The Best Grass Seed for Maine
As in any other state, homeowners in Maine want a green lawn to beautify their property. A well-kept lawn also invites plenty of relaxing outdoor moments with friends and family. However, with cool temperatures most of the year, growing grass in Maine requires diligence and the right mix of lawn seeds.
Many people might struggle to grow a home lawn in Maine because of the state’s weather variations, harsh winters, and the potential for the lawn soil surface to attract lawn pests. That's why it's crucial to have as much information as possible on growing a healthy lawn in Maine.
The key is to know the soil pH, select the best grass seed, and then plant the seeds at the right time. Read on to learn about the best turfgrasses for Maine and how to grow them.
Maine Grass Seed Growing Conditions
When growing grass in Maine, what seeds you should choose depends on your soil and the weather conditions in your area.
The Maine plant hardiness zones range from 3 to 6, with most of the state falling in the 3b and 4a zones. These zones have minimum average temperatures between -36 and -25℉. So if you want to grow a beautiful lawn, you should use the best grass seed for cool climates.
Maine is located in the northeastern corner of the country. As such, the Atlantic Ocean heavily influences its weather and soil pH. For example, because of the proximity to the ocean, a lot of the soil in Maine is acidic by nature, ranging from a pH of 4.5 to 5.0.
It’s best to check your soil before planting — if it’s too acidic for your grass seeds, you can add lime before planting to neutralize the soil.
The ocean air also keeps the soil moist but can bring hot and cold air masses to the state.
Maine's climate is characterized by mild summers and harsh, snowy winters, making growing a lawn challenging. Because of the weather, the plant hardiness zones in Maine favor cool-season grasses rather than warm-season grasses.
The Best Time to Plant Grass Seed in Maine
In Maine, the best time to plant grass seed is when the temperatures start to drop at the end of summer. If you want to uniformly distribute seed mixes and have a low-maintenance lawn, you should aim to plant in late summer to early fall, from August 15th to September 15th.
Planting a grass seed mix for a new lawn at this time is ideal because the soil is still warm from the summer, which supports a stronger germination period.
When you plant in early autumn, you end up with healthy fresh growth before winter sets in. You will also notice that it's easier to do weed control because there is less competition from weeds than in the spring.
However, because the weather might still be warm, you will have to irrigate frequently, especially in the sunny areas, to prevent your new lawn from drying out.
If you miss the late summer to early fall window, you can also plant your grass seed at the beginning of winter. Because the soil is firmer and the temperature is low, you can distribute the seeds but they will remain dormant until early spring. This method is known as frost seeding. Frost seeding carries additional risks but can be quite successful under the right conditions. The problem with seeding in winter is that the harsh weather can damage your seeds or cause them to rot. Also, the wind can blow them around, creating a patchy lawn.
Another planting window is in early spring when you have warm soil and better temperatures. When planting grass seeds in the spring, you will have slower growth, meaning that the grass will grow at a slower pace than it would have if the seeds had germinated during the fall.
You should avoid summer seeding because the heat can dry out the seeds and prevent germination.
Best Types of Grass Seed for Maine
Kentucky bluegrass is an excellent cool-season grass for Maine lawns. It forms a thick carpet of green that can withstand the full sun and the colder temperatures of the winter.
It can handle lots of foot traffic, is fairly drought tolerant, and repairs itself after damage, making it the perfect grass for this northern state. Its only downside is that it requires more effort to maintain than other popular grass seed types.
With a fine texture and tolerance of drought, acidity, and infertile soils, fine fescues are a great seed choice for Maine. They can withstand the full sun and the shade.
There are different types: red fescue, fine leaf fescue, chewings fescue, and hard fescue. Depending on the type of fescues in your blend, you can consider mixing them with a different kind of grass for better coverage.
Tall fescue is characterized by excellent germination and low maintenance requirements. This seed can be used as a stand-alone seed or mixed with other grasses for a perfect lawn.
It grows best in warm and dry soils and is heat and drought resistant, so this one is a good option for southwestern Maine. The downsides of this seed are that it can be affected by a very cold winter which can damage the grass if snowfall is insufficient.
With a beautiful dark-green color and a fine to medium texture, perennial ryegrass is an attractive and easy-to-grow grass. It can withstand heavy foot traffic and germinates in as little as 7-10 days.
This type of grass is best used in seed blends with Kentucky bluegrass or on its own. Perennial ryegrass germinates quickly and looks great on home lawns and golf courses.
You should mow perennial ryegrasses frequently with a sharp blade to prevent overgrowth and establish a solid turf. You should also do regular maintenance because this type of grass tends to thin out during cold winters.
Don't fret if you're looking to grow a healthy lawn in Maine but get discouraged because of the weather. It's possible to grow a home lawn in even the coldest parts of Maine.
With information on plant hardiness zones, tips on preparing your soil, and a great selection of seed mixes, you are ready to create the lawn of your dreams.
Look to Nature's Seed for some of the highest quality grass seeds and seed mixes tailored to your goals and lawn care projects. Visit our online store to browse our selection and start planting a healthy and lush lawn in Maine!