Ohio Grass Seed
With more than 5.2 million housing units in Ohio, and counting, plenty of property owners take to their lawns every year, trying to beautify their property and help it thrive all season long. But Ohio weather is harsh, and the soil is not the healthiest. That's why maintaining an existing lawn or planting a new lawn can call for a lot of maintenance, involvement, and the right implements like grass seeds, fertilizers, and more.
In fact, besides ensuring your soil is as healthy as it can be, choosing the right grass seed and blend for your region is critical. That's why we've compiled a list of the best grass seed in Ohio to help you plant and achieve the lawn of your dreams.
Ohio Soil Characteristics
As a large state, Ohio experiences a variety of climates and soil types. The state has 12 distinct soil regions, but the most popular is the Miamian soil.
This productive and dark gray soil is spread across 750,000 acres and is primarily used for crops because of its cold tolerance. However, it can also be used as a mixture to maintain a high-quality lawn. Other Ohio soil regions vary in texture, form density, cold tolerance, drought tolerance, and more.
Because of historical mining, agricultural practices, and the cold winters, soil health will be pretty low. Residents should look for high-quality fertilizer and excellent seed blends to restore their soil and make it productive enough for a beautiful lawn.
When to Plant Grass Seed in Ohio?
Beginners dabbling in lawn care might think that you can plant grass seed at any time of the year and expect it to germinate successfully. That's far from the truth. Each state and region has an ideal planting time, which you should use to your advantage if you want a high-quality, fine-textured lawn.
To better understand when the best planting times are, you should rely on the plant hardiness zone maps that the USDA publishes. Specifically, Ohio has colder weather with zones 5b, 6a, and 6b. These zones mean that the range of soil temperature is between -15 to 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Because of these temperatures, cool weather grasses are more appropriate to grow in Ohio rather than warm weather grasses.
You should plant the appropriate cool weather grasses in late summer, early fall, or spring when there is a lack of sunlight that might damage them.
- For Northern Ohio, aim to plant grass seed between August 15th and September 15th for rapid seed germination
- For Central Ohio, plant new grass between early September and mid-October
- For Southern Ohio, try to plant new lawns in September, but if the weather holds, you can plant until the end of October
If you have already missed these timeframes, don't worry! You can still plant good-quality grass. Wait until the last frost passes, usually in mid-March to mid-April, and distribute your grass seeds over a prepared seedbed. While spring is still a good time to plant grass seed, don’t leave it until the last minute in summer. The blazing heat in the Ohio summer could ruin your freshly planted grass seeds and your effort will go to waste.
Best Grass Seed Types for Ohio
Now that you know more about the soil profile and the best times to plant an Ohio lawn, let's look at what grass seed to plant.
To have a thriving grass lawn, you should aim to choose a cold- and drought-tolerant seed variety that grows well in the cold soil temperatures of Ohio. These types of grass seed are more likely to stay pest and disease-free, yielding a nice lawn all the way through to autumn.
Kentucky Bluegrass, otherwise known as KBG grass seed, is the best for cool-season Ohio. New Bluegrass plants take around 10 to 21 days to germinate and at least six months to thicken into fine texture grass. However, this variety features a naturally excellent grassroots system, so it will last you for years to come.
This doesn’t mean that you won’t need to maintain it. KBG is high-maintenance grass precisely because its deep roots require thorough watering and fertilizing. Regular maintenance will help it gain better density and remain green through the season.
Fine fescues are a more low-maintenance grass seed for Ohio and its varieties are perfect for beginners planting lawns. It has a coarser texture than Kentucky Bluegrass, but the germination period is quicker, usually within five to seven days. Fine fescues grow best in well-draining soil and should ideally be planted in early fall.
Other cool-season grasses, such as Perennial Ryegrass, are fine-textured and are characterized by excellent germination and high density. This is a bunch-type grass that forms thick canopies.
Perennial Ryegrass is cold and disease-resistant and requires well-drained soil and frequent irrigation to maintain its quality. This type of grass also requires more frequent mowing, with an ideal height of 2 to 2.5 inches.
Similar to Fine Fescue, Tall Fescue grass seeds are also low maintenance with a coarser texture. This type of grass is excellent because of its tolerance to low soil moisture and low fertility soil. It's also quite resistant to pests and diseases.
Tall Fescue germinates quickly, has excellent wear tolerance (i.e. people can step on it), but you need to be careful about the temperature. While you can't control the weather, you may notice that younger tall fescuses won't tolerate very hot summers or cold winter temperatures. This changes as they mature and become more resistant and hearty.
Growing as thick grass with an extremely fine texture, bent grass is perfect for tender yard areas, gardens, and even areas of golf courses that see little foot traffic.
Its lush, meadow-like appearance does call for incredibly high maintenance and requires a lot of time to keep green and weed-free. If you’re opting for bent grass, make sure you have time to dedicate to your lawn's upkeep.
Combining Different Grass Seed: Which Variations Are Best?
Keeping lawns green in Ohio can be a piece of cake with the right seeds and a mixture of shaded areas and sun. When planting new seeds, you should consider grass blends or mixes rather than a single seed. That's because when two or more types of grass seed are combined, they strengthen each other and have better chances of survival.
Here are the best seed mixes that can grow in shady areas or full sun.
- Kentucky Bluegrass and Perennial Ryegrass
- Kentucky Bluegrass and Fine Fescue
- Turf-Type Tall Fescue and Kentucky Bluegrass
- Kentucky Bluegrass, Perennial Ryegrass, and Fine Fescue
If you're looking to grow the best lawn in Ohio, you should know as much as possible, including soils and seed types. With colder seasons and more darker-color ground, Ohio homeowners should pick cool-season seed types that can grow both in the shade and the full sun. These are the Kentucky Bluegrass, Perennial Ryegrass, Tall and Fine Fescues, and Bent Grass. Ideally, they should be planted in the fall or spring, when there's more shade than sun.
At Nature's Seed, you can find everything you need to grow the perfect Ohio lawn. Choose between different mixes and regions and tailor them to your projects — Nature's Seed has it all. Visit our online store and get started on seeding the perfect lawn.