mtvhike

Proper grass for 4a - northern New York

mtvhike
last month

What kind of grass is recommended for zone 4a - the Champlain Valley in northern NY. Most Big Box stores seem to use the regular Scott's rye grass mixture, but one seems to stock mostly Fescue. What's best? Soil is sandy loam. Full SW sun exposure and cold winters.

Comments (7)

  • morpheuspa (6B/7A, E. PA)
    last month

    All of the Big Three...Fescue, Rye, and Kentucky Bluegrass--are good to go for you. A nice, sandy loam with full sun will support any of those, and as to which you choose...I might go with a mix and let whoever wins the argument take the field.

    Each have their advantages. Well-fed, all will do well.

    Bluegrasses will self-repair, which the others won't, and don't need reseeding if you care for the lawn.

    Ryes tend to feature the best winter performance...but that's not really going to be a factor for you as your winters are simply too cold for grasses to stay awake the way they will for me in Zone 7A.

    Fescues stand in the middle with nothing in particular to recommend them in terms of interesting biological characteristics. They're really nice grasses, though, and very attractive.


    The proper time to seed is when the weather just starts to turn from summer to fall, when evenings just begin to fall off summer highs. For me, that's August 15th or so--for you, it could be August 1st. Or, earlier than most people think. You want germination to happen during warm days, and the first growth when the sun is warm and bright--plus, bluegrasses can take up to 30 days to fully germinate and sprout (fescue and rye, 14 days).

  • mishmosh
    last month

    Up north, Kentucky Bluegrass is king. Fine fescues are. also good for shadier areas. I would recommend no more than 10% perennial ryegrass to serve as a nurse grass. Modern turf type tall fescues are just as dark as bluegrass and fairly narrow bladed so blend well in a mix with KBG. Bottom line, I'd avoid any mix that wasn't predominantly KBG.

  • danielj_2009
    last month

    www.seedsuperstore.com One of the regulars here, Joe, used this place and is happy with his results. You can enter your zip code and they recommend a seed blend. I'm considering a redo and I am hoping to use them or similar place along with morpheus' guidance (fingers crossed) to make the best decision.

  • mtvhike
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Well, i missed the date for spring seeding; should I wait for August or do it now (and again in August, if need be)? Its been in the 80s and 90s this week, but its going down to the 30s this weekend and lows in the 40s for the rest of next week, after some rain. A friend recommended I get some chopped straw to put over the seed and I purchased some. They were out of the plain straw but they had some with a water-initiated binder mixed in (Lucerne Farms "mainly mulch", heat treated hay and straw mixture). I'm thinking about taking it back, or should I use it anyway?

  • mishmosh
    last month

    I think it's too late to seed and be successful. Early August is definitely better.

  • danielj_2009
    last month

    Straw is unnecessary and can introduce weeds, even thought it is just listed as straw. As long as you can water frequently the straw doesn't do anything.

  • morpheuspa (6B/7A, E. PA)
    last month

    That. Peat moss, on the other hand, can be quite helpful. No weeds (it's ancient stuff even if it's "recent"), quite light, and will work into the soil on its own after the seeding is done.

    Or use nothing and simply water regularly--two to three times a day--in August when you seed.

    But definitely skip seeding right now. It'll sprout, but die in July.

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