The Best Grass Seed for Oklahoma
Having a beautiful lawn with lush green grass gives homeowners a place to unwind after a long day and a spot for pets and children to play. Studies show that relaxing in nature, even on something as simple as green grass, decreases our stress levels, improves our mood, and generally makes us happier.
But growing a healthy lawn can be challenging, especially when you're starting from scratch or trying to nurture an unhealthy lawn back to life. This is especially true in centrally located states like Oklahoma, which has a unique geographical position that allows both cool and warm-season grasses to grow.
The low rainfall and variation in temperature can make it tricky to select the best grass seed. Ultimately, to grow a green, healthy lawn in Oklahoma, you need information about the type of soil you're working with and what grass seed is best for your location.
In this article, we'll cover everything you need to know about planting the right grass seed in Oklahoma.
Oklahoma Soil Conditions for Lawn Grasses
There are over 2,500 different soil types in Oklahoma. Located in the middle of the country, The Sooner State shares soil characteristics with several other states. As a result, Oklahoma residents grow different types of turfgrass species that are popular in the country's East, West, North, and South.
The main soil in Oklahoma is called port silt loam soil, and it’s primarily found in the Central Great Plains, the geographical region that covers the western and central parts of the state.
Port soils have good drainage and they are moderately permeable, so they’re able to support healthy lawns with a little bit of elbow grease from you. They are reddish brown on the surface, with a reddish-brown silt subsurface layer.
The warm summers and cool winters also impact the soil conditions and what type of grass you can grow in Oklahoma.
In general, summers in Oklahoma are sweltering with low rainfall, so cool-season grasses often struggle without irrigation systems. On the other hand, the cold winter temperatures will send warm-season grasses into dormancy.
According to Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma has a few different plant hardiness zones with average minimum temperatures ranging from -10 to 10°F. These zones determine whether you can plant warm-season turfgrasses or cool-season turfgrass species.
The best way to determine which type of grass seed to plant is by looking at the hardiness zone of the specific Oklahoma city or town that you live in. Then, consider details like how much you plan on watering your lawn and usage.
Living in Oklahoma, you should select a lawn grass type that is adaptable to fluctuations in temperature and moisture conditions. You also need to consider the goal of your lawn—will the planting site experience a lot of foot traffic, or will it be purely decorative?
Observe how much shade your lawn gets and the quality of your soil. All these physical or environmental factors will help you determine the type of grass seed you can plant for your lawn.
When to Plant Grass Seed for Your Lawn in Oklahoma
The best time for grass plant development in any Oklahoma city or town depends on which plant hardiness zone you are in. Warm-season grasses are best planted when upper soil temperatures are between 68°F to 95°F. Cool-season seed germinates readily in temperatures between 68°F to 86°F.
For Oklahoma, this means that you should plant warm-season grasses between May 1st and July 1st.
Cool-season grasses thrive when planted in late September and October. Planting these grasses in November or December makes them prone to frost, so they won't germinate.
If you miss the September-October window for cool-season grasses, then you can plant grass seeds in March. However, it's better to aim for the fall plantings rather than the spring plantings because Oklahoma springs are more prone to heat and drought.
During the other times of the year, you should work on improving poor soil conditions. That means weed control, applying pre-emergent herbicides, and generally ensuring that when you plant grass seed, your soil will be healthy enough to support rapid germination.
Best Types of Grass Seed for Oklahoma
Oklahoma is a state where both warm and cool-season grasses thrive. What’s best for your lawn depends on your specific location. But some types of grass seed can be more successful in this region and are more commonly planted within the state. So let's look at the best turfgrass seed for Oklahoma.
Tall fescue is a resilient seed with fantastic features that allow it to tolerate shade and retain color during winter. You should absolutely consider this type of grass if you live in the transition zone of Oklahoma, which has well-drained clay soils. Tall fescue has the potential to be the most successful cool-season grass grown in Oklahoma thanks to its heat tolerance.
Keep in mind supplemental water is crucial for the long-term success of tall fescue. Irrigation allows the tall fescue to remain green year-round, avoiding summer dormancy.
In many states, property owners plant perennial or annual ryegrass on its own. But, in Oklahoma, it is best to use perennial ryegrass for overseeding dormant warm-season turfgrasses or for temporary soil stabilization in fall and spring.
The most common warm-season grass that you can mix with perennial ryegrass is established bermudagrass, especially if you want a green turf cover during the winter months, from October to April.
Kentucky bluegrass or KBG is one of the most popular seeds for a green lawn in all cool-season locations. It has fine grass blades and a luxurious dark-green color. You can use KBG's underground stems or rhizomes to help root-formation and improve soil health.
Kentucky bluegrass has moderate drought tolerance but excellent cold and wear tolerance. It's best grown during spring and fall but goes dormant in unusually dry or hot locations.
In addition to cool-season turfgrasses, other commonly seeded grasses are warm-season turfgrass species like bermudagrass. This is an aggressive seed that quickly spreads through above and below-ground stems.
It grows best in full sun areas and is extremely heat tolerant and drought tolerant when planted in the right hardiness zone. With its high turf density and fine blades, bermudagrass is a favorite choice for lawns, parks, golf courses, and more.
Zoysia grass is high-quality, high-maintenance turf grass. It has a fine to medium texture and grows well in the summer and in areas with light shade. Zoysia grass has a slow establishment rate and requires more frequent watering to prevent wilting, but it has lower annual fertilizer requirements.
Best suited to the unirrigated lawns of western Oklahoma, buffalograss is a native prairie grass. It’s prized for its fine texture and grayish-green color. It thrives in full-sun areas and performs well in drought, heat, and cold conditions.
Buffalograss is fine-textured and grows best in heavy-textured soils that receive 12 to 25 inches of annual rainfall. This type of grass seed produces numerous seed heads that can distract from the general appearance of the turf. Regular mowing will keep these seed heads in check.
With a unique geographical position that allows the growth of both cool and warm-season turfgrasses, Oklahoma homeowners should ensure they choose the right seed for their lawns.
Depending on your location within the state, you can grow cool-season grasses like Kentucky bluegrass and tall fescue from late September to October or during March. If you are in warmer areas of the state, you can plant zoysia grass, bermudagrass, and buffalograss from May to July.
Whichever type of grass seed you choose for your Oklahoma lawn, the quality of the seed matters. You can always find high-quality seeds from Nature's Seed. We provide fantastic grass seed tailored to your goals, projects, and regions, so you can choose the mix you need.
Visit our online store to start investing in the success of your lawn today!