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It's possible to purchase grass mixes, which helps ensure your entire lawn will not die if disease strikes. Most diseases will only strike one type of grass, so the damage will probably be limited. It's also possible to mix a spring performing grass with a drought resistant summer grower. Whatever type of grass seed mixture you choose, make sure it contains little "crop" or "weed" seeds. Bargain brands may germinate poorly and have unwanted additives. It's best to spend a few extra dollars and start with a quality grass seed.

Tip - Grass seed labels tell you what year the seed should be sold and used in and the percentage of weed seed contained in the mix. Only buy seed intended for the current calendar year. Outdated seed may be a bargain, but in the long run, they may be more expensive because you'll need to replace all those seeds that didn't sprout.

Cool Season grasses include:

Kentucky Bluegrass - One of the most popular because it requires moderate care to grow dense, dark, and medium textured grass. It spreads quickly from runners to form deep green sod with a fine texture. It grows best in areas with mild summers and ample water, and it produces a beautiful lawn in cold regions as well as the middle south. Kentucky Bluegrass does not grow in excessive heat and will stop its growth when the soil temperatures exceed 85 to 90 degrees F.

Fescue (Red Bladed or Fine Bladed) - These fescues are often combined with bluegrasses. Both tolerate shade and dry conditions. Fescues have a low nitrogen requirement for vigorous growth, which makes it great for choking out weeds. It complements the Kentucky Bluegrass when combined. Fescue rarely suffers from any disease ofinsect problems and red fescue can renovate a poor or worn lawn by overseeding in the spring. Use red fescue in the South with bermudagrasses during the winter months. This will help the southern lawns keep their vitality.

Tall Fescue - This is a drought tolerant grass and holds up well in high traffic areas. Consider using tall fescue around swing sets and playgrounds, where little feet will tromp the grass often. It grows well in the shade in both northern and southern lawns and is an excellent choice for lawns that border the North and South. This grass has a course texture.

Perennial Ryegrass - This grass is quick growing and tough. It mixes well and makes a fine textured lawn when mixed with Kentucky Bluegrass. Use this type of seed to get your lawn off to a quick start. It germinates and establishes itself quickly. You can even overseed an old worn lawn with perennial ryegrass to give it a burst of green color. When you plant this grass with Kentucky bluegrass, it will eventually be overtaken by the bluegrass, but it can dominate if you sow too much of it. If you do mix rye with the bluegrass, keep the quantity of rye around 20 percent. This grass is insect and disease resistant and produces very little thatch.

Bentgrass - This type is a high maintenance grass. It needs frequent watering and fertilizing. It's extremely popular for a golf course. This extremely fine grass is attractive, but cannot be used in high traffic areas. In order to maintain this grass, you must water and mow it almost constantly. It cannot tolerate drought or traffic and is vulnerable to pest and disease problems. If you decide to use Bentgrass and mix it with another type of grass, do not mix too little of the Bentgrass. The other type grasses planted in your lawn will overtake it quickly.


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