Massachusetts Grass Seed
With long winters and humid summers, maintaining a green lawn in Massachusetts can be challenging. While factors such as soil moisture and pH impact the overall aesthetic and health of your lawn, at the end of the day, nothing matters more than the type of grass you’re using.
When you want to grow new grass, you’ll need to choose the best grass seed for your area. It’s also important to understand your local environmental conditions and what steps you can take to help your grass thrive.
This guide will tell you everything you need to know about the different grass types you can grow in Massachusetts and how to keep your lawn in excellent condition all year long.
What Is Massachusetts’s Climate?
Massachusetts has a continental climate. In the summer, typical temperatures range from the low to high 80s. Wintertime temperatures usually hover just above freezing but can go as low as 0 °F.
However, to figure out the types of grass seeds that will thrive where you live, look at the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone map for the state. Knowing which zone you live in will help you choose seeds that can withstand the general climate in that area.
Looking at the map, Massachusetts is in zones 5a to 7b.
Due to its cold climate, cool-season grasses are a good choice for Massachusetts, although there is a particular warm-season grass that can grow in the state’s warmer areas.
Best Grass Seed Types for Massachusetts Lawns
Cool-season lawn grasses are an excellent choice for New England lawns because they can withstand the region’s cold temperatures.
The majority of cold-season grasses are broad with netted veins in their leaves that resemble a web. Most grow in thick clumps, which creates a lush appearance. They also grow faster than warm-season grasses.
The durability of cool-season grass varies. Some can handle heavy foot traffic and remain green in full sun, while others are shade tolerant and don’t require heavy watering.
Also, there are warm-season grasses that are hardy enough to withstand heat and drought as well as frigid temperatures, so you can consider planting them as well.
Below are the most popular grass seeds to plant in Massachusetts.
Fine-leaf fescue is a low-maintenance, easy-to-grow option for homeowners seeking an eco-friendly lawn. It thrives in dry, shady conditions and doesn’t require a lot of water.
The best fine-leaf fescue seeds to plant on your lawn are a blend of chewing, red, and hard fescues.
What happens with blends is they complement each other and compensate for each other's weaknesses. Grass seed blends can better cope with any demanding conditions in your property, such as shade, high pH, or poor drainage.
This particular blend is resistant to cooler temperatures and includes the ultra-resilient hard fescue variety, which thrives in unusually harsh locations.
Kentucky bluegrass is one of the most popular varieties for lawns. The blades are light-to-dark green and grow well in all seasons, no matter what the weather brings. This grass requires regular watering and isn’t particularly shade tolerant.
You can fertilize Kentucky bluegrass every six to eight weeks to promote health year-round. If the temperature reaches above 75°F in the summer, your grass will start dying back until temperatures cool down again. To help it with the warmer weather, make sure you fertilize and water your lawn as needed.
Perennial ryegrass is known for its year-round tolerance to mild conditions. Blended with other grasses, it can tolerate tough winters and heavy foot traffic.
But perennial ryegrass has one weakness: sweltering summers don't agree with it. Mixing the seeds with the right proportions of slow-growing plants like Kentucky bluegrass compensates for its shortcomings.
Tall fescue is a common species of grass that requires more care than its fine-leaf counterpart. But its elegant look, with small green blades bunched together in dense patches, makes tall fescue the more favored one for both residential and commercial properties.
Its roots penetrate deep into the soil, allowing for better drought resistance when compared to other varieties. However, if you fertilize the lawn frequently, be sure to increase your watering schedule.
This type of grass resists most diseases. It’s not as susceptible as others, such as Kentucky bluegrass, which is vulnerable to certain pests after excessive rainfalls or snowmelt events.
Zoysia grass is the only warm-season grass that grows as a lawn grass in Massachusetts successfully. The Zoysia grass blades have stiff hairs, which distinguish them from other varieties.
Zoysia is one of the best grass seed types to plant in areas of the state that experience relatively mild winters and humid summers, such as New Bedford and Fall River.
Once you plant your new grass, you’ll want to create a maintenance plan so you can prevent problems like lawn disease and brown spots and enjoy your yard in all four seasons.
Best Time to Plant Grass Seeds in Massachusetts
When planting grass seed in Massachusetts, you'll want to put the seeds in the ground between August 15 and September 15. This is the time of the year when the soil is warm enough for your seeds to germinate. At the same time, the autumn rains and warm temperatures allow for germination to take place effectively.
On the other hand, the best time for overseeding your lawn varies depending on where you live. In general, early fall is the go-to season for Massachusetts residents.
If you live in an area conducive to cool season grasses, planting the grass seeds during the late summer and autumn is ideal. There will be less competition from weed seeds germinating at that point.
How to Take Proper Care of Cool Season Grasses
Planting and growing cool season grass is a process. You must put in work to maintain its quality all year long.
In fact, you need to establish a sustainable system for taking care of your grass in each season. Knowing when and how to mow, fertilize, and seed your lawn will help you minimize the risk of stunting the growth of your grass.
To help you make sense of this schedule and ensure the proper growth of your grasses, below is a breakdown of the most important tasks you must do for each season.
Summer (June - August)
Ensure that your grass receives approximately one inch worth of water a week to compensate for the heat.
Before planting the grass seeds, make sure that your soil has the right organic matter, nutrients, and pH to help germinate the seeds. To do this, collect a soil sample for testing. Then, based on the results, use the necessary soil additives by August before reseeding in the fall.
This is also the time when cool-season grass starts to grow. To continue its growth, keep mowing the lawn at lower levels. Consider adding another round of fertilizer about one month before winter starts.
Fall (September - November)
During this season, water your plants approximately one inch every two weeks. Continue mowing until the grass stops growing or when it starts snowing.
To help your grass grow evenly during the winters, add soil amendments like lime to your entire lawn.
Once your lawn is covered with snow and becomes dormant, clean your mowing tools and store them so they are ready for spring.
Winter (December - February)
Excessive de-icing salt can damage grasses, so make sure not to let the salt run off from the driveway and sidewalk to your lawn.
Once the ice has thawed, test the soil in your yard to learn if you have problem spots. If so, make soil corrections before springtime. Otherwise, you may find weeds growing in these areas.
Spring (March - May)
Start mowing again in early spring, between late March to early April, when the snow has completely thawed out. Ensure the grass is at least three inches high before mowing it down to two and a half inches.
Then, remove clipping to avoid potential fungal diseases. Also, apply a pre-emergent to control weed growth when soil temperatures hit 55°F.
This time of the year is the best for reseeding your lawn, especially on its bare spots. To do this, use a rake, shovel, tiller, and other tools to break soil clumps and dig furrows. This ensures that the seeds will grow on the bald spots to make your lawn full again.
When you mow later during this season, set the height a bit higher, to around four inches, to help provide shade to the roots of the grass and store much-needed moisture during the summertime.
Tailoring your lawn care steps to each season will help you get the most out of your grass.
Find the Best Grass Seed to Plant in Massachusetts with Nature's Seed
Knowing the characteristics of the different grass types enables you to choose the best seeds for your needs. For example, if you want low-maintenance grass, plant fine fescue seeds on your lawn. On the other hand, Kentucky bluegrass is perfect if you want a thick green lawn for your property year-long.
If you can't plant a specific seed variety in your yard, consider planting blends containing more than one seed type. Using blends allows you to combine the best qualities of seed varieties so you can keep your lawn in tip-top shape regardless of the weather conditions.If you're still on the fence regarding the type of grass seed you want to grow in your Massachusetts property, contact Nature's Seed, and we'll help you choose the best grass types for your lawn.