"Mixed up" is good, in grass seed
We've been shopping for grass seed and ourheads are
spinning. There are three or more kinds of seed in every package.
Is that right?! - L.K. -
Few lawns consist solely of one grass type or species. Sod
growers and seed companies generally mix types and species to help
the finished lawn hedge its bets.
Seed for shade and heavy traffic
In many mixes, for instance, there is bluegrass as well as
fescue since each has different strengths. Fescue can tolerate more
shade while the bluegrass takes heavier foot traffic.
Over time in a shady area fescue will survive and predominate.
Once you recognize fecue's thinner blades and lighter green, you
may realize the shady parts of your yard are all fescue. Meanwhile,
in a sunny place where feet trod regularly, bluegrass' wide blades
may be the only thing keeping that tough spot green. The bluegrass
could put up with what the fescue could not.
In addition to shade tolerant grasses, there are "improved"
(disease resistant) species and varieties bred to replace
disease-prone types. For instance, in good quality seed mixes,
mildew resistant varieties such as hard fescue 'Biljart' or
'Scaldis,' chewing fescue 'Atlanta', 'Victory' or 'Enjoy', and
bluegrass 'A-34', 'Bensun', Dormie', 'Nugget' and 'Sydspot' have
largely replaced mildew-prone cultivars 'Merion,' 'Baron,' 'Cheri,'
'Kenblue' and others.
Read the seed package label. Those that have resistance brag on
it and list grasses by name.
Extension service reports are a great source of information
regarding lawn varieties for a region. For instance:
Cornell University Extension's "Turfgrass Species: A description of grasses to
grow in the Capital district of New York State describes major
grass species suitable for most of the northeast U.S, and includes
Makes one wonder why "bad grass" is out there
How weakling grasses get into a lawn and persist on the market,
and how a lawn's overall vigor can compensate for them, is summed
up in the tale of 'Merion' bluegrass. 'Merion' was a rave in the
1950's and 60's for its color, density, resistance to
then-prevalent leaf spots, and tolerance for close-mowing. Over
time, however, it showed disease susceptibility. It would thin out
and let weeds get started.
So 'Merion' was largely abandoned by the best seed companies
during the past thirty years as newer types with more disease
resistance were developed.
Nonetheless, some seed producers still grow and sell 'Merion',
since it can live up to its old hype where the growing is good.
That is, if the soil's aerated regularly, it's watered during
drought and treated with organic slow release fertilizers that
improve the soil as well as nurture the grass plants.