Grass Seed Without Weeds

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Overseeding your lawn will thicken the grass, helping it resist future weed invasion. However, it is best used on a lawn where the weeds are currently dormant How to grow lawn that is lush and full of grass. Checklist to grow a weed-free lawn. Growing a lawn without weeds is a dream for many homeowners. This checklist will help you keep the weeds away from your lawn while maintaining healthy grass and teach you how to make St Augustine grass thicker. Grass seed can resist disease and fungus while quickly turning your lawn green. We researched the top options for warm climates, heavy traffic, and more.

Will Overseeding Choke Out Weeds?

Overseeding your lawn will thicken the grass, helping it resist future weed invasion. However, it is best used on a lawn where the weeds are currently dormant or have recently been killed. Spreading grass seed on a weedy lawn won’t do much good. Weeds that are actively growing in your grass will steal water and nutrients from grass seedlings, causing them to struggle and die. For best results, attack lawn weeds with a weed killer, then overseed to create a healthy lawn that prevents weeds from returning.

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How Does Overseeding Help Prevent Weeds?

Overseeding your existing lawn with new grass seed fills in bare spots and contributes to thicker grass throughout the lawn. A thick grass lawn without bare spots shades the soil below, depriving weed seedlings of sunlight, killing them. Not only that, but thick growing grass pulls moisture and nutrients from the soil first, before weed seedlings can get to them.

  • Overseeding contributes to a thicker lawn.
  • Bare spots that have been overseeded with grass are less prone to weed invasion.
  • Lawns thickened by overseeding prevent weed seedlings from receiving sunlight and nutrients, smothering them.
  • Regular overseeding maintains a thick, weed-resistant lawn without herbicides.

Grass plants, like all plants, weaken and die naturally over time. By overseeding you replenish your lawn with new grass plants. This constant replenishment keeps your entire lawn thick enough that it continues to smother new weeds. This reduces the need to use chemical weed killers on your lawn.

Do You Need to Remove Weeds Before Overseeding?

Overseeding is most effective when you kill existing weeds before you overseed. This is because grass can’t choke out existing, established weeds no matter how thick it is. A lush lawn can only stop new weed seeds from sprouting. Also, any weeds that are present when you overseed will steal water, nutrients, and sunshine from your new grass seedlings. Wipe out the weeds to give your grass a fighting chance.

  • Remove existing weeds before you overseed.
  • Existing weeds won’t be killed or choked out by overseeding. A thick, overseeded lawn will only suppress new weed growth.
  • Kill established weeds or they will rob water and nutrients from your grass seedlings.

You’ll get more new grass sprouts from overseeding if you kill existing weeds first. Overseeding a lawn overgrown with weeds will get a poor yield. Your new grass will struggle to compete with the weeds. Paving the way for new grass by killing weeds is your best bet.

What is the Best Time of Year to Overseed a Weedy Lawn?

For the best results overseeding your lawn, you need to seed at the optimal time for your grass type. Warm-season grass lawns (such as Bermuda, Zoysia, and Centipede grass) should be overseeded in spring. Cool-season grasses (Kentucky Bluegrass, Fescue, Ryegrass) sprout and survive best when overseeded in fall.

  • Overseed warm-season grasses in spring.
  • Overseed cool-season grasses in fall.
  • It’s best to overseed when no weeds are present.

Another factor that makes overseeding in fall a great option for cool-season grass lawns is that few weeds will be present. Even if your lawn was infested with crabgrass in spring, by fall it will have begun to drop its seeds and die off. If you overseed in fall, your new grass will sprout and establish itself. By spring, the grass will be thick enough to prevent many of those crabgrass seeds from sprouting.

What is the Best Grass Seed to Use for Overseeding?

The best grass seed for overseeding is grass that will grow well in your climate. In regions with freezing winters, choose cool-season grass. In regions where winters seldom freeze, warm-season grass will perform best.

  • Seed with cool-season grass in regions with freezing winters.
  • In regions with mild winters, overseed with warm-season grass.
  • Match your grass seed to the variety of grass present in your lawn.

It’s also important to note that overseeding is the act of spreading additional grass seed over an existing lawn. It’s usually best to overseed your lawn with the same species of grass that is present there. This will create a uniform, beautiful lawn.

What Grass Will Choke Out Weeds?

The best grasses for choking out weeds in your lawn depend on your location. If you are planting warm season grass and wish to have a weed-resistant lawn, Bermuda grass is your best choice. It spreads through runners and roots to take over areas, which prevents weeds from getting a toehold.

  • Bermuda grass is the best warm-season grass for choking out weeds.
  • Kentucky Bluegrass is the top option for battling weeds in cool-season grass lawns.
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Kentucky Bluegrass spreads faster than any other cool-season grass. It produces roots that form new plants in both spring and fall, meaning it self-thickens and fills in bare spots. If you want to weedproof your northern lawn, go with KBG.

Will Overseeding Your Lawn Get Rid of Weeds?

Overseeding a weedy lawn will not kill weeds on its own. However, thick grass growth produced by overseeding prevents new weeds from sprouting. In order to keep your lawn weed-free with overseeding, first, kill any existing weeds, then prep your lawn and spread new grass seed. The thick growth of new grass will choke out new weed seedlings as they attempt to sprout.

How To Grow A Grass Lawn Without Weeds

Growing a lawn without weeds is a dream for many homeowners. While it’s probably unrealistic to have a lawn 100% free of weeds, you can aim to grow a thick, healthy stand of grass. That’s actually the easiest way to give weeds the brushoff: grow turf that’s so thick and strong that weeds can’t find an inch to take root. Follow this checklist to grow your healthiest grass ever.

Grow the Right Grass

Different grasses grow in different areas of the country. Warm-season grasses are usually grown in warmer, more southerly regions. Types include Bahiagrass, Bermudagrass, St. Augustinegrass and Zoysiagrass. Cool-season grasses are typically grown in cooler, more northerly regions. Types include Fescue, Kentucky Bluegrass and Ryegrass. Check with your local Cooperative Extension System office to learn which types of grass grow best in your area.

Mow Properly

Start by cutting grass with a sharp mower blade that cuts grass cleanly, without tearing or shredding. Proper mowing height depends on grass type. Vary your mowing pattern to avoid creating ruts in the lawn. Avoid mowing when soil is wet, or you risk tearing up grass and soil.

Water Correctly

Provide adequate moisture to grass, especially during episodes of drought or high temperatures. Provide deep, infrequent irrigation, which promotes healthy, deeper roots. Learn about lawn irrigation basics and how much grass actually needs.

Fertilize

Before you start a fertilizer program, do a soil test so you know you’re applying the correct blend of nutrients. In some parts of the country, soils may be acidic or alkaline and require additions of iron, magnesium or lime. Also, different types of grass need to be fertilized at different times of the year. Check with your local Cooperative Extension System office for help developing the right fertilizer program for your lawn.

Scout for Problems

Like any landscape planting, lawns can suffer from a variety of problems. Weeds, bare spots, insects and diseases can weaken and, if left untreated, even destroy a healthy lawn. Keep an eye out for problems in your lawn.

  • Deal with weeds when you first see them, because one weed leads to many more. Learn about the types of lawn weed killers and when to use each. Discover why fall weed control is key and how to do it successfully.
  • When a bare spot appears, figure out the cause and deal with it. Open soil extends an invitation to weeds, so repair bare spots as quickly as possible.
  • Scout for insect problems. Some of the signs to look for are skunks digging up lawn or flocks of birds feeding on turf. White Grubs are a common lawn pest. Discover the basics of dealing with Grubs.

Aerate and Dethatch

Compacted soils don’t allow air and water to reach grass roots, which results in unhealthy grass.

Aerating helps relieve soil compaction.

When thatch builds up in a lawn, it can prevent water and fertilizer from reaching soil and provide refuge for insects.

7 Best Grass Seed Products to Restore a Patchy Lawn

The winner is the Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Sun & Shade Mix

Theresa Holland is a freelance writer specializing in home improvement, cleaning, and bedding. She shares her favorite life hacks on her blog The Taboo Textbook.

Barbara Gillette is a master gardener, herbalist, beekeeper, and journalist. She has 30 years of experience propagating and growing fruits, vegetables, herbs, and ornamentals.

Sarah Scott is a fact-checker and researcher who has worked in the custom home building industry in sales, marketing, and design.

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

The Spruce / Laurey W. Glenn

Grass seed can grow a lawn from scratch, make existing turf thicker, or target unsightly bald patches and brown spots. We researched and tested grass seed from the top brands, evaluating ease of use, effectiveness, and formulation.

Our top pick, the Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Sun & Shade Mix, is a versatile blend that stands up well to drought and disease and can seed up to 8,000 square feet of lawn—an eighth of a football field.

Here is the best grass seed for sprucing up your yard.

Best Overall: Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Sun & Shade Mix

Courtesy of Amazon

Thrives in sun and shade

Holds up in droughts and cold winters

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Not suited for Southern lawns

Who else recommends it? Bob Vila also picked Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Sun and Shade Mix.

What do buyers say? 82% of 29,000+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.

Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Sun & Shade Mix thrives in scorching sunlight or densely shaded conditions, making it our top choice. This fine-bladed grass mix can even hold up in droughts and cold winters. It begins to grow in five to ten days; you can mow it after blades reach three inches in height. For optimum growth, water your lawn twice daily for three weeks.

Each individual seed, wrapped in a special WaterSmart Plus coating, absorbs twice the amount of water as its uncoated counterparts. The coating also protects your seedlings from various lawn diseases, and feeds them essential nutrients to jump-start growth. Although this mix tolerates extreme weather changes, Scott’s does not recommend using it in Southern states.

Sun Tolerance: Dense Shade to Full Sun | Climate: Drought, Cold Winters | Size: Up to 8,000 square feet | Grass Texture: Fine

Best for Shade: Pennington One Step Complete for Dense Shade Areas

Courtesy of The Home Depot

Formulated with mulch and fertilizer

Great for spot treatments or larger areas

Suited for Midwestern lawns

Not for warm-season lawns

Pennington One Step Complete blends the brand’s Smart Seed with mulch and professional-grade fertilizer, allowing the lawn to thrive in densely shaded areas. This all-in-one grass seed sprouts seedlings in as little as two weeks, even in the tricky corners of your lawn that don’t see more than two to four hours of direct sunlight a day. Whether you’re growing a lawn from scratch or just looking to patch up sparse areas, this ultra-absorbent mixture is a quick and easy solution for achieving a lush, spot-free yard.

Sun Tolerance: Dense Shade | Climate: Cool-season | Size: 125 square feet | Grass Texture: Medium

Best for Full Sun: JB Instant Lawn Signature Sunny Premium Lawn Seed

Courtesy of Lowe’s

Works with new and existing lawns

Comes in various sizes

Not suited for Midwestern lawns

JB Instant Lawn’s Sunny Blend is formulated for direct sunlight. It loves clear skies and flourishes in non-shaded areas with daily sun exposure of six or more hours. The brand’s signature perennial ryegrass seed produces thick, sod-quality lawns with fine blades and a deep green hue. You can plant it with your existing grass, or use to grow a lawn from scratch with a germination period of seven to ten days.

Sun Tolerance: Full Sun | Climate: Cool-season | Size: 1,000 square feet (max overseeding coverage area), 600 square feet (max new seeding coverage area) | Grass Texture: Fine

Best for Cool Season: Barenbrug Winter Wonderlawn Super Over Seeding Grass Seed

Courtesy of Tractor Supply

Thrives in sun and partial shade

Stands up to heavy traffic

Not suited for Northern lawns

For the chillier season, keep a bag of Winter Wonderlawn on hand. Containing a blend of Italian and perennial ryegrass, the mixture is ideal for overseeding your lawn during the coldest months.

This grass seed establishes quickly and germinates within four days, even in fall and winter. After a few weeks, expect a dense growth of fine-bladed grass, with a deep green color.

Sun Tolerance: Full Sun and Partial Shade | Climate: Southern | Size: 2,500 square feet | Grass Texture: Fine

Best for Warm Season: Water Saver Lawn Seed Mixture with Turf-Type Tall Fescue and RFT

Courtesy of The Home Depot

Thrives in sun and shade

Tolerates drought conditions

Not suited for Southern lawns

Water Saver contains a mixture of turf-quality tall fescue and RFT (rhizomatous tall fescue) seeds. The blend has a gorgeous color, a nice texture, and stands up to various diseases.

This lawn seed establishes quickly, roots deeply, and retains water, allowing it to tolerate high temps and drought conditions. It thrives in the sun or shade, and thanks to its deep roots, you can mow it shorter than other varieties.

Sun Tolerance: Full Sun and Partial Shade | Climate: Hot and Dry | Size: 1,000 square feet | Grass Texture: Coarse

Best Fast-Growing: Vigoro Fast Grass Seed Mix

Courtesy of The Home Depot

Great for spot treatments

Thrives in sun and shade

Only for existing lawns

Anytime you need speedy ground cover, erosion control, or want to repair patches in your yard, this is your best bet. Vigoro Fast Grass Mix germinates impressively quickly, and sprouts in as little as three days.

The seed works in sunny and shady areas, and produces lush, green grass with semi-fine blades and virtually no weeds. It’s ideal for temporarily filling in bare spots and, depending on when and where you plant it, you might see continued growth.

Sun Tolerance: Sun and Shade | Climate: Any | Size: 750 square feet | Grass Texture: Fine to Medium

Best Bermuda grass: Sta-Green Grass Seed Bermuda grass

Courtesy of Lowe’s

Grows back annually

99 percent weed-free

Longer germination period

Bermuda grass is a warm-weather perennial , meaning it flourishes in spring and summer, and grows back annually. This grass seed from Sta-Green contains a premium blend of 99 percent weed-free Bermuda grass.

The germination period is longer than other species (about two to three weeks). But thanks to a special QuickGrow2X coating, the mixture grows faster than other Bermuda grasses and resists disease. Soon enough, you can expect a beautiful lawn, with medium-textured grass that’s dense, lush, and feels good between your toes.

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Sun Tolerance: Full Sun | Climate: Southern, Dry | Size: 5,000 square feet (max overseeding coverage area), 2,500 square feet (max new seeding coverage area) | Grass Texture: Fine to Medium

Best for Heavy Traffic: Jonathan Green Black Beauty Heavy Traffic Premium Grass Seed Mixture

Courtesy of Amazon

Stands up to heavy traffic

Resists weeds and insects

Comes in various sizes

Not suited for densely shaded areas

If you have kids, pets, or an otherwise busy household, we recommend Jonathan Green Black Beauty. The brand’s Heavy Traffic Premium Mixture contains a healthy blend of fescue and perennial ryegrass seeds. Fescue emits an amino acid that naturally acts as a herbicide, so it curbs emerging crabgrass and broadleaf weed seedlings. Not only that, but this reliable formula stands up to abrasion and naturally resists insects.

Sun Tolerance: Partial Sun | Climate: Hard Wear | Size: 1,200 square feet | Grass Texture: Coarse

Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Sun & Shade Mix is the best grass seed overall. The seeds’ special coating makes them more absorbent, allowing your turf to thrive year-round in sun or shade. However, if you have pets or kids and want something that can grow with heavy foot traffic, Jonathan Green Black Beauty Heavy Traffic Premium Grass Seed Mixture might be a better choice.

What to Look For When Buying Grass Seed

Climate

One of the most important things to keep in mind when buying grass seed is the climate, as some blends do better in certain regions. For instance, Bermuda grass is native to the southern hemisphere, so it thrives in the South and the Southwestern United States.

That being said, some grass species (such as fescue and ryegrass) can grow in a variety of climates. Be sure to check the product description before purchasing grass seed to confirm it can grow where you live.

Sun Exposure

Another thing to consider is the level of sun exposure your seedlings get. Species such as Bermuda grass and some types of ryegrass need at least a few hours of sunlight a day to thrive, whereas fescue can grow in densely shaded areas.

Some mixes are formulated to grow in sun or shade, any time of year. Check the product information before buying grass seed to make sure it’s suitable for the amount of sunlight your yard gets.

Maintenance

If you’re in the market for low-maintenance grass seed, look for an option that contains fertilizer. That way, your seedlings have the nourishment they need to grow quickly and flourish. Some blends also contain mulch, which helps keep the soil healthy, retains water, and prevents weed growth.

Speaking of weed growth, you may consider grass seed that specifically indicates it’s a weed-free (or 99 percent weed-free) formula. Additionally, some seeds are individually coated with a special substance that makes them more absorbent, meaning you don’t need to water as often, and disease resistant.

The best time to plant grass seed depends on the type of seed and the climate. However, since most mixtures germinate when temperatures aren’t too hot or cold, planting in the fall for a cool-season grass and spring for a warm-season grass is typically ideal. Seedlings thrive in semi-warm soil, with moderate daytime temperatures and slightly cooler evenings.

To prepare the soil for grass seed, start by removing any sticks, large rocks, and weeds from the surface. Then, break up the soil with a spade, hoe, garden fork, or core aerator, continuing to remove rocks and debris as you go. If your grass seed lacks fertilizer, add a slow-release fertilizer to the soil before planting.

The goal is to keep the top layer of soil moist at all times, so water grass seed once or twice a day until it germinates. How much and how often depends on where you live and what the weather is like. When your seedlings reach about an inch tall, you can switch to watering every other day. After a few weeks, when the grass has established, weekly or bi-weekly watering should suffice.

Why Trust The Spruce?

The Spruce contributor Theresa Holland is an experienced commerce writer, with several years of experience covering home improvement. She’s spent countless hours researching yard care and landscaping products, not only for the content she writes but also for personal use. You can see more of her home-related stories on MyDomaine.

The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

The Best Grass Seed for the Northeast of 2022. Bob Vila. https://www.bobvila.com/articles/best-grass-seed-for-northeast/

Rocha, Inês et al. Seed Coating: A Tool for Delivering Beneficial Microbes to Agricultural Crops. Frontiers in Plant Science, vol. 10. pp. 1357, 2019. doi:10.3389/fpls.2019.01357

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