Guide to Common Grass Types in Pittsburgh, PA

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In and around Pittsburgh, PA, grass seed is planted between mid-August to early-October. When you do this in the late summer or in the early fall, the soil is warm, the temperatures are cool, and you have the autumn rain. This combination is a wonderful combination to create a good environment to start seed germination.

When you plant grass seed in the late summer and early fall, it will give you a denser, thicker lawn. If your lawn is seeded by the week of Labor Day, then it will produce a thicker turf by spring because it has filled in by winter.

Soil preparation

When you plant grass, it prefers a soil which is fairly neutral. If you have a pH which is below 6.0, then spreading agricultural limestone during the fall or late winter will help. The ground needs to be tilled well after applying the limestone. If you use a soil testing kit, it will help you determine how much lime you will need to use. When you plant your grass seed no later than October, the grass will have two cool growing before the heat of the summer.

There are quite a few choices of grasses which you can plant in the Pittsburgh area. The climate of Pennsylvania and the soil will produce a lush and healthy lawn. Because of the climate, cool-season grasses are the better choice, warm-season grasses aren’t recommended. Here are a few great choices for your lawn in Pittsburgh:

Kentucky Bluegrass

Kentucky Bluegrass is one of the most adaptable grasses to grow, especially in northern Pennsylvania. Because of its high quality of turf grass, it makes a nicely textured lawn. You can fill in any damaged parts without having to re-seed. Another good point is that it’s more winter-hardy than many other varieties of grass seed. It grows best in full sunlight, but if you have shade, it can be mixed with a fine fescue. Depending on the conditions of the site, it could take between one to three months to germinate and become established. Bluegrass can be either laid down as sod or planted a seed.

Grass Seed Options:
Jonathan Green (11970) Blue Panther Kentucky Bluegrass Grass Seed (3 lbs.)
SeedRanch Midnight Kentucky Bluegrass Seed (5 lbs.)
Jacklin Seed – Biltmore Blue Blend – 100% Kentucky Bluegrass (5 lbs.)

Tall Fescue

When courser texture grass isn’t a problem as a low-maintenance grass, Tall Fescue is used. This grass has a tolerance to disease and insects, grows nicely under low-maintenance and handles soil which is low in nutrients. It will germinate quickly and grow rapidly but does grow slower than perennial ryegrass. However, once established, it stands up to wear. Tall Fescue also tolerates drought because of its deep rooting system. It will stay green without irrigation through most of Pennsylvania’s summers.

Tall Fescue grows rapidly and will need to be mowed frequently during the summer. When it is mowed, be sure not to mow it more than one-third of its height so your grass isn’t scalped. If the seedlings aren’t well established if planted in the fall, they may die. But well-established seedlings and lawns which are fully-developed will make it through Pennsylvania’s winters.

Grass Seed Options:
Triple-Play Tall Fescue Grass Seed Blend (5000 sq ft)
Eretz Kentucky 31 K31 Tall Fescue Grass Seed (choose your size)
Pennington The Rebels Tall Fescue Grass Seed Mix (7 lb.)

Perennial Ryegrass

Perennial Ryegrass

Perennial Ryegrass, when planted in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is usually blended with different varieties of Bluegrass. The fine texture resembles Bluegrass and it has good drought tolerance. The cold tolerance isn’t as high as Bluegrass, but it will survive on many Pennsylvania lawns.

Grass Seed Options:
Outsidepride Perennial Ryegrass Seed (5 lbs.)
Eretz ProTurf Perennial Ryegrass Fine Lawn Seed (choose your size)

Fine Fescue

Fine Fescue can be used in low soil moisture, shade, pH levels which are unfavorable and low fertility. It can be planted in sandy soils that have good drainage, so if you add a layer of sand when planting it will help support growth. If you add extra fertilizer, plant it on soil which is poorly drained or if it’s frequently irrigated, it can lead to a drop-in development. When managed correctly, fine fescue makes a lovely lawn. Fine Fescue is usually mixed in with other cool-season turf grasses. It’s used especially for shady lawns or low maintenance.

Grass Seed Options:
Outsidepride Legacy Fine Fescue Grass Seed (5 lbs.)
Eretz Creeping Red Fine Fescue Seed (choose your size)
Outsidepride Creeping Red Fine Fescue Grass Seed (25 lbs.)
Outsidepride Hard Fine Fescue Grass Seed (10 lbs.)

Planting grass seed in Pennsylvania is a matter of what type of seed appeals to you, for further help with your grass type visit our Pittsburgh lawn care page.

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Lisa Rodriguez