Want less lawn work? Start with the seeds.

Low-mow lawn from Eco-Lawn seed, Wildflower Farm.

If you are a lawn owner, perhaps you’ve wondered if there’s a way reduce the commitment and still have healthy grass. According to some in the turf industry, there is—and it starts with the seeds.

We’re not talking here about a conventional lawn gone feral, nor the patchy grass that some call “freedom lawns” or “organic by neglect.” These seed mixes bear labels such as “low-mow,” “low-work-and-water,” or “drought-tolerant.” What do we need to know in order to shop wisely for these low-input lawn seeds?

Understanding seed descriptions

Seed descriptions

They're so small, but not so simple. Seeds seem as though they should be easy to buy, but there is actually a lot to know.

There's treated and untreated seed, referring to the use of materials and processes to reduce the incidence of bacteria and diseases that are carried by the seed to the next generation of plants. There are organic, ecologically grown, and conventional seeds. What’s this about patented varieties? And how do we sort out discussions of germination rates, disease-resistance, and performance under various weather conditions?

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