What Is a Good Grass Seed for Hard Clay?

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What Is a Good Grass Seed for Hard Clay?
Choosing the right grass seed for clay soil helps eliminate bare patches. (Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

A green lawn provides a finishing touch to your landscape and a layer of insulation over the soil, and it gives your kids and pets a soft place to play. Hard, compact soils that contain high amounts of clay can result in poor germination, sparse growth and a patchy appearance. While most varieties of grass seed prefer loose, medium-textured soils, some varieties tolerate clay soils. Amending clay soil with compost will help enhance the health of new grass seed.

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Low-Maintenance Grass

Low-maintenance grass generally requires less frequent mowing, watering and fertilising. Centipede grass is an easy grass seed to grow in a variety of soils, including ones with heavy clay content. This variety of grass will not tolerate heavy foot traffic, extended droughts or high pH levels. It grows in full sun to partial shade.

Coarse-Leaf Grass

Most coarse-leaf varieties of grass are capable of standing up under moderate amounts traffic, making them suitable varieties for some play areas, pet yards and sporting fields. St. Augustinegrass is one variety of grass seed that tolerates clay soil. This type of grass adapts to sunny or shady areas and grows in well-drained soil compositions. Fertilising in May and June will provide the necessary nutrients for optimal growth.

Prairie Grass

Whether you graze livestock or feed wildlife, selecting clay-tolerant grass seed will help ensure a healthy crop. Alkali Sacaton is a long-lived grass that grows to about 3 feet tall in fields and prairies with clay soils. This variety of grass forms long roots that penetrate deeply into the packed soil. The best time to graze this prairie grass is while it is still succulent and moist.

Aggressive Grass

While gardeners with rich, loamy soil may loathe Bermudagrass, this type of grass allows gardeners with clay soils to achieve a thick carpet of green. Bermudagrass is a warm-season variety that resists droughts, disease and wear. It establishes quickly and thrives in bright sunlight. It does not tolerate shady locations and can spread aggressively into neighbouring flowerbeds and garden plots.

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