luck, Mike!
It is the last week of August I think today’s 25th or 26th and I’m going to reseed or overseed as my yard is 90% crabgrass and clover 10% Bermuda and I suppose I messed up if I was going over seed with Bermuda which has its drawbacks are North Alabama anyway I was going to try that blend you’re talking about Jonathan Green Ultra thing is I like the idea of the perennial ryegrass coming back time and again and I hope I’m not messing up if I am be good enough to tell me I’m going to try to aerate it next week cut it down to nothing and overseed it probably take me that long to get that Jonathan’s Ultra blend from Amazon anyway please let me know what you think thank you Kirk
Thanks for the comment. Northern Alabama is tricky because it’s right toward the southern edge of the transitional zone. For this reason I’d actually steer you away from Jonathan Green’s Ultra grass seed because it’s really geared more toward northern lawns with cool season grasses. It can perform well in some parts of the transitional zone, but because you’re on the southern side my guess is that that grass will struggle with the heat in your region.
I’d search for something that’s going to handle the tough conditions of the transitional zone or a blend of warm season grass that will perform better in your climate with less maintenance. Look at Barenburg/Wonderlawn and Outside Pride – both have some offerings that may perform well for you, just read carefully about where they are intended to grow to ensure they’re suitable for your unique local climate.