Home Buying Guides A Buying Guide for the Best Grass Seed for Clay Soils  

A Buying Guide for the Best Grass Seed for Clay Soils  

by Jackson White

Clay is known for containing nutrients, less air, and more water; air is needed by the grasses roots as it assists them to grow deeply consequently producing a strong and vigorous lawn. The above is the reason why soil is normally perforated with small holes to allow aeration and obliterate soil compaction.

Clay soil has two characteristics that make gardeners run away from it, for one it can become waterlogged denying the plant’s roots oxygen, and on other occasions, it could become too dry, hard, and compact to dig through. However, some plants grow and thrive when planted in clay soil including some types of grass such as Miscanthus, the ornamental type of grass which does very well in clay.

Below is a consolidated list of some of the best grass seed for clay soils.

Comparison Table

Name
Seed coverage
Rating
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Scotts 18258 Builder Bermuda Grass Seed Mix Bag,
15,000sq. ft.
4 out of 5 stars
Kentucky 31 Tall Fescue 50lbs
50-pound bag covers up to 15,000sq. ft.
4 out of 5 stars
Outsidepride Tolerant Buffalo Lawn Grass Seed
2 - 3 lbs per 1,000 sq. ft.
3.3 out of 5 stars
Scotts Turf Grass Seed Zoysia Grass Seed and Mulch.
Seeds up to 2,000 sq. ft.
3.6 out of 5 stars
Outsidepride Fine Fescue Grass Seed
4 - 5 lbs per 1,000 square feet
4.1 out of 5 stars

Scotts 18258 Builder Bermuda Grass Seed Mix Bag, –grows faster in high temperatures

The Bermuda grass grows up to either 4 or 6 inches tall and is characteristic of short flat leaves and the reason why lawn owners love this grass is that it is drought resistant and can grow from absolutely any soil. It is also the type of grass that when given the right care it will grow a nice turf. And on the flip side, the Bermuda grass loves to thatch even when mowed frequently.

Once you get the seeds planted, you will obviously be curious about how long it will take to grow, so to shed some light is that once planted it will remain the same until spring where it will start to green up but that is also dependent on the weather. The grass, however, does well in high temperatures in that it can grow 24 hours a day but with lows of 70s.

And if you still have doubts whether this type of grass will do well in clay soil then it might interest you to know that the grass has a root system that produces deep rhizomes and it is probably the one that you see in most of the golf courses and the public parks.

Pros

  • Seeds up to 15,000 sq. ft.
  • Absorbs water more than uncoated seeds
  • Spreads aggressively to fill the lawn
  • Does well in different types of soil

Cons

  • Not all the seeds germinate
  • Takes long to sprout

Verdict

Seems like the Bermuda grass seed calls for a lot of patience with only a few of the seeds germinating.

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Kentucky 31 Tall Fescue 50lbs – is a low maintenance and economical type of grass

The Kentucky 31 tall fescue grass does exceptionally well on clay soil because its roots can go deep into the earth, which then allows the grass to thrive with limited access to moisture. These type of grass has garnered some few aka’s such as KY-31, or K-31, and yard owners love it because the seeds establish easily once planted, they are drought resistant and are heat tolerant when compared to other tall fescue varieties.

Some of its most admirable characteristics are that the grass has good high traffic tolerance; it is not going to cost you much because it is among the low maintenance and economical type of grass, and once it starts growing, you will not have to worry about it succumbing to diseases because it is a disease tolerant grass.

The grass naturally grows in clumps and spreads via the vertical shoots, yard owners can, therefore, sow their seeds, during the prime growth season or during spring.

Pros

  • Does not require a lot of water during growth
  • The seeds adapt easily to different types of soil
  • Good grass for the good looking lawns
  • The grass is disease resistant

Cons

  • Grows in patches with a lot of weeds
  • The seeds do not sprout easily

Verdict

Sowing the grass seeds has a lot to do with the environmental conditions some of which are not favorable for your seeds to successfully sprout. The Kentucky tall fescue seeds are however the best given that they are drought, traffic, and disease resistant.

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Outsidepride Buffalo Lawn Grass Seed – -stays green with minimal care

The buffalo lawn grass is a species with a unique mode of reproduction, for one it comes in two species the male and the female flowers, which are borne separately, the produced fruits are burlike and has an extensive root forming system. If you haven’t had the chance to interact with this type of lawn grass, then you will notice it for its carpet-like design of growth and spread.

The seeds when grown are characteristic fine-textured, featuring a gray to green or blue-green foliage that grows about 10 -12 inches long and proceeds to curl and drape over. The grass is known to stay green with minimal care and greens up pretty fast when compared to the Kentucky bluegrass. Before you finally plant your buffalo seeds, you will have to make some major soil improvements if you don’t want problems in the long run.

Pros

  • The buffalo grass is tolerant of traffic, drought, and cold climates
  • Doesn’t need constant mowing because of its low stature
  • The grass stabilizes the soil thus prevents erosion
  • Requires minimal to no care

Cons

  • The grass seeds retail at a hefty price
  • The grass best grows in dry climate

Verdict

The buffalo grass retails at a higher price but it is worth every penny because it requires little to no maintenance and people who live in dry areas will love the buffalo grass because it does well in under dry climate.

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Scotts Turf Grass Seed; Zoysia Grass Seed and Mulch, require constant maintenance

Zoysia seeds when grown will result in thick prickly carpet grass and if you are not patient enough then don’t buy these seeds because they take up to one year before it establishes itself in a lawn. The leaf blades are characteristic stiff and if you are not in the habit of mowing your lawn, then you will be presented with many seed heads.

There are different types of Zoysia, the first one being the Emerald Zoysia which is not only attractive but a fine-textured hybrid. This type of Zoysia will give your lawn a professional look but you must institute a good maintenance program.

There is also the Zoysia Japonica grass, that is also appealing thanks to its dark green color, the best feature about this species of grass is that it will outcompete the weeds once it is established and has a good shade tolerance. Zoysia does well in poor soils and will be a perfect candidate for those who are looking for grass to plant on clay soil.

When the Zoysia seeds are planted on clay they grow very fast and will cover any blank spots, without growing too tall. So, for as much as zoysia will grow on clay ensure that you aerate each spring and practice consistent thatch maintenance.

Pros

  • Zoysia grass is weed resistant
  • The species of grass is shade tolerant
  • The grass can adapt in different environments
  • Resistant to insects and diseases thus makes for a durable lawn

Cons

  • The grass will not stay green all year round
  • Zoysia requires constant care and maintenance as it becomes thick and can be difficult to mow

Verdict

For as much as the Zoysia seeds will do well in clay soil, there are a lot of care and maintenance procedures that have to be instituted for it to flourish. The grass, however, grows rather fast and will, give your lawn the cosmetic look.

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Outsidepride Legacy Fine Fescue Grass Seed offers the best cosmetic look

The fine fescue grass is available in five different species, some retailers, therefore, sell them as a blended mix and when planted they provide better turf vigor. This type of grass flourishes in tough soil conditions and it can, therefore, thrive when planted in sandy, rocky, or clay soil. You will also want to put some consideration in the climatic conditions as it does well in temperate and cooler regions, more especially the maritime and low mountainous climate.

The fine fescue seeds when planted grow very quickly and it is at times blended with the bluegrass and rye among other varieties of fescue. The legacy fine fescue grass seed is normally adopted for use in parks, lawns, golf courses, and yards among other public areas, the grasses leaves feature a medium green to blue-green color and with fine texture.

And even though they come in a variety of species most of them clump and form tufts except for the red creeping varieties that is known to spread by rhizomes.

Pros

  • Fine fescue thrives in difficult soil conditions
  • When fully established it is the best-looking carpet grass
  • The seeds germinate fast and cover the bald spots
  • Good quality grass that will shoot in less than 6 days

Cons

  • The grass will not survive in the high traffic areas
  • Dies as quickly as it sprouts

Verdict

Outside pride Fine Fescue is the name of this grass at least as regards the packaging of the seeds, and indeed it is the outside pride because it will give you an immaculate finish if sowed on the right soil and under the right climatic conditions. The fine fescue grass is for your eyes only, because if you plant it in areas with high traffic then you might as well forget that you planted it there, because, after all, it will not germinate and if it does, it will eventually die.

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How to plant in clay soil

Many plants can never survive in clay soil because this type of soil provides a difficult environment for them to thrive. However, there are some seeds that when planted in this environment will develop the required deep root system and thrive like the types of grasses discussed above.

So before you get down to planting your lawn grass, you have to prepare the soil, because with clay soil its structure denies plants the relevant minerals. You will, therefore, have to turn the soil over, to improve the structure and tilth of the soil. For the above you will have to combine the organic materials as you turn the clay over, then proceed to add animal manure; you can also add coarse sand, gypsum, compost, and the road base stones.

Avoid using chicken manure in the above process but be sure to incorporate a lot of compost, the organic materials must be carefully blended into the soil and completely ripped, to help break up the compacted soil and to enable proper root development.

Once you have planted the seeds, ensure that your lawn is provided with enough water (at least once a week) so that the roots can grow deep. And to keep your plants alive ensure to check for pest and diseases and once the grass has established, you can again sow seeds in the thinned areas. But if you feel this is too much work or maybe you don’t have time just find a landscaping professional or contact the lawn care companies for help.

Final thought

When it comes to lawn grass there is not a one size fits all type of grass because of the soil and climatic conditions, however, there are some tough species that will never succumb even on high traffic. So with regards to the use of your lawn the type of soil and the climatic conditions in your area, one of the grass seeds discussed above will suffice.

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