Georgia Grass Seed
Growing turfgrass in Georgia’s generally warm climate is not particularly challenging, but it’s best to know which grass seed types will thrive for a beautiful, green lawn.
Each grass seed has characteristics that could change the complexity of your garden or yard. Some respond well to Georgia’s climate but only if you plant them at the right time of the year.
The fact is that planting the wrong grass seed type at the wrong time could wreak havoc on your goals of maintaining a full and vibrant lawn on your property.
This post will help you navigate through the process of choosing the best grass seeds to grow on Georgia lawns. We’ll also tackle maintenance and care tips on the types of grasses to be used on your property.
Georgia’s Climate and Planting Zone
Georgia has a humid subtropical climate. Its short winters aren't very cold, but its long summers are extremely hot.
The temperature of the state during the summer ranges from 72°F (22.2°C) in the northeast area to 100°F (37.8°C) in the south.
The temperature during winter varies from region to region. For example, it might surprise you to learn that some of the northern parts of Georgia experience close-to-freezing temperatures for approximately 110 days. Meanwhile, areas along the coast only dip down to the freezing mark for around 10 days. Of course, the south stays temperate and balm during the wintertime.
Understanding the varieties of seasonal temperatures in George will help you choose the right grass seeds for your area. In this case, the state's plant hardiness zone map provides you with more context regarding a zone's extreme minimum temperature.
According to the USDA, Georgia has cities in zones 6a (minimum temperature of -10 to -5°F) and 9a (minimum temperature of 20 to 25°F).
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Cities in the north, like Dalton and Marietta, are in zones 6a to 7a. This means you need to plant grass seeds that can withstand colder temperatures. On the other hand, southern cities, like Albany and Valdosta, are located in zones 8a to 9a and will require homeowners to plant drought-resistant seeds in their yards instead.
Due to the wide range of zones in different areas of the state, it’s possible to grow cool- and warm-season grasses in Georgia.
Cool-season grass types thrive in areas with temperatures ranging between 60-75°F. They provide a lush green appearance on your lawn even if it gets chilly, and most of these varieties are hearty enough to maintain their color even during moderate, early summer temperatures.
When planting cool-season grass seeds, make sure that there are approximately 45 days left before the first fall frost. The soil temperatures during this season (reaching 50-60°F) allow the seeds to germinate properly.
To keep these grasses at their peak conditions, you need to maintain them at a mowing height of three to four inches. Also, treat your grass with spot treatments if you see weeds growing on your turf. Finally, make it a point to fertilize cool-season grasses six weeks before the first frost.
Here are a few cool-season grasses that fit the bill, if you live in a cooler part of Georgia:
Kentucky bluegrass is a boat-shaped leaf with a dark green color. It can tolerate heavy use and traffic as has strong resistance to summer dormancy.
Unlike other cool-season grasses, this grass type establishes easily but germinates slowly. However, it experiences a growth spurt during the summer.
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If you're looking for a grass that adapts well to any condition and grows in either partial shade or full sun, you can't go wrong with Kentucky bluegrass. However, it can be prone to leaf spots and diseases. In this case, opt for blends mixed with more disease-resistant seeds.
People who live in coastal areas and experience moderate temperatures year-long typically grow perennial ryegrass. It germinates quickly to help you achieve a beautiful pale grass color for your lawn. The grass also has the best tolerance for wear and tear and high traffic among cool-season grasses.
Unlike other grasses, perennial ryegrass is a bunching grass that grows in clumps and features vertical shoots called tillers.
Tall fescue has wide leaf blades that have the same size as their veins. Home lawns and even recreation areas like golf courses and athletic fields grow this grass type.
Compared to other types of fescue, tall fescue grows much faster — it gains two inches a week during the fall season — and has a much darker color and denser growth. Tall fescue works best on its own, rather than in a blend.
These types of lawn grasses thrive in temperatures over 75°F. During winter, most warm-season grasses turn brown but that doesn't mean they're dead. Warm-season lawns will get back their green color in the spring. The summertime can cause them to undergo summer dormancy. If this happens, revive them through consistent watering.
The only other time warm-season grasses need water is if their blades curl up and become narrow. While they can survive without water, they’ll still turn brown.
Plant warm-season lawns in late spring when the soil temperature is around 65°F. It's ideal to use a lawn starter fertilizer on them to help aid their germination and growth. You can also fertilize them once they've turned winter after wintertime.
Below are the different warm-season grasses you can plant on your lawns:
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Bermudagrass has short flat leaves and can grow as high as 16 inches tall. They grow into a dense turf for your lawn because its stems, also known as stolons, grow around the surface.
For this reason, bermudagrass grows the fastest of the grass types. On the downside, containing bermuda grass can be a challenge.
Otherwise, bermudagrass is not only the toughest among warm-season grasses but can also recover faster than the rest. It is resistant to diseases and tolerant to share, making it the perfect grass to grow on Georgia lawns.
Carpet grass is another stoloniferous warm-season grass that has two-edge runners that grow wide light green leaves and rounded tips. To produce a dense turf with these grass seeds, you must fertilize it properly.
This grass type has fair shade tolerance but is not cold-, wear-, or drought-tolerant. Also, its fast growth requires frequent mowing to keep it at its optimum height, which is at 3/4 to 2 inches.
Centipedegrass is a turf-forming perennial grass that's low-maintenance and heat-tolerant. It can grow in sandy soils that supply little to no nutrients.
Compared to other warm-season grasses, centipedegrass has a slow growth rate. It also doesn't have high foot traffic tolerance and has a slow recovery when damaged.
On the upside, this grass type prevents weed from growing due to the dense turf it forms. This makes it a good blend for grass seeds prone to weeds.
As a low-maintenance warm-season grass, Zoysia grass has a medium-fine texture and dark green color. It is fairly resistant to diseases and insects. And because it spreads aggressively on your lawn, this grass type won't leave any space for weeds to grow.
Zoysia grass has a difficult time staying green all year long. It may even stay brown during spring, which isn’t exactly ideal so early in the year. Also, its poor tolerance to shade and heavy traffic may be a deal-breaker for some.
Find Georgia Grass Seed to Grow In Your Yard
Finding the best grass seed to grow in Georgia should be much easier now that you have all the information you need to make a decision.
Among cool-season grasses, Kentucky bluegrass gives you more than just that deep green appearance. Its high tolerance and adaptability help you grow a sustainable lawn even during the cold months.
Zones conducive for warm-season grass will benefit from using Bermuda grass on their properties. It possesses all the characteristics that one needs for beautiful-looking turfgrass with little to no maintenance.
If you're still not sold as to which grass seed to use, start with Nature’s Seed’s Seed Selector page. Narrow down your choices to the best ones for your location and unique property characteristics.