Minnesota Grass Seed
Located in the far north of the country, Minnesota is in a transition zone where only cool-season grasses grow. These types of grasses are well-suited to the state’s cold winters and mild summers.
If you have a garden and want to grow a new lawn or bring established grass back to life, you’ll want to learn about Minnesota grass species, grass seeds, and more.
Because of the low temperatures most of the year, you can grow different types of cool-season grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, and fine fescues. You can either plant a single type of grass seed or plant seed mixtures to encourage rapid establishment and healthy growth.
If you are ready to start your lawn, use this Minnesota grass seed guide to help you decide the best type of seed for you.
Soil Conditions for High-Quality Grass Seed in Minnesota
Minnesota has a variety of soils: there are a total of seven types. These soils are fertile and can support successful lawns with several different grass types.
Minnesota soils have orders and suborders, which indicate how wet the soil is and how well plants, grass, and agricultural products grow.
Knowing which type of soil you have is the first step to choosing the right grass seed for your lawn.
Next, you should determine your plant hardiness zone. These zones show you the average annual temperature of the soil. They are essential to understanding whether you should plant warm-season or cold-season grasses.
Minnesota has five plant hardiness zones. They have average minimum temperatures ranging from -40°F to -15°F. This means that your seed options for Minnesota include only cool-season grasses, and you should not try seeding lawns with warm-season grasses.
When to Grow Grass Seeds in Minnesota
Minnesota is characterized by cold weather in the winter and mild temperatures during the summer. This means that the best time to plant cool-season grasses is in the late summer and early fall.
The most opportune month for planting is between mid-August to mid-September. Planting during this window allows the grass to germinate quicker, and because there is some rain, the grass stays moist.
Another benefit is, there’s no chance of extreme heat, which could otherwise damage the seeds. Also, the grass has enough time to grow and spread around the lawn, just in time for mowing it during spring.
During the planting season, you should look at the weather forecast and plan to plant your grass seeds one day before a rain shower. The water from the rain will help the seeds germinate and take root. But if a thunderstorm is coming, you should wait until afterward and delay seeding any lawns.
Do some light raking of your soil before seeding—this allows for better drainage.
Once your plant the seeds, germination should occur in about two weeks. During this time, create a frequent watering program, applying light irrigation three to four times per day. Minimize irrigation during rainfall.
If your grass doesn't germinate after two weeks, you should add more seed and increase the watering frequency.
After the seed has germinated, reduce the watering frequency. You’ll want to do this because roots are growing into the soil, and you don't want to make them too moist.
Best Grass Seed for Minnesota
The best grasses for Minnesota are cool-season grasses that grow well in the cold but can withstand the full sun.
You can plant certain cool-season grasses for both shady and sunny lawns. Some of the best grasses include bluegrass and bluegrass mixtures, such as Kentucky bluegrass, as well as perennial ryegrass and fine-leaf fescue.
You can buy these seeds from any local distributor—just be sure you’re choosing high-quality seeds with drought tolerance and a set growing season for the winter. Let's take a look at the specifics of the best types of grass seed to grow in Minnesota soil.
As one of the most popular cool-season grasses, Kentucky bluegrass is also one of the best grass seeds for Minnesota. It requires extensive maintenance but looks absolutely beautiful in residential lawns and parks.
The shade-tolerant Kentucky bluegrasses thrive in cool and moist weather but slow their growth down during hot and dry weather. You should water your lawn frequently when there is a lack of rainfall and mow regularly to maintain the bright emerald color.
Kentucky Bluegrass has an attractive color, but it’s also extremely resistant to wear and foot traffic, so it’s a great type of grass for a frequently used lawn.
The fine fescue grass species has fantastic shade tolerance and can grow in extreme conditions, even in dry and infertile soil. For fine fescue to grow well, plant where there is a fair amount of shade and well-drained soils. It usually refuses to grow in wet, poorly drained soils.
While Kentucky bluegrass needs extensive maintenance, fine fescue is easy to maintain and needs less water and fertilizer.
If you overdo it on the watering and fertilizer, the leaves will become thinner and may be more susceptible to disease. As long as you keep a balanced watering program, you can grow different types of fine fescue, including red fescue, chewings fescue, hard fescue, and more.
Perennial ryegrass has the quickest germination of all others on the list. It requires medium levels of fertilizer and well-drained soil. You can plant the common or improved perennial ryegrass—either way, you'll end up with a lush, green lawn.
Perennial ryegrass has a coarse appearance, so it’s not as soft-looking as other types of grass. But it can withstand harsher winter temperatures. It's also an easy-to-mow grass with great coverage and tolerance for wear.
If you want a grass type that is well adapted to shaded and moist conditions, the rough bluegrass is the one for you. It germinates quickly, but it's more sensitive to changing weather and foot traffic.
This grass is best planted in shaded areas that do not receive a lot of wear and tear. It has a vibrant color, and you shouldn't mix it with any other seeds because this can create a noticeable color contrast with other grasses on your lawn.
Turf-Type Tall Fescue
Tall fescue has excellent wear tolerance and is also highly drought tolerant. It is not susceptible to most diseases and insect problems and can even grow in dry, sandy soil.
You can plant it in the sun or the shade, and it will grow equally well. Tall fescue withstands winter temperatures and is easy to maintain, making it an excellent choice for your Minnesota lawn.
Having a healthy lawn in Minnesota is a joy. You can relax and spend time outside on your beautiful lawn grasses during the summer and appreciate the green color during the winter.
Because of the low temperatures of the soil, Minnesota is best suited for cool-season grasses such as fine fescues, tall fescues, Kentucky bluegrasses, and rough bluegrass. Most of these types of grasses can grow in the full sun or shade and should be planted in late summer or early fall.
If you've decided to start a new lawn or bring your established lawn back to life, you should consider finding the best quality grass seed for the state. You can find some of the best fine fescues, bluegrasses, and other types of Minnesota seeds at Nature's Seed.
We provide grass seeds and mixtures for all your projects and goals. To get started, browse our selections for your turf today!