The Best Grass Seed for Overseeding of 2023

Overseeding creates a dense, lush stand of grass—and an overall healthier lawn.

Best Overall

The Best Grass Seed for Overseeding Option: Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed All-Purpose Mix

Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed All-Purpose Mix

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The Best Grass Seed for Overseeding Option: Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed High Traffic Mix

Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed High Traffic Mix

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Most Drought-Tolerant

The Best Grass Seed for Overseeding Option: Jonathan Green Black Beauty Grass Seed

Jonathan Green Black Beauty Grass Seed

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The best grass seed for overseeding a lawn will depend on the existing type of grass, the prevailing climate, and the soil type. After a few years, even the best-kept lawns can start to look sparse and worn out due to drought, under-watering, overwatering, or even growing a grass variety that’s not well suited to the region.

Overseeding a lawn with a superior variety of grass seed at least once every 3 years will keep the yard looking its best while helping it resist drought and disease. Ahead, learn what to look for when selecting a seed type, and find out why the following varieties were chosen as some of the best grass seed blends for overseeding lawns in different regions.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed All-Purpose Mix
  2. RUNNER-UP: Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed High Traffic Mix
  3. MOST DROUGHT-TOLERANT: Jonathan Green Black Beauty Grass Seed
  4. BEST FOR SHADE: Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Dense Shade Mix
  5. BEST FOR BLUEGRASS LAWNS: Scotts Turf Builder Grass Kentucky Bluegrass Mix
  6. BEST FOR CLAY SOIL: Jonathan Green Black Beauty Ultra Grass Seed
  7. BEST FOR WARM CLIMATES: Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Southern Gold Mix
The Best Grass Seed for Overseeding Options

Before You Buy Grass Seed for Overseeding

Before choosing a grass seed for overseeding, consider the type of existing grass in the lawn. If it’s growing well, overseeding with the same type is recommended. If the lawn is struggling to survive, sparse, or full of weeds, consider overseeding with a different variety to correct the existing problems.

Not all types of grass seed grow well in all areas—some varieties are better suited to cold climates, while others thrive only in subtropical environments. When choosing grass seed for overseeding, homeowners will want to select a type based on what grows best in their area. The best grass seed is one that will thrive in the specific region where it’s planted.

How We Chose the Best Grass Seed for Overseeding

Extensive product research went into selecting this roundup of the best grass seed for overseeding. While grass seeds are limited to just a few well-known producers, today’s hybridized seeds and revolutionary seed formulas are capable of producing lush, resilient lawns.

We selected products based on brand reputation, the quality of the seeds—including the percentage of weed seeds in the mix—and how well each performed in its stated category or region. We opted for seeds that will strengthen and enhance existing lawns without the need for frequent watering. Being drought-resistant and disease-resistant topped our list of requirements.

Our Top Picks

Selecting a grass seed can be challenging, as there are so many options on the market. To make the search easier, the following grass seeds are among the best available. Each is designed for a specific region and lawn, but each is a standout in its category.

Best Overall

Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed All-Purpose Mix

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Scotts Turf Builder all-purpose grass seed mix is among the best options for those looking to overseed lawns in mid-to-northern zones. The all-purpose mix features coated seeds, and a 20-pound bag can treat up to 8,000 square feet when overseeding.

Apply seed during the fall or spring when the soil temperature is between 55 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and then water twice a day for 3 weeks. Grass will start growing in 5 to 10 days, and will take up to 2 months to become established.

The mix is listed as 99.99 percent weed-free and contains Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, and fine fescue. The seeds are specially selected to grow in both sunny and shady areas.

Product Specs

  • Drought tolerance: Medium
  • Overseeding coverage: Up to 8,000 square feet (20-pound bag)
  • Climate: Mid-to northern zones


  • Grass can begin growing in 5 to 10 days after seeding
  • This seed blend will grow grass that thrives in both sun and shade
  • This grass seed blend is designed to be 99.99 percent weed-free


  • Due to its makeup, this seed blend isn’t suitable for hot, southern climates

Get the Scotts all-purpose grass seed at Amazon.


Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed High Traffic Mix

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This high-traffic mix withstands plenty of fun and activities from an active family. The mix contains a variety of high-quality cool-season grasses that will thrive in full sun and can only tolerate very light shade.

It consists of a physical blend grass seed mix that includes grass seed, fertilizer and soil improver absorbs moisture and retains it to increase germination rates. In addition, it offers a measure of protection against lawn diseases. A 7-pound bag of this mix will cover up to 3,500 square feet of an existing lawn.

Product Specs

  • Drought tolerance: Medium to high
  • Overseeding coverage: Up to 3,500 square feet (7-pound bag)
  • Climate: Northern zones


  • Formulated to stand up to high traffic, it’s perfect for homes with children and pets
  • This seed blend is designed to provide medium to high drought tolerance
  • Grows fine grass blades that create a thick lawn


  • Only tolerates only very light shade, so it can’t be used on shady lawns
  • Grass seed is not available for purchase in Louisiana

Get the Scotts high-traffic grass seed at Amazon.

Most Drought-Tolerant

Jonathan Green Black Beauty Grass Seed

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In areas where dry spells are expected, Jonathan Green Black Beauty Grass Seed shines. It features a blend of high-quality tall fescue seed that creates a dark-green lawn in mid-to-northern regions. The proprietary breeding of this Black Beauty hybrid has created grass blades that are slightly waxy, which helps protect the plant from moisture loss and disease. The seed does best with 4 to 8 hours of sunlight each day.

Black Beauty quickly develops an extensive root system—up to 4 feet deep in some soils—and it tolerates heavy clay soils where other lawn grasses don’t grow well. A 50-pound bag of this super-tough seed will overseed up to 15,000 square feet of an existing lawn, and it will add strength and resilience to any mid- or cool-season lawn.

Product Specs

  • Drought tolerance: High
  • Overseeding coverage: Up to 15,000 square feet (50-pound bag)
  • Climate: Northern zones


  • Highly drought-tolerant mix that’s excellent for areas that don’t get much rainfall
  • Grass leaves develop a protective waxy coating that shields them from disease
  • The 100 percent tall fescue seeds are fast growing and withstand high-traffic conditions


  • The seed mixture in this blend isn’t designed to tolerate hot climates

Get the Jonathan Green Black Beauty grass seed at Amazon.

Best for Shade

Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Dense Shade Mix

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Scotts offers a tall fescue blend ideal for growing in shady spots that receive as little as 3 hours of sunlight per day. Dense Shade Mix has been bred precisely for shade, so it doesn’t grow quite as well in full sun, even though it is a fescue blend. It should be used in conjunction with other types of fescue when reseeding an entire lawn to create consistent growth in all areas. A 7-pound bag of Scotts Dense Shade Mix will overseed up to 1,750 square feet of an existing lawn.

Product Specs

  • Drought tolerance: High
  • Overseeding coverage: Up to 1,750 square feet (7-pound bag)
  • Climate: Transition zones


  • Designed to help shady lawns thrive and requires just 3 hours of sunlight each day
  • Tall fescue grass is fast growing and tolerant of high-traffic conditions
  • Can also be used in areas that receive full sun


  • This product is not suitable for hot climates and doesn’t tolerate full sun
  • Must be used after opening; will not be as effective after stored

Get the Scotts shade grass seed at Amazon.

Best for Bluegrass Lawns

Scotts Turf Builder Grass Kentucky Bluegrass Mix

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Bluegrass enthusiasts will want to check out Scotts Kentucky bluegrass mix, which provides a fine-blade grass texture and a measure of drought resistance in a true bluegrass seed. A 3-pound bag of Scotts Kentucky bluegrass mix will overseed up to 2,000 square feet of existing lawn and can be used in sunny spots and areas with light shade. This mix grows best in the northern half of the country, and it is moderately drought-resistant.

Product Specs

  • Drought tolerance: Medium
  • Overseeding coverage: Up to 2,000 square feet (3-pound bag)
  • Climate: Northern zones


  • High-quality Kentucky bluegrass seeds are disease-resistant and tolerate high traffic
  • This mixture is suitable for both sunny areas and dense shade, making it incredibly versatile
  • Creates a lawn with a fine blade texture that offers a medium level of resistance to drought


  • Kentucky bluegrass seeds are not well suited for hot climates
  • Not available for purchase in Louisiana

Get the Scotts Kentucky bluegrass seed at Amazon or Lowe’s.

Best for Clay Soil

Jonathan Green Black Beauty Ultra Grass Seed

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Growing a lush stand of grass in clay soil is challenging at best, but this Jonathan Green grass seed is up to the task. The mix, a combination of fescues, Kentucky bluegrass, and perennial ryegrass, produces a deep-green lawn in sunny and shady areas.

The Jonathan Green seed hybridization process produces genetically enhanced grasses that feature a slightly waxy coating on their blades, which is beneficial for maintaining moisture and remaining healthy in drought conditions. The coating also increases the lawn’s ability to resist diseases and keeps the grass blades from fraying when mowed. A 25-pound bag of this Jonathan Green mix will overseed up to 10,000 square feet.

Product Specs

  • Drought tolerance: High
  • Overseeding coverage: Up to 10,000 square feet (25-pound bag)
  • Climate: Northern zones


  • Unlike many other seed blends, this product encourages deep roots that thrive in clay soil
  • This combination of seed types produces grass with a dark-green color
  • The grass blades develop a waxy protective coating, which helps them resist disease and drought


  • Grass seed mixture is not suitable for hot climates

Get the Jonathan Green Black Beauty Ultra grass seed at Amazon.

Best for Warm Climates

Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Southern Gold Mix

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While many warm-season grasses are grown from plugs, this hybrid warm-season seed mix may be just what southern growers need to start grass growing when plugs aren’t an option. Scotts Turf Builder Southern Gold Mix contains a variety of warm-season fescues that have been purposely bred in the south region of the country for hardiness in hot temps.

Southern Gold is well suited for lawns as far south as Texas and as far east as the Atlantic. The unique blend of seeds produces a lawn that can withstand harsh summer conditions. The blend is also tolerant of moderate shade and is resistant to drought, insects, and disease.

A 32-pound bag of Southern Gold will overseed up to 8,000 square feet of lawn.

Product Specs

  • Drought tolerance: High
  • Overseeding coverage: Up to 8,000 square feet (32-pound bag)
  • Climate: Transition zones


  • Seed blend contains warm-season fescue grasses, which are designed for warm temperatures
  • Designed to provide drought tolerance, which is particularly useful in southern climates
  • This grass will thrive in both full sun and moderate shade


  • This seed blend is not designed for use in northern climates

Get the Scotts Southern Gold grass seed at Amazon or Scotts.

Jump to Our Top Picks

Our Verdict

After reviewing this guide, shoppers now know more about what to look for when selecting the best grass seed for overseeding. We recommend the Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed All-Purpose Mix as our top pick because it’s a versatile blend that thrives in both sun and shade.

There are other popular grass seed options on the market, including the Pennington Smart Seed Sun and Shade Grass Mix, Pennington Smart Seed Dense Shade Grass Mix, and Pennington Smart Seed Northeast Grass Mix. However, they do not meet our sustainability guidelines and are not recommended in our top picks due to the inclusion of Penkote seed coatings, which are toxic to animals and can have a negative impact on the environment.

What to Consider When Choosing Grass Seed for Overseeding

For the best results, shoppers will want to choose a grass seed type that will grow well in their specific yard. Consider the amount of sunlight the lawn receives, the general climate, and the kind of grass desired. Additionally, the size of the yard and the seed’s coverage rate will play a role in how much seed is needed to overseed the lawn.

Types of Grass Seed

There are a variety of grass seeds used in the United States, each of which thrives in a different region. For example, grass seed that grows well in the Pacific Northwest may not grow in southern climates. In general, more cool-season grasses are grown from seed than are warm-season grasses. Several warm-season grasses, such as St. Augustine, are propagated by plugs rather than seeds, so overseeding is more common in regions with cool winters.

  • Fescue: Among the fastest-growing grasses, fescue features several types with various textures. It’s prized for its drought resistance and ability to withstand moderate traffic. It also grows in both sunny and shady spots.
  • Kentucky bluegrass: Dense and durable, Kentucky bluegrass is a self-spreading, disease-resistant turf option that will tolerate cold temperatures. It’s not as drought- resistant as fescue, but it provides a lush lawn that tolerates high traffic.
  • Perennial ryegrass: Useful for overseeding moderately cool- or warm-season grasses, perennial ryegrass requires a lot of water and doesn’t grow well in frigid climates.
  • Buffalo grass: Prized for its low maintenance, buffalo grass thrives in the Midwest and Great Plains. However, it’s slow to green up in the spring and goes dormant in the early fall.
  • Bermuda grass: Strictly a warm-weather grass, Bermuda grass seed produces a lush lawn in sunny yards and is drought-tolerant. It doesn’t like cold weather, and it doesn’t tolerate deep shade.

Climate and Sun Exposure

Researchers and seed manufacturers are busy hybridizing grass seed types to thrive in specific climates, such as the warm Southeast or the rainy West Coast, and to grow in harsh sun or dense shade. Most grass seed varieties grow well with full to partial sun, but new and improved versions will tolerate shade as well.

Buyers can often find specialized seeds within the same seed family. For instance, several options are available just within the fescue grass-seed type. These include hard fescue that grows in colder climates and high elevations, creeping fescue that will grow even in deep shade, and fast-growing tall fescue grasses that withstands heavy traffic but doesn’t like hot weather.

Coverage Area

The amount of seed necessary for overseeding a lawn depends on the type, whether the seed is coated or bare, and the overall condition of the existing lawn. The best rule of thumb is to follow the manufacturer’s coverage recommendations that appear on the bag of seeds.

The coverage area for coated grass seeds is not as high as uncoated seeds because coated seeds are larger, so fewer seeds are present per pound. Spread rate varies by grass type as well, and this will appear on the package. K31 fescue, for example, has a spread rate of 5 to 10 pounds per 1,000 feet, with 10 pounds being the average for establishing new lawns and 5 pounds as the average for overseeding. For the best results, follow the spread rate suggested by the manufacturer.

Low Maintenance

Keeping a lawn healthy and beautiful requires diligence and proper attention. Achieving a maintenance-free lawn isn’t possible, but home gardeners can reduce the amount of mowing, fertilizing, dethatching, and watering by choosing to overseed with a grass variety that grows well in the specific region. Generally, a low-growing grass variety, such as buffalo grass, requires fewer mowings than a tall-growing variety, such as fescue.

If watering the lawn is a particularly tedious task, a drought-tolerant variety, such as Bermuda grass, is among the best options for a low-maintenance yard in warm, sunny climates. What is considered low maintenance in one region may be high maintenance in another, so consider choosing a variety that’s well suited or native to the area.

Tips on How to Overseed a Lawn

Overseeding an existing lawn is much simpler than putting in a new lawn from scratch because the grass is already established, and there’s no need to till or rake the soil. For the best germination results, consider the following tips.

  • Mow the lawn first and bag the clippings. Shorter grass will allow the new seedlings to receive more sunlight.
  • Rake the yard to remove leaves or dethatch if a heavy layer of thatch (organic matter that forms a mat) is present at ground level.
  • Add soil amendments before overseeding if necessary. The best way to do this is to have the soil tested by a local extension agency to determine if it lacks certain nutrients and then apply them before overseeding.
  • Add seeds to a drop spreader or a broadcast spreader and set the distribution rate to match the package’s recommended spread rate.
  • Water daily to keep the seeds moist—but not so much that the ground is soggy or water is pooling.

Benefits of Overseeding

The most significant result of overseeding is the ability to grow a lush, dense lawn, but there are some other benefits as well.

  • Dense grass is less susceptible to soil erosion because the additional grass roots hold the soil in place.
  • Overseeding with today’s improved seed varieties will boost lawn health and make the grass more resistant to disease and insects.
  • A healthy lawn boosts curb appeal and is a strong selling point if a house is on the market.
  • The healthier the lawn, the less likely weeds are to get a foothold. This reduces the need for frequent applications of chemical herbicides, which is more beneficial for the environment.


While overseeding a lawn is a relatively straightforward project, grass seed can be pricey, depending on the type, so it’s normal to have a few questions. Below are answers to some of the more popular questions about overseeding lawns.

Q. When should I put my new grass seed down?

If you’re overseeding cool-season grasses, such as fescue, seed in early fall, which will give the new seedlings time to develop before winter. For seeding warm-season grasses, such as Bermuda, overseed in late spring when soil temperatures are around 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

Q. How do I protect my new grass seed?

Water the lawn daily for the first 2 to 3 weeks after overseeding to provide adequate moisture. Seeds germinate after they have received this daily dose of water. Do not mow until the new seedlings have reached the height you usually mow.

Q. How much grass seed do I need?

This will vary depending on the type of seed and whether the seed is coated. The seed’s spread rate will be listed on the product packaging.

Q. Can I use my spreader to sow lawn grass seed?

Yes, a drop spreader or a broadcast spreader are suitable for overseeding the lawn. Overseeding lawn equipment also includes machines that make slits in the soil and then deposit the seeds in the slits. These machines, called “grass drills,” can be rented from landscape rental companies.

Q. Can I cover the seed?

Covering grass seed is traditionally limited to newly seeded lawns, not overseeded lawns. If you’re seeding bare patches where no grass is growing, feel free to cover the seed lightly with a layer of loose straw or use a seed product that contains mulch in the mix.

Q. Should I have ryegrass in my lawn seed mixture?

Perennial ryegrass is a mid-to-cool season grass that can be grown by itself or mixed with other cool-season grasses. Annual ryegrass may be found in warm-season mixes because it germinates quickly and provides a cover for the slower-to-germinate warm-season grasses.

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Glenda Taylor Avatar

Glenda Taylor

Staff Writer

Glenda Taylor is a staff writer with a background in the residential remodeling, home building, and home improvement industries. She started writing for in 2016 and covers a range of topics, including construction methods, code compliance, tool use, and the latest news in the housing and real estate industries.