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A complete guide to establishing a beautiful lawn grass for a third of the cost of sod! For information on which lawn grass variety will best fit your application please feel free to contact us and we will be happy to assist you!


Lawn grasses can be very difficult to maintain without the proper knowledge of your specific area, soil condition and geographical climate. Here at Hancock Seed Company we strive to provide all the information needed to successfully establish a life long lawn grass from seed. Our goal is to provide high quality lawn grass seed, proper planting instructions, and feasible maintenance instructions for a quality environmentally friendly lawn.

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Lawn Grass Seed: Florida

The lawn is an integral part of the landscape and provides many important benefits in our increasingly urbanized environment. A lawn not only increases the land's aesthetic and economic value, it also creates a recreational surface, controls erosion, filters pollutants, and supplies oxygen.

Florida grasses vary widely in their adaptive abilities, so choose your turfgrass wisely. Table 1 provides information to assist in your selection. The following questions may serve as guidelines.

1. What Lawn Do You Want?

Lawns require different levels of maintenance. Do you want a lawn that is highly manicured and carefully tended? Or are you looking for an average lawn that will require a moderate work input? Perhaps you're looking for something more naturalized, with less grass and more plantings of other types.

Most turfgrass will respond to a range of maintenance levels, but there is an optimum level for each grass. A zoysiagrass or St. Augustinegrass lawn will not perform well without supplemental irrigation during dry spells. Argentine Bahiagrass is able to survive without supplemental irrigation, and with proper establishment may form a dense, lush, dark green lawn, as some of the other grass species will not. With current Florida water restrictions increasing Argentine Bahiagrass is becoming more popular as a low maintenance, drought resistant easily established replacment for St. Augustine lawns.

Maintenance levels are closely related to cost and time. High-maintenance turf costs the most and takes the most time to maintain. Whether you do the work yourself or pay to have it done, you should realistically assess your ability to maintain your lawn before choosing a grass.

2. What Are Your Site's Limitations?

Irrigation: Water quantity and quality are a factor. Do you have an irrigation system? Will you rely on a hose and sprinkler? On rainfall? What is the pH of your water? Do you have elevated salt levels? Are you using fresh (potable) water, or reclaimed waste water?

Mowing: Are you prepared to mow? Most Florida lawn grass varieties should be mowed weekly or bi-monthly at 3-4 inches. Some premium varieties may require mowing heights of 2-3 inches.

Soil type, pH, drainage, and other soil characteristics: It is important to soil test before planting a lawn. The information that you need includes soil pH, soil nutrient availability, and amount of compaction, which can affect drainage. It is also important to know your soil type. Sandy soils tend to dry out faster than clay based soils. Argentine Bahiagrass is known to develop soil density and moisture retention with its extensive root structure and strong sod base.

Shade: The amount of shade the turf will receive can limit the selection of suitable grasses. In general, shady areas need to receive at least 6 hours of sunlight per day for any of the warm-season grasses to grow well.

And please remember: Cost of installation and establishment should not be the primary reason for your choice. A lawn is a long-term investment, and the grass you choose for your lawn should be one you can commit to maintaining.

Region of Adaption: Grasses grown in Florida are maintained in a totally different way from those grown in the northern regions of the United States. Northern-grown grasses (such as fescue, bluegrass, and ryegrass) will grow in Florida only during the fall, winter, and early spring months and will not survive year-round. Some turfgrasses can be planted statewide, while others perform best in the panhandle and north Florida regions.

Soil Conditions: Soil conditions vary widely within Florida. Many of our coastal regions tend to have sandy, high-pH soils. In central Florida, soil pH will generally be lower, and soil types may range from sand to muck. In north Florida, soils tend to have more clay and low soil pH.
Varieties such as Centipedegrass, Bermudagrass and Bahiagrass, grow best in acidic soils. Micronutrient deficiencies can be a problem if these grasses are grown in high-pH (alkaline) soils.

Environmental Stress Tolerances: Environmental stress can affect all grasses, and no environment is completely free from stress. It is important to reduce as many of these stresses as possible for healthy turfgrass growth, and to consider these limitations when selecting a grass type (see Table 1). Bahiagrass is one of the most stress tolerant warm season lawn grass varieties available.

Drought Tolerance: Drought tolerance is a measure of how well turf will survive extended dry periods. Bahiagrass and Centipedegrass have good drought tolerance, while St. Augustinegrass does not perform well during extended dry periods.

Salt Tolerance: In coastal areas, turf can be subjected to salt stress. Salt stress comes from irrigation water, saltwater intrusion, and salt spray from the ocean. Most grasses will not grow well in this type of environment, but Seashore Paspalum thrives in a salt-affected sites.Zoysiagrass, Bermudagrass, and St. Augustinegrass all tolerate moderate to high levels of salinity, while Bahiagrass and Centipedegrass have less tolerance for salt.

Shade Tolerance: Turfgrasses vary widely in their shade tolerance. Both St. Augustinegrass and Zoysiagrass have good shade tolerance compared with other warm-season grasses, but still require at least 6 hours of sunlight daily for most cultivars.

Wear Tolerance: Wear tolerance is a measure of how well a grass continues to grow after being walked or played upon. Wear tolerance can determine whether or not a grass will be able to survive in an area of moderate traffic. Zoysiagrass and bermudagrass have good wear tolerance.

Major Pest Problems: All grasses have some pest problems, although bahiagrass and centipedegrass are generally less affected by pests than other species. Some of these pests can be managed through cultural practices such as proper fertilization, irrigation, and mowing, while others may require chemical controls. Each turfgrass has a major pest that could limit its use. Proper management practices can help keep most pest problems to a minimum.

Major insect pests: The most common pests are chinch bugs, grubs, mole crickets, ground pearls, webworms, spittlebugs, and billbugs. Most of our grasses have at least one insect pest that may cause problems. Insect pressure may be affected by fertilization, irrigation, temperature, season, and other factors. Pests may also be introduced from neighboring yards.

Major turf diseases: The major turf diseases include brown or large patch (Rhizoctonia), dollar spot (Sclerotinia), root rot (Pythium), take-all (Gaeumannomyces), and gray leaf spot (Pyricularia). Disease pathogens are often present in the soil, but populations may only become elevated in the presence of a susceptible host and favorable conditions, such as excess moisture or fertilizer.

Nematodes: Nematodes are microscopic worms that live in moist soil environments. They feed on grass roots and can severely limit turf growth and health if present in large quantities. There are no chemical controls for nematodes in a home lawn, so proper cultural practices and selection are important.

Leaf Texture: Leaf texture is a relative measure of the leaf blade width. Leaf textures may be coarse, medium, or fine. Texture choice is merely a visual preference unless the grass is important for a sport, such as golf. Most southern lawn grasses are coarser in leaf texture than those grown further north (e.g., fescue, bluegrass and ryegrass). This is especially true of the three most used lawn grasses in Florida (St. Augustinegrass, bahiagrass, and centipedegrass).

Zoysia Lawns: Many of the seeded Zoysiagrasses now available for home lawn use have finer leaf textures than St. Augustinegrass. For more information on Zoysia Lawn Seed please: Contact us.

Turf Density: Turf density represents the number of leaves or shoots per area of the ground. Species with a high density and finer leaf texture generally produce better quality lawns.

Turf with a lower density and coarser leaf texture often require a higher mowing height to produce an acceptable quality lawn. Higher-density warm-season varieties include Centipede, Hybrid Bermudagrasses, Argentine Bahiagrass and Zoysiagrass. Pensacola Bahiagrass has a lower stand density than other warm-season grasses, but performs well for boundry areas, pastures and ground cover.

Maintenance Level: Some grasses, typically those that are mowed at lower heights and have fine leaf textures, require more maintenance than other grass species. This is due to their rate of growth and susceptibility to pests.

  • Turfgrass species grow at different rates.
  • Each grass has its optimum level of fertilization, mowing, and irrigation.
  • As more water and fertilizer are applied to the turf, more mowing and pest control may be needed.
  • Bahiagrass and Centipedegrass are examples of low-maintenance turfgrasses. Low-maintenance turf should be fertilized one to two times a year, mowed as needed (often just to remove seedheads), and may or may not be irrigated.

    High-maintenance turf should be fertilized throughout the growing season and mowed weekly. In some cases, excess fertilization may result in increased pest pressure, but adequate fertilization is required to maintain a healthy turf.

    Mowing

    Taller mowing heights allow for more leaf surface for photosynthesis, deeper root systems, and better drought tolerance. Mowing turf below its recommended height can stress the grass and subject it to invasion by weeds, insects and diseases. Turf mowing frequency will vary seasonally and will depend somewhat on the species. Lawn clippings should be left on the lawn rather than bagged. This will add both organic matter and nutrients back into the soil, and may reduce the need for fertilization throughout the year. Lawn clippings do not typically contribute to thatch.

    Establishment Methods

    Seeding: Seeding is the easiest and most economical way of establishing a lawn. Success depends on seed quality, proper seeding time, rate, and method of seeding. Lawn Seed Planting Guide!

    Sprigging or Plugging: It is also possible to "plug" or "sprig" a lawn. "Plugging" means planting a pre-potted turf section with roots and shoots intact. Plugs are spaced at a specified distance from one another and grow together by lateral stems. "Sprigging" is a planting technique using a piece of shredded sod. Individual pieces of stems are spread over the soil surface and then partially inserted into the soil. These applications can be time consuming, expensive and are not recomended for inexperienced homeowners.

    St. Augustinegrass is not available in seed and must be planted by one of the vegetative methods described above. Seeding of some other species is also limited to certain cultivars (varieties of species).

    Proper preparation and planning is the key to establishing a good lawn by any method. For more information, please refer to EDIS publication ENH02, "Preparing to Plant a Florida Lawn.

    Table 1. Comparison of lawngrasses available for use throughout Florida.
    Environment Bahia Bermuda Carpet Centipede Seashore Paspalum St. Augustine Zoysia
    Area Adapted Statewide Statewide Wet Areas Statewide Statewide Statewide Statewide
    Mowing Height (inches) 3-4 .5-1.5 1.5-2 1.5-2 1-2 1.5-4 1-2
    Soil Acid, Sandy Wide Range Acid, Wet Acid, Infertile Wide Range Wide Range Wide Range
    Leaf Texture Coarse-Medium Fine-Medium Medium Medium Fine-Medium Coarse-Medium Fine-Medium
    Drought Tolerance Excellent Good Poor Medium Good Very Poor Medium
    Salt Tolerance Poor Good Poor Poor Excellent Good Good
    Shade Tolerance Poor Poor Fair Fair Poor Good Good
    Wear Tolerance Excellent Good-Excellent Poor Poor Good-Excellent Poor Good-Excellent
    Nematod Tolerance Very Good Poor Poor Poor Good Good Poor
    Maintenance Levels Low Medium Low Low Medium Very High High
    Uses Lawns Athletic Fields Wet Areas Lawns Lawns, Atlethic, Golf Lawns Lawns
    Establishment Methods Seed, Sod Seed, Sod, Sprigs, Plugs Seed, Sprigs Seed, Sod, Sprigs, Plugs Seed, Sod, Sprigs, Plugs Sod, Sprigs, Plugs Seed, Sod, Sprigs, Plugs
    - Courtesy of http://turf.ufl.edu/
    • Yukon Bermuda Grass Seed
      -25 lb. Bag

      ***Yukon is currently on backorder and expected in the last week of September. We will ship out ASAP*** Yukon Bermuda Grass Seed - Yukon Bermuda Grass is a seeded turf type bermuda grass is the best choice for turf managers who need a seeded bermuda grass, no matter what bermuda growing zone they are in, world-wide! Developed by the Oklahoma State University Turf grass Research Team, in conjunction with the USGA, Yukon’s five parental plants were selected in 1990 from a cold hardy study, based on their high turf quality. Yukon is the most dramatic improvement in seeded bermuda grass...

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    • Hancock's Highlander Turf Bermuda
      -50, 25, 10, 6, 2 lb. Bag

      Hancock's Highlander Turf Bermuda is the best option for a successful bermuda lawn or turf application (golf course, athletic field, etc). Hancock Seed Company hand selected the Highlander variety due to its breeding and optimal characteristics. Hancock's Highlander Bermuda grows rapidly and will thrive in hot weather or full sun. This bermuda is also know to produce a lush, dense turf that will be less subject to weed issues and invasion. Once established, Highlander Bermuda is extremely drought tolerant and disease resistant. This is a top choice for overseeding existing bermuda turf or starting an...

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    • Riviera Bermuda Grass Seed
      -25lb. Bag

      Riviera Bermuda Grass Seed - Riviera Bermuda Grass Seed is used for lawn grass and turf grass applications in the warm season and transition zone area. Riviera Bermuda Grass seeds provide a exceptional lawn grass with turf quality characteristics. Riviera Bermuda grass is one of the highest quality bermuda grass varieties available in seeded form. Riviera Bermuda is designed for premium turf grass applications such as golf course tees, fairways and greens. Riviera Bermuda grass is a great choice for premium home lawn applications as well. For orders over 100 lbs. please use our eQuote system for DISCOUNTS! Riviera Bermuda...

    • Pensacola Bahia Grass Seed
      -50,25,10 lb. Bag

      Pensacola Bahia Grass Seed - Pensacola Bahia grass seed is used for lawn and pasture applications in the southern climates. Pensacola Bahia Grass Seed is commonly used for lawns, pastures and roadside applications from North Carolina to California. Pensacola Bahia grass is excellent for sandy soils that many other grasses struggle to survive. Our Pensacola Bahia grass seed is harvested, processed and distributed from Hancock Seed Company insuring the highest quality Pensacola Bahia grass seed available. Pensacola Bahia grass seed is commonly used for lawn and pasture applications across the Southern United States including Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Louisiana, Alabama,...

    • Argentine Bahia Grass Seed
      -50,25,10 lb. Bag

      Argentine Bahia Grass Seed - Argentine Bahia grass seed is the best lawn grass and pasture grass seed available in our opinion for the Southern climates especially Florida. Argentine Bahia grass makes an excellent low maintenance permanent lawn grass or pasture grass. Argentine Bahia grass is very drought tolerant, deep rooted and has exceptional disease and insect resistance. Argentine Bahia grass makes an excellent pasture grass for horses, cattle and any other type of livestock. Seed Rate: 50-100 lbs per acre; 5-10 lbs. per 1000 sq. ft. Seed Depth: 1/4 inch Planting Time: Spring - Summer pH: 5.5 - 6.5 Fertilizer: 16-04-08 Plant Argentine Bahia grass...

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    • Tifton 9 Bahia Grass Seed
      -40,20 lb. Bag - Certified

      Tifton 9 Bahia Grass Seed (Certified) - Tifton 9 Bahia grass is considered a very durable pasture grass for horses. Tifon 9 bahia grows faster than regular Pensacola Bahia grass, provides more drought tolerance and better frost resistance. Tifton-9 is an improved Pensacola Bahiagrass variety that was bred and developed by Dr. Glen Burton, Agricultural Research Service, U.S.D.A., and the Georgia Coastal Plain Experiment Station. It has several improved characteristics. Tifton-9 produces 30 to 40% more forage per year than the old Pensacola variety from which it was developed. See Table 1 for yield comparisons at Gainesville, FL. Tifton 9...

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    • Un-Certified Tifton 9 Bahia Grass Seed
      -50 lb. Bag

      Tifton 9 Bahia Grass Seed (Certified) - Tifton 9 Bahia grass is considered a very durable pasture grass for horses. Tifon 9 bahia grows faster than regular Pensacola Bahia grass, provides more drought tolerance and better frost resistance. Tifton-9 is an improved Pensacola Bahiagrass variety that was bred and developed by Dr. Glen Burton, Agricultural Research Service, U.S.D.A., and the Georgia Coastal Plain Experiment Station. It has several improved characteristics. Tifton-9 produces 30 to 40% more forage per year than the old Pensacola variety from which it was developed. See Table 1 for yield comparisons at Gainesville, FL. Tifton 9...

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    • Compadre Zoysia Grass Seed
      -25,10,5,1 lb. Bag

      Compadre Zoysia Grass Seed - Compadre Zoysia is wear tolerant and can be used on golf courses, athletic fields (baseball, softball and soccer), lawns and parks. In the south, Compadre has good shade tolerance while in the cooler areas it needs more sun. Compadre is a popular grass for the coastal areas due to its increased tolerance for salt spray. It is also extremely tolerant of high salt concentrations in both irrigation water and soil. Compadre requires lower maintenance with natural weed suppression and lower fertilizer and water requirements. Seed Rate: 1-3 lbs. per 1000 sq. ft.; 40 - 80 lbs...

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    • Zenith Zoysia Seed
      -30 lb. (Factory Pack), 6 lb. Bag

      Zenith Zoysia Grass Seed - Zenith Zoysia is considered one of the most beautiful lawn grass species available from seed. Zenith Zoysia is a warm season lawn grass grown throughout the central and southern climates around the world. Zenith Zoysia is in the Japonica family, as is Meyer Zoysia, and is similar in many respects, including blade width and color. It is somewhat less and dense, thus making it easier to mow providing a better opportunity for interseeding with tall fescue for a year-round color. Zenith grows well in full sun or under light shade, and is presumed to have good...

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    • Centipede Grass Seed
      -50,25,10,6,2 lb. Bag (Coated)

      Centipede Grass Seed - Coated - Our Coated Centipede grass seed is very popular for home lawns in the Southeastern US including Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina, Louisiana and Arkansas. Centipede grass is a low maintenance, low growing crawling lawn grass with medium leaf texture and pale green color. Centipede lawn grass varieties require little to no chemical treatments growing well in poor soils, full sun or partial shade with little or low maintenance or fertilization. Centipede grass is also preferred for its drought tolerance and little mowing requirements. Centipede Grass History: Centipedegrass (Eremochloa ophiuroides) was introduced into...

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    • TifBlair Centipede Grass Seed
      -30 lb. Bag (Factory Pack)

      TifBlair Centipede Seed - TifBlair Centipede has proven to be a improved variety of Centipede grass through research trials over the last few years. TifBlair centipede is commonly used for home lawns, parks, roadsides and landscape projects. TifBlair centipede lawns require 50% less mowing than other lawn grass varieties. TifBlair centipede is a fast and aggressive lawn grass variety. It will continue to spread after it is established choking out weeds and other grasses. TifBlair centipede grass is a excellent choice for home lawns in the Southeast. Advantages of TifBlair TifBlair Centipede is more cold tolerant and produces...

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    • Penn A-4 Bentgrass Seed
      -25 lb. Pail

      Penn A-4 Bentgrass Seed - Penn A-4 is dark green with fine leaf texture, exceptional heat and cold tolerance, high density, disease resistance, and aggressive growth habit. Penn A-4 provides a smooth grainless putting surface. Penn A-4 will also provide a good playing surface for tees and fairways. Dark green color Fine leaf texture Aggressive growth habit Exceptional heat and cold tolerance Recommended seeding rates: New plantings: 1.0 to 1.5 lbs/1,000 sq ft 0.1 to for Interseeding: 0.25 lbs/1,000 sq ft Penn A-4 Bentgrass has proven to be adaptable to various conditions. University data shows that Penn A-4 is able to compete against grassy weeds such...

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    • Penn A-1 Bentgrass Seed
      -25. lb. Pail

      Penn A-1 Bentgrass Seed - Penn A-1 Bentgrass has a very dark green coloration, fine leaf texture, tremendous heat and cold tolerance, very high density and superior disease resistance. It has very good winter color and spring green-up. It provides a superb putting surface and will provide an excellent playing surface on tees and fairways, too. Dr. Joe Duich developed these new Penn bentgrasses from plant selections that exhibit dense, upright growth, fine leaf texture and the ability to tolerate low cutting heights as well as high heat and humidity. Today, the A’s and G’s are recognized as some of the...

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    • PennCross Bentgrass Seed
      -25 lb. Pail

      PennCross Bentgrass Seed - Penn Cross Bent Grass competes with Poa annua on putting greens, tees and fairways. PennCross Bent grass breeding began with 156 vegetatively propagated bentgrasses and was later reduced to 21. These were crossed for turf performance, and the components were tested under a wide variety of locations in the U.S. and Canada. Results show that PennCross bentgrass has wide adaptability, tight, upright growth characteristics and fine leaf texture. Characteristics: Strong seedling vigor Aggressive growth and good wear tolerance Medium dark green color Good Dollar Spot resistance Recommended Use: Golf Courses (fairways, tees and greens) and Winter Overseeding of Bermudagrass Greens Establishment & Maintenance:...

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    • PennEagle II Bentgrass Seed
      -25 lb. Pail

      PennEagle Bentgrass Seed - After 18 years of research and testing, Penneagle was the first bentgrass variety developed specifically for fairways. Compared to Penncross, it provides a wider range of adaptability, along with a tighter upright growth habit. Incredibly popular thanks to its finer leaf but dense canopy, its ability to tolerate saline and effluent water, and its ability to crowd out Poa annua, the next generation, Penneagle II, is now available with the same strong characteristics as Penneagle plus much greater resistance to brown patch. Characteristics: Excellent Brown Patch resistance Medium dark green color Good Dollar Spot resistance Recommended Use: Golf Courses...

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    • Perennial Ryegrass
      -50 lb. Bag

      HANCOCK (15-PR 479) perennial ryegrass is a new signature variety directed towards adapting to climate change. Because resources for maintaining professional turf continue to be limited, choosing the right variety is critical to maintaining healthy turf. Recent results from the National Turf Evaluation Program put Hancock in the top ten for salt and wear tolerance, with good resistance to most common turf diseases. Hancock forms a beautiful dark green turf, with early spring greenup, fine leaves and excellent density. ADAPTATION HANCOCK is designed for areas where reclaimed water will be used for irrigation. Applied as a straight or using Hancock in...

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    • Interlude Perennial Ryegrass Seed
      -50 lb. Bag

      Interlude Perennial Ryegrass was introduced in the fall of 2008, the offspring of only the best performing breeder plants. You expect that modern turf type perennial ryegrasses will possess outstanding turf qualities and Interlude does not disappoint. Dark color and fine leaf texture make it an excellent choice as a stand alone variety or as a component of mixtures and blend. Interlude is well suited for many applications, including fairway overseeding, home lawns, athletic fields and general purpose areas. Interlude is a perennial ryegrass that will deliver the performance you need and expect. Applications: Winter overseeding on Bermuda Sod on golf courses, atheletic...

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    • Futura 3000 Perennial Ryegrass Blend
      -50 lb. Bag

      Futura 3000 Perennial Ryegrass Blend Futura 3000 offers a distinct blend of the newest and best perennial ryegrasseses. Futura 3000 is adaptable to almost any application area. Futura 3000 prides itself on the versatility as it can be used for any occasion and in any location and is sure to satisfy most. Futura 3000 is a combination of the most recent and best turf-type perennial ryegrass. This blend is continually being updated to reflect newer seeds in the market. The current blend is; Express II Perennial Ryegrass, Dasher 3 Perennial Ryegrass, Roadster Perennial Ryegrass. Futura 3000...

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    • Texas Tough Brand (Turf Type) Perennial Ryegrass

      Texas Tough Perennial Ryegrass is a mixture of three superior seed varieties selected for: Very fine texture Dark blue-green color Excellent disease resistance Superior seed vigor Shade tolerance Aggressive, wear tolerant turf Seeding Recommendations: Athletic Fields and Home Lawns: Apply 5-10 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft Winter over-seeding for fairways and roughs: Apply 5-10 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft. Recommended...

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    • Carpetgrass Seed
      -50,25,10,5,2,1 lb. Bag (Coated)

      Carpetgrass Seed - Carpetgrass is primarily used in lawn, pasture and landscape applications in the south. This grass has the ability to withstand saturated soils and will tolerate periods of standing water. Carpetgrass is used in coastal and low lying areas. Carpetgrass is a creeping, warm season perennial grass that is native to the West Indies. Carpetgrass was introduced into the United States in the early 1800s and has become naturalized in the southeastern states, especially on poorly drained soils. Carpetgrass physically resembles centipede grass in terms of leaf density and shape. Seeding Rate: 3-5 lbs. per 1000 sq. ft....

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    • Plant Lawn Grass Seed