I've been reading a lot about types of lawn seed and lawn maintenance. It seems like KBG, ryegrass, and tall/fine fescue are the most common blends in the north east. It seems some are better for certain conditions over others. For example: full sun, full shade, sun and shade, etc.

What is the actual definition of a low maintenance lawn? Does that mean a lawn that you have to cut less? One that you have to water less? Or one you have to fertilize less? Or, all the the above?

Based on that definition, what is a blend of type of seed that falls into this definition of low maintenance for the northeast? Is it a specific type of seed or a combination blend of two? I am asking regardless of my conditions (sun, shade, or both), I just want to know what a low maintenance lawn means under the conditions that it can thrive correctly so I understand. I have neighbors near me that seem to rarely water and cut their lawns yet they are nice and green, well filled in, and not overgrown. Yet I seem to have lawn that grows fast and needs to be cut more frequently.

2 Answers 2


As far as I'm concerned, a low maintenance lawn is whatever green stuff puts up with being mown short enough to differentiate it from a hayfield. If I put seed into one, it's likely to be white clover. If it's "weeds" I'm not concerned unless they have thorns or poisons.

Deep roots, which come from not cutting it too short, will help with staying green while not watering. Not watering or fertilizing, especially Nitrogen, will help with not growing so fast. Natural selection will sort out what species are in various microclimates, and unnatural selection will sort out tolerance to being cut off 3-4 inches above the ground on a regular basis.


Hopefully you mean cool season grasses. Easy to make into a 'low maintenance' lawn. Rules are: Cut HIGH (no shorter than 3") next, water deeply and allow to dry before watering again...this trains the roots to grow deep and become drought resistant. Do not water unless you walk on the lawn and you can still see your footprints. Shows the grass is dehydrated. THEN water deeply, soaking the soil down at least 4" and going to 6" later.

Mow once per week OR MORE. Sharp sharp blades. Collect clippings to use thinly on the back of plant beds on top of weeds. Aerate once per year, minimum. Fertilize 4X per year with fast release Scotts or Ortho.

More expensive full spectrum organic slow release stuff is remarkable. Fertilizing is cut back to twice or three times per season. Slower but amazing. Also seeds your lawn with thatch eating bacteria and mycorrhizae.

THREE INCHES no shorter. Not kidding. Our cool season grasses have genetically large root systems unlike warm season grasses. That means there has to be enough photosynthetic top growth to FEED those roots. THREE INCHES. Grins, not 2 1/2"...the water per week will be 1". Saves lots of money. You'll have green grass when other's lawns go dormant (not healthy for lawns at all). There is lots of lawn care info on our site you should check out. This is the MINIMUM amount of work a lawn would take and still be vigorous and healthy and weed free lawn. Are you watering everyday now? Have you aerated? A cool neighborhood get together project. Aerating is quick and easy and when everyone chips in all the lawns will benefit...the cost will be minuscule even if you rented the core aerator for a few hours...(30, 40 bucks tops) just for yourself. Leave cores where they land and allow to dry up and disappear by themselves. So good for a lawn.

  • What is the address to your site with the lawn care info? Also, every time you answer one of my questions you harp on "no less than 3 inches" - great consistent messaging! May 5, 2017 at 15:55
  • Sorry, but it is such a tough idea to get across yet so vital to cool season grasses. I pity those with warm season grasses. They aren't able to control depth and vigor of root systems, block out light to control weed seed germination. Ugh, their grasses are actually awful weeds. There are tons of question/answers on THIS site where you will find not a single answer of mine without that 3" gig. The cool thing is each answer deals with slightly different situations. Get a soil test if you are able. A low maintenance lawn comes about by knowledgeable management practices. No more guessing
    – stormy
    May 5, 2017 at 17:37

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