Best Grass Seed for Kentucky

Green pastures surround a farm house in Kentucky, USA.

Kentucky is well known for its stunning landscape, rolling mountains, and fertile soil. Having a healthy, lush lawn in Kentucky would enhance its natural beauty. But choosing the right grass type for your lawn can be challenging. This article has solved your problem by specifying the best grass seed for Kentucky lawns.

Cool-Season Grasses

Kentucky’s milder temperatures and moderate rainfall make cool-season grasses a popular choice for lawns. These grasses can survive the temperature and moisture fluctuations in Kentucky. Cool-season grass lawns can be lush and green year-round with proper care and maintenance. The best cool-season grasses for Kentucky are:

Kentucky Bluegrass

closeup image of kentucky bluegrass
Kentucky Bluegrass
Photo Credit: Matt Lavin / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Kentucky bluegrass is a resilient grass that thrives in the state’s cooler and more humid regions. However, with proper care and watering, it can grow everywhere in the state. Lexington, Louisville, Owensboro, and Bowling Green are some of the areas where Kentucky bluegrass thrives. 

Kentucky bluegrass creates a dense, weed-resistant turf with a fine texture and dark-green color that makes it desirable for home and commercial lawns. 

To keep it looking good, Kentucky bluegrass has to be fertilized, watered, and mowed on a regular basis. It needs to be kept at a height of 2.5–3.5 inches and lightly fertilized in the spring and fall. Over-fertilization or over-watering can cause thatch build-up and disease, so it’s crucial to avoid either. 

  • Classification: Cool-season grass
  • Spreads by: Rhizomes
  • Shade tolerance: Low
  • Drought tolerance: Moderate
  • Foot traffic tolerance: Moderate
  • Maintenance needs: Moderate mowing frequency and high fertilization needs. 
  • Mowing height: Set mowing height between 2.5 and 3.5 inches. 
  • Potential for disease: Moderate to high; prone to several diseases, such as dollar spot, leaf spot, necrotic ring spot, summer patch, and stripe smut. 
  • Soil pH: 6-7.5
  • Soil type: Performs best in well-drained, heavy soils with high fertility. 

Grass Seed Options:

Jonathan Green (11970) Blue Panther Kentucky Bluegrass Grass Seed (3 lbs.)
SeedRanch Midnight Kentucky Bluegrass Seed (5 lbs.)

Fine Fescue

Close up image of fescue grass with a hand on it
Fine Fescue
Aaron J. Patton, Ph.D. / Turfgrass Extension Specialist at Purdue University

Fine fescue is a low-maintenance grass that can be used in lawns where other grasses struggle, such as shady or poorly-drained areas. Fine fescue is a popular choice for lawns in Lexington, Louisville, Bowling Green, and Paducah. It needs 4-6 hours of sunshine per day and partial shade to flourish. 

Fine fescue is more drought-resistant than other cool-season grasses due to its extensive root structure. To avoid stress and maintain attractiveness, it will need regular watering during dry spells. Over-fertilization and excessive traffic can harm fine fescue roots and limit development.

  • Classification: Cool-season grass
  • Spreads by: Creeping red fescue spreads by rhizomes, while other fine fescues are bunch-type grasses, such as Chewings, hard, and sheep fescues. 
  • Shade tolerance: Moderate to High, depending on the species
  • Drought tolerance: Moderate to High, depending on the species
  • Foot traffic tolerance: Low to Moderate, depending on the species
  • Maintenance needs: Low fertilizer and mowing needs  
  • Mowing height: Set mowing height between 2.5 and 4 inches, depending on species. 
  • Potential for disease: Moderate. Common diseases include red thread, leaf spot, dollar spot, summer patch, and powdery mildew. 
  • Soil pH: 6-6.5
  • Soil type: Will not perform well in wet soil conditions. Prefers drier soils and tolerates a wide range of soil types and fertility. 

Perennial Ryegrass

Close up image of perennial ryegrass
Perennial Ryegrass
Photo Credit: Dr Mary Gillham Archive Project / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Although perennial ryegrass can be grown in many areas of Kentucky, it thrives in cooler conditions with moderate rainfall. This grass type is especially well-suited for use in the state’s northern and central regions, where colder temperatures and moderate rainfall are typical. 

Perennial ryegrass is widely mixed with other cool-season grasses in Kentucky, such as Kentucky bluegrass and fine fescue. Because of its rapid germination and establishment, perennial ryegrass is a popular choice for overseeding existing lawns or swiftly establishing new lawns. 

Perennial ryegrass is distinguished by its fine texture and vivid green color, as well as its dense growth habit and ability to grow quickly. It is also extremely durable and resistant to wear and traffic, making it a popular choice for athletic fields and other high-traffic locations.

  • Classification: Cool-season grass
  • Spreads by: Has a bunch-type growth habit
  • Shade tolerance: Low
  • Drought tolerance: Low
  • Foot traffic tolerance: High
  • Maintenance needs: Moderate mowing and fertilization requirements. Thatch is not significant. 
  • Mowing height: Set mowing height to 1.5 to 2.5 inches
  • Potential for disease: High. Common diseases include gray leaf spot, red thread, and leaf spot/melting-out. 
  • Soil pH: Can grow in soils with a pH between 5 and 8, but prefers between 6 and 7. 
  • Soil type: Prefers good drainage and fertility, but can tolerate some poor drainage. 

Grass Seed Options:

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

Tall Fescue

tall fescue
Tall Fescue
Aaron J. Patton, Ph.D. / Turfgrass Extension Specialist at Purdue University

Tall fescue is a cool-season grass that thrives in a variety of Kentucky locations, including both urban and rural areas. Tall fescue, in particular, is a favorite choice for lawns and landscaping projects in cities such as Lexington, Louisville, and Bowling Green, as well as many smaller towns and communities around the state.

Tall fescue is well-known for its endurance and drought resistance, making it a popular choice for lawns in regions with hot summers and periods of drought. It also requires frequent maintenance, which includes fertilization, watering, and mowing. Tall fescue can form a long-lasting and attractive lawn if properly cared for and maintained.

  • Classification: Cool-season grass
  • Spreads by: Produces short rhizomes but has a bunch-type growth habit
  • Shade tolerance: Moderate
  • Drought tolerance: Moderate to High
  • Foot traffic tolerance: Moderate
  • Maintenance needs: Frequent mowing. Does not produce significant thatch. 
  • Mowing height: Set mowing height to 2 inches.  
  • Potential for disease: Tolerant of most diseases when properly maintained. 
  • Soil pH: 5.5-6.5
  • Soil type: Adapted to a wide range of soil conditions but prefers fertile clay soils with good drainage. 

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.)

Warm-Season Grasses

If you live in or plan to landscape a property in Kentucky and seek grasses that thrive in hot and humid conditions, consider planting warm-season grasses. In Kentucky, warm-season grasses tend to become dormant when the weather cools down, so they will not stay green year-round. 

However, they can be a wonderful option for homeowners and landscapers wishing to expand their grass options, as they can give a lush and attractive turf throughout the warmer months. The best warm-season grasses for Kentucky include: 


Photo Credit: Forest and Kim Starr / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Bermudagrass could be the ideal grass for you if you live in Kentucky. Because of its heat tolerance, hot and muggy summers are perfect for Bermudagrass to grow. However, Bermudagrass can be vulnerable to weed growth, so it’s essential to maintain weed control year-round. Bermuda can survive in any soil type and establishes a good turfgrass.

In places with hot summers like Kentucky, Bermudagrass can be a terrific option for lawns, but it does need some extra maintenance to stay at its best.

  • Classification: Warm-season grass
  • Spreads by: Stolons and rhizomes
  • Shade tolerance: Low; thrives in full sun
  • Drought tolerance: High 
  • Foot traffic tolerance: High 
  • Maintenance needs: Needs frequent mowing due to fast growth rate; develops thatch easily; needs regular fertilization 
  • Mowing height: Set the mowing height between 0.5 and 1.5 inches for hybrid Bermudagrass cultivars. Mow common Bermudagrass down to 1.5 to 2.5 inches.
  • Potential for disease: Good resistance to disease, although diseases are common; low resistance to insects
  • Soil pH: 6-6.5
  • Soil type: Tolerates most soil types

Grass Seed Options:

Scotts Turf Builder Bermudagrass (10-lb. bag)
Hancock Seed Co. Bermudagrass (50-lb. bag)


Photo Credit: Forest & Kim Starr / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0

When it comes to the hot and humid summers in Kentucky, Zoysiagrass is an excellent choice for homeowners and landscapers seeking a low-maintenance warm-season grass. It is commonly used for golf courses, sports fields, and residential lawns since it thrives in direct sunlight. Zoysia grass grows well in Louisville, Lexington, Bowling Green, and Paducah.

Well-drained soils are ideal for Zoysiagrass to grow. You should check your soil’s pH level and adjust it with lime or sulfur as needed to make it suitable for Zoysiagrass. During the growing season, Zoysia requires frequent cutting. With the right maintenance, it can grow into a beautiful lawn that thrives in the local environment.

  • Classification: Warm-season grass
  • Spreads by: Stolons and rhizomes
  • Shade tolerance: Moderate
  • Drought tolerance: Moderate to High
  • Foot traffic tolerance: High, but recovers slowly from damage
  • Maintenance needs: Low nitrogen fertilization requirements, but prone to thatch build-up. 
  • Mowing height: Set mowing height between 1 and 2 inches.
  • Potential for disease: Good disease tolerance overall
  • Soil pH: 6-6.5
  • Soil type: Well-draining, some cultivars are more tolerant of a wide range of soils than others.

Grass Plug and Seed Options:

Zoysia Plugs (50 Large Grass Plugs)
Zoysia Plugs (50 Full & Lush Grass Plugs)
Zoysia Plugs (100 Plugs)
Zenith Zoysia Grass Seeds (1/8 lb. of seeds)


Photo credit: Michael Rivera / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

Centipedegrass is a fantastic option for home lawns in the cities of Bowling Green, Paducah, Hopkinsville, and Murray since it is a warm-season grass that can grow in Kentucky’s hot and humid summers.

Kentucky centipedegrass usually grows slowly but does not require high maintenance. It also needs frequent irrigation during the growing season due to its shallow root system. Try to water it deeply once or twice a week for proper health.

  • Classification: Warm-season grass
  • Spreads by: Stolons
  • Shade tolerance: Moderate 
  • Drought tolerance: Moderate
  • Foot traffic tolerance: Low
  • Maintenance needs: Needs infrequent mowing and 1 to 2 pounds of fertilizer per 1000 square feet yearly, depending on soil test results
  • Mowing height: Set the mowing height between 1 and 2 inches.
  • Potential for disease: Good resistance to diseases and insects
  • Soil pH: 5-6
  • Soil type: Acidic, infertile, at least moderately good drainage (very dense, clay soils produce poor results)

Grass Seed Options:

Gulf Kist Coated Centipedegrass Seeds (1 lb.)
Scotts EZ Seed Patch and Repair Centipedegrass (3.75 lbs.)
TifBlair Centipedegrass (5-lb. bag)

Best Grass Seed for Northern Kentucky

North Kentucky has humid continental weather and is located within the climatic transition zone. Cool-season grasses like Kentucky bluegrass and tall fescue grow best in this region. These grasses thrive well within the cooler months in Kentucky.

The soil in northern Kentucky also tends to be acidic. If a soil test shows that your soil is acidic, consider fine fescue, tall fescue, or perennial ryegrass, which tend to be more tolerant of acid soil than other cool-season turfgrass types. 

Best Grass Seed for Central Kentucky

The weather in Central Kentucky is hot and muggy in the summer but cold and wet in the winter. The best turfgrass choice in the Central Kentucky region is a cool-season grass type like Kentucky bluegrass, tall fescue, fine fescue, or perennial ryegrass. 

Best Grass Seed for Eastern Kentucky

Eastern Kentucky has a humid continental climate. This region also has moderate to high rainfall and is prone to thunderstorms. Cool-season grasses like Kentucky bluegrass, tall fescue, and perennial ryegrass are the best choices to grow here. These grasses are weather-tolerant and require moderate maintenance.

Often, the warm-season lawns in Eastern Kentucky are overseeded with perennial ryegrass. It germinates quickly and results in denser turf, making your lawn look green and healthy in winter when warm-season grasses go dormant.

Best Grass Seed for Western Kentucky

Western Kentucky has a humid subtropical climate. It experiences hot, humid summers and mild winters. The best choice of grass seed for western Kentucky is warm-season grasses like Bermudagrass. Bermudagrass is highly drought-tolerant and can not only withstand harsh, hot summers but is also compatible with the clay soils found in Western Kentucky.

How to Choose The Best Grass Seed for Your Kentucky Lawn

You can select the best grass type for your Kentucky lawn by keeping the following considerations in mind:


Before selecting the right grass seed for your lawn, think about the climate first. As you know, summers in Kentucky are pretty hot and humid, while winters can be quite cold. So, choose a grass type that can survive both.

Various temperature ranges are ideal for different types of grass. For instance, warm-season grasses like Bermudagrass, Zoysiagrass, and centipedegrass prefer warmer temperatures; therefore, they are best for summers in Kentucky. Cool-season grasses like Kentucky bluegrass, fine fescue, and perennial ryegrass are capable of thriving in the cooler temperatures of Kentucky.

Foot Traffic

If you have children or pets running around on the lawn, you should choose a grass that can withstand high foot traffic. Here’s a quick overview of the foot traffic tolerance of Kentucky’s most popular grass types:

  • High foot traffic tolerance: Perennial ryegrass, Bermudagrass, Zoysiagrass
  • Moderate foot traffic tolerance: Turf-type tall fescue, Kentucky bluegrass
  • Low foot traffic tolerance: Centipedegrass, Fine fescue

Soil  Examination

The most important thing when selecting the ideal grass for your lawn in Kentucky is to consider the soil type and pH. Grasses only survive in compatible soils. For instance, Kentucky bluegrass grows best on moist, well-drained soils rich in organic matter; however, grasses like tall fescue can thrive in a wider variety of soil conditions but prefer clay soils. 

On the other hand, centipedegrass is renowned for its ability to grow in low-nutrient and acidic soil. Depending on your soil type, you may need to seek the advice of a professional lawn care service in Kentucky to grow a luscious lawn. You can also get your soil tested at the University Extension office nearest to you for a proper analysis of the lawn’s soil.

Upkeep or Maintenance

Your lawn is the result of how much effort you put into it. If you want to have a healthy lawn in Kentucky, then you should work on upkeep regularly. If you’re not the type to put lots of effort into your lawn, consider a grass type that will thrive with less maintenance. 

Here are the maintenance requirements for our top grass seed picks for Kentucky:

  • High-maintenance grasses: Bermudagrass, Kentucky bluegrass
  • Moderate-maintenance grasses: Turf-type tall fescue, perennial ryegrass, Zoysiagrass
  • Low-maintenance grasses: Centipedegrass, fine fescue


How long does grass seed take to germinate in Kentucky?

Grass seeds might take around 7-30 days for germination, depending on the type of seed you are using. For example, Bermudagrass seed takes about 10 days to germinate, whereas Kentucky bluegrass can take 14-30 days.

Which grass can bear high traffic in Kentucky?

Perennial ryegrass, tall fescue, and Kentucky bluegrass are considered the best choices for high-traffic areas in Kentucky. They are all durable and wear-tolerant grasses.

What is the best time to plant grass seed in Kentucky?

The best time to plant cool-season grass seed is early fall. However, for warm-season grasses, the best time to plant seeds is late spring or early summer.
For more Kentucky lawn care advice for the different seasons, see our spring lawn care and fall lawn care guides.

Call a Lawn Care Pro for Help

Establishing a healthy lawn in Kentucky is a challenging task. But with a few considerations, you can make your dream lawn a reality. The first step is to select the best grass seed for your Kentucky lawn in accordance with local climate, soil pH, fertility, and maintenance requirements. 

Just like with grass, you can improve the rest of your landscape by choosing the right plants, too. Kentucky native plants are always the best choice for the local climate – and as a bonus, they’re lower maintenance than other plants!

If you are struggling to maintain a healthy lawn, you can ask for assistance from a Kentucky lawn care pro, whether you live in Louisville, Lexington, or anywhere else in the Bluegrass State. LawnStarter’s network of local experts is always there to help you reach your lawn care goals. 

Main Image Credit: Shutterstock

LawnStarter participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program. LawnStarter may earn revenue from products promoted in this article.

Taha Javed

Taha Javed

Taha Javed is a blog writer with a green thumb, sharing her expertise in lawn care and maintenance. With a knack for nurturing nature, she blends her love for writing with a passion for vibrant lawns, offering readers expert advice to transform their outdoor spaces into green havens.