Best Grass Seed for Middle Tennessee

a lawn of a university in Tennesse

The Volunteer State has some stunningly beautiful landscapes and lush green lawns, but to create the perfect lawn, you need to know the best grass seed for Middle Tennessee – which might be different than for the rest of the state. 

With the diverse “transition zone” climate, picking the right grass type can be a challenge – but don’t worry, we’re here to help.

From shady, cool-season requirements to warm-season varieties to beat that Nashville heat, these five grass types are perfect for giving your Middle Tennessee lawn the curb appeal you desire.

5 Best Grass Types for Middle Tennessee

Middle Tennessee has some of the hottest, wettest parts of the state, and you have to plan accordingly when choosing grass seed. 

Since all of Tennessee is in the transition zone, you can successfully grow both warm-season and cool-season grasses here. However, because of the higher average temperatures, warm-season grasses do better in this region than in East Tennessee. 

See our top recommendations for the best grass seed for Middle Tennessee below, and learn more about choosing the best grass type in our statewide Tennesee grass seed guide

1. Bermudagrass

Bermudagrass grown in a lawn
Photo Credit: Pexels

Bermudagrass, a warm-season grass that thrives in full sun, is our top pick for grass seed in Middle Tennessee. Though Bermudagrass requires monthly fertilization and frequent irrigation, the thick, bright green mat it forms during the sweltering summer is worth the work. 

It also has a high traffic tolerance, making it ideal for summer barbecues and family gatherings. In terms of soil type, this grass prefers well-drained soils with good fertility.

While it may require a bit of extra care to establish and maintain, Bermudagrass is still one of the most popular choices for an attractive lawn in Middle Tennessee. Consider overseeding Bermuda with annual ryegrass in fall to keep the lawn green in winter. 

Grass Seed Options:

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

2. Zoysiagrass

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

After Bermuda, Zoysiagrass is the next best warm-season grass for Middle Tennessee. Great for extreme temperature swings and tolerant of overwatering, it can handle cold winters, hot summers, and lots of rain. It’s also more tolerant of shade than Bermudagrass, so it could be the better choice for a yard with lots of shade trees.

Be sure to check the soil pH prior to planting, as Zoysiagrass prefers acidic soil with good drainage for the best results. 

Zoysia is not only incredibly attractive but also requires minimal maintenance, especially compared to Bermudagrass, so it’s perfect for busy homeowners.

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)

3. Tall Fescue

 tall fescue
Photo Credit: Matt Lavin / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

If you would rather go with a cool-season grass type – one that will look great in fall but may be hard to maintain during the hot Middle Tennessee summer – tall fescue is the best choice for this region. 

This cool-season grass has a medium to coarse texture. It establishes quickly from seed, making it perfect for the short-term growing periods that sometimes come with Middle Tennessee’s unpredictable weather patterns. It’s also more resistant to diseases than some other grass types.

Tall fescue does need frequent mowing, but in return, you’ll get the hardiest lawn around – ready to deal with anything Mother Nature throws at it. In terms of its soil type, tall fescue can tolerate a wide range of soils but prefers rich clay 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.)

4. Kentucky Bluegrass

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

A classic lawn option across Tennessee and the rest of the transition zone, Kentucky bluegrass has a striking lush green color that’s sure to impress your neighbors. This cool-season grass is popular for its attractive color, even though it doesn’t do as well in the shade as other cool-season grasses and can be slow to establish. 

It prefers high-fertility, heavy soils, and full sun exposure with constant moisture for optimal growth and will require regular mowing and fertilization to keep it in good condition. Kentucky bluegrass is definitely not a low-maintenance choice. 

Grass Seed Options:

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

5. Perennial Ryegrass

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

Another cool-season grass for Middle Tennessee, perennial ryegrass is fast-growing and resilient enough to handle wear, making it suitable for high-traffic lawns. Since this grass doesn’t do well in the cold, it’s better suited as an overseeder rather than a permanent option.

It’s also low-maintenance, and it has some shade tolerance (though limited). Be aware, however, that this grass type is prone to disease, so make sure to inspect your lawn regularly for symptoms.

When it comes to soil fertility, perennial ryegrass can tolerate a wide range of soils but prefers more acidic ones with decent drainage.

Grass Seed Options:

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

FAQ About Middle Tennessee Grass Seed

When is the best time to plant grass seed in Middle Tennessee?

For cool-season turfgrass, the best time to plant in Tennessee is between late August and early October. Planting between these dates ensures a strong foundation for your lawn before winter, but bear in mind that the ground may be moist, which can make soil preparation tedious.

Warm-season turfgrass, on the other hand, should ideally be seeded in May or June. This timeframe ensures healthy grass establishment during warm-season grass’s summer growing season. 

What kind of grass is common in Middle Tennessee?

Tall fescue is one of the most popular grass types across Tennessee due to its amazing adaptability, while Kentucky bluegrass is also among the favorites. However, warm-season grasses such as Bermuda and Zoysia thrive in Middle Tennessee, as well.

What is the best grass for hot weather?

Bermudagrass and Zoysiagrass will be your best friends during Middle Tennessee’s hot summers. They also have high foot traffic tolerance, making them perfect for active homeowners and those who want to make the most of their outdoor space.

What is the softest grass to grow in Middle Tennessee?

For a softer feel to your lawn, Zoysia and hybrid Bermuda grasses are great options. Both have a very fine texture and are considered to be the softest of all turfgrass varieties.

What is the easiest grass to maintain in Middle Tennessee?

In the summer, warm-season grasses such as Bermuda and Zoysia will need less water and attention to stay green than their cool-season counterparts, which typically go dormant in summer. Zoysia requires a lot less maintenance in general than Bermuda. Learn exactly how to maintain your lawn with our lawn care tips for Tennessee.

Making the Most of Your Middle Tennessee Lawn

When you plant the best grass seed for Middle Tennessee and maintain it properly, you can have a healthy lawn year-round that adds to the Volunteer State’s natural beauty. 

If you need help picking the right grass type or getting your lawn in tip-top condition, LawnStarter can connect you with lawn care professionals in Nashville, Murfreesboro, Clarksville, and anywhere else in Middle Tennessee. With the help of a LawnStarter pro, get ready to wow your neighbors with the lush lawn of your dreams!

Main Image Credits: Jacob bloodaxe / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

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Adrian Nita

Adrian Nita

Adrian is a former marine navigation officer turned writer with more than 3 years of experience in the field. He loves writing about anything and everything but specializes in covering smart technology and gardening. When he's not writing, Adrian enjoys spending time with his family and friends or hiking in the great outdoors.