The Best Grass Seed for Clay

Updated February 21, 2017

Matching the right type of grass seed with existing soil conditions is important when seeding new lawns, golf courses, parks or athletic fields. Several types of grass seed tolerate and adapt to a variety of soil conditions including clay; many types prefer a clay soil. Knowing the specific sowing requirements, such as soil temperature, watering and fertilising, is important for a successful lawn.

Buffalo Grass

This is a native turf grass found primarily in the Great Plains from Montana to Mexico. It is a perennial grass that is common to south-central and western parts of Texas. Buffalo grass prefers to grow in clay soils and in areas where the annual rainfall is between 15 and 30 inches. It does not grow well in areas with heavy foot traffic or in shady areas. This type of grass is low-growing and low maintenance; it does not require a lot of mowing or fertilising. Watering buffalo grass with 1 inch of water each week keeps it green throughout the summer months. Treated seed -- which has been induced to break domancy -- has a higher germination rate and should be used when seeding during the spring or summer.

Tall Fescue

Europe introduced this grass into the United States in the early 1800s. Tall fescue is a perennial grass that is grown from the Northwest to portions of the South. It can tolerate a wide range of soil conditions but prefers to grow in well-draining clay soil. This grass is drought tolerant, but grows best in a moist environment. Tall fescue grows particularly well in transition states such as Oklahoma, Arkansas and Tennessee. These are states where the summers are too harsh for cool-season grasses and the winters are too cold for the warm-weather grasses. Maintaining tall fescue requires periodic fertilisation, keeping it mowed to a height no less than 2 inches and proper watering. When planting, use 2.72 to 3.63kg. of seed per 1,000 square feet and keep the area moist for 14 to 21 days.


Bermuda grass is the grass of choice for golf courses, sports fields, lawns and in parks worldwide. This type of grass prefers a warm climate and mild winters. In the United States it is found predominately from New Jersey, south to Florida and west to Texas and Kansas. Bermuda grass grows in a variety of soil types, including heavy clay. When seeding, the soil temperature is critical; it should be between 20 and 23.9 degrees Celsius for germination. Bermuda grass prefers to grow in full sun. When growing Bermuda grass in clay soil, you can water less frequently; clay soil typically holds and retains more water than other soil types.

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