Each year, American homeowners collectively spend millions and millions of dollars on lawn care products -- everything from drought resistant grass to ultra-organic mulch, new sprinkler head that use less water and computer controls that tie into the local weather to use less water when it is not so hot or rain is predicted. Consumers are more than willing to snap it up to latest fad or innovation. But if you aren't using the right basic lawn care "best management practices" and techniques -- the grass -- is going to suffer and you waste time, money and water. And it will make the rest of your yard suffer too, no matter how much money you pour into it. And lastly, you will not save dramatic amounts of time, money and water on your lawn. The following tips help you to work smart not hard and have the best lawn on your street.
So, here are easy strategies to keep in mind when buying and using grass seeds, in order to get the healthiest and most beautiful lawn possible:
Sunny Mix 
Shady Mix 
Sun/Shade Mix 
Q: Are there artificial or genetically modified seeds in Pearl's Premium grass seed?
A: No. All seeds are either native or adapted to North America. They are natural and healthy for your children and animals to play on. If you stop using chemical lawn products, your lawn will transition to a healthier, more sustainable lawn.
Q: Can I over-seed it into my existing lawn and weeds?
A: Yes, you can over-seed your existing lawn with Pearl's Premium, and it will outcompete the existing lawn over time. Follow our instructions for existing lawns  closely to establish the Pearl's Premium and be sure to follow our Maintenance  instructions closely to give Pearl's Premium the best chance to out-compete your existing lawn. Consider over-seeding the following season with Pearl's Premium to thicken your new lawn and out-compete your old one.
Q: Can Pearl's Premium grass seed stand up to heavy traffic, children or dogs? Can I use it on playing fields?
A:Pearl's Premium grass seed is good for light to medium traffic and abuse. Kids and dogs playing on it over a wide area are fine. Note: Keep off the lawn for one month to allow it to get established. But if a dog runs in the same small circle, he/she will wear it out. This seed is not well suited to the intense use of a baseball or soccer field. In the future, we will work on a different grass for high intensity low maintenance use. But for now Pearl’s Premium is fine for a town green or general town landscaping needs or your front or back lawn.
Q: Does Pearl's Premium Grass Seed grow on pure sand or in new construction?
A: It grows in partially sandy soil, but if it is either all sand or the soil has been stripped away, as is sometimes the case with new construction, or your soil is junk fill, you need to put in 2 to 3+ inches of new soil over the sand, sub soil or fill soil, before putting down seed.
Q: How can I store my seed over the winter?
A: If properly stored below 90 degrees and above 40 degrees, the seed will last 18 months from the testing date on the back of the bag. It can be used after that, but will have a lower sprouting rate. If you have unopened bags of seed left over, just store it. If opened, just seal up our self-sealing bag, squeezing out excess air. Whether you plan to overseed in the early spring or did not get a chance to get your seed in this fall, properly stored seed will be ready for use in the spring. Keep your seed from freezing by storing it in your cool dry basement (not your unheated garage or shed). Place the bags in a plastic tub or metal container so mice can not get to these tasty seeds!
Q: How long will it take for my existing lawn to transition to a Pearl’s Premium lawn if I over-seed without first removing or tearing up my existing lawn?
A: If you follow the Installation  and Maintenance  instructions closely, and over-seed again the following season, you should have a lawn that is close to 100% Pearl’s Premium grass seed by the end of the second season.
Q: How much grass seed should I use?
A: Spread grass seed at a concentration of 15-20 seeds per inch (this equates to 5 pounds for every 1,000 square feet). Use a more concentrated application of 25-30 seeds per inch (this equates to 7-8 pounds seed per 1,000 sq feet) to out-compete weeds or for new construction areas.
Q: How much water should I give my new lawn to get it established?
A: Start your lawn on the weekend or when ever you have the time to observe your watering. The new lawn should stay moist all day (tip: look for telltale dark, moist soil) but should not have puddles over night to avoid creating mold. For sunny lawns water 30 minutes in the very early morning and, optionally, once more at 3 pm in the afternoon if it is very hot. For shady lawns 20 minutes of water in the morning should suffice. Your Pearl's Premium seed should take 1-2 weeks to sprout. For the first 3 weeks after sprouting, water daily. Then for the next several weeks, water every other day. You do not need to water on a rainy day.
During the first year in very hot weather water deeply once a week with an inch of water to help encourage deep roots. Once established, if you water, water infrequently but deeply. After the first year you should seldom (perhaps once a week during drought) or you never need to water again. Under extreme heat conditions, you can let the lawn go dormant. It will green up again with rain.
Pearl's Premium is very good grass, not miracle grass. You MUST water it for the first month and address compacted soil or very acidic soil with a little lime to get the grass established. No watering in the first month and it will fail. If you can’t reliably water, set up sprinklers with a timer from a home improvement store.
Q: My lawn has different sun conditions. I think most of my lawn would work with the 'Sunny' mix. However, part of it definitely would require the 'Shady' version. How noticeable will it be where these two sections meet? Is the color different?
A: The color is subtly different, but you can overlap the seeds a little to make the transition quite smooth. Some people mix the two Pearl's Premium grass seeds together and spread everywhere and the appropiate seed will prosper for the right light level.
Pearl's Premium mixes are blended from premium seeds with high germination rates. However, many conditions conspire to affect the speed of germination. In many cases the seed germinates in as little as 5 to 7 days. In other cases, seed can take more than two weeks to germinate. Remember, one of the real benefits of Pearl's Premium is its slow growth rate. So, germination can take time and even after initial germination the grass can be barely visible for some time. If you haven't seen germination after three weeks, it may indicate that the seed was planted too deep (never sow deeper than 1/4" into soil) or that weather or soil conditions were very unfavorable. If you haven't seen grass pop up after three weeks, contact us. We'd like to hear what conditions you experienced and offer our advice to ensure you get proper germination. Be sure to follow installation instructions carefully for best results!
Q: I have some other grass seed left over; can I mix that with the Pearl’s Premium to use it up?
A: This isn’t a good idea, since the Pearl’s Premium blends have been carefully selected for certain features—very slow growth, drought tolerance and insect resistance—that other seeds do not share. If you want a low maintence lawn, that saves time, money and water, make it 100% Pearl’s Premium, or you are wasting your seed.
Q: If I can’t find an answer in your FAQ or I need help installing my lawn, what should I do?
A: If you need technical assistance or help installing your Pearl’s Premium lawn, contact us .
Q: If I need more information or technical help where do I go?
A: Pearl’s Premium is easy to install for most people. Follow the installation instructions in the Getting Started  section of our website or attend a Pearl's Premium Workshop  in your area. You can also hire a professional landscaper and give her/him our planting instructions. If you contact us, we are pleased to recommend landscapers  who have experience with Pearl's Premium installation and maintenance.
Q: If our soil is bad, what should we do? Will application of lime and aeration do the trick?
A: A soil test is a good first step. If your soil is depleted or compacted or shows telltale signs (excessive weeds, moss, etc.), it may need more work. Healthy soil should have a neutral pH and be well aerated. Compacted and acidic soil favors weeds. Neutral pH, aerated soil favors grass. If there has been construction that took away your top soil, if you have subsoil rather than loam, or if your current lawn is mostly weeds, put down 2-3 inches of new soil and top-dress with 1/4 inch of screened organic compost.
Q: If we had a lot of grubs before, would it hurt to put down milky spore and/or nematodes?
A: Milky spore works best with two applications one week apart. Over time you should have fewer grubs due to the deep roots and dryier soil that constitutes Pearl’s Premium grass. Also, grubs need constantly moist soil. They move away when you stop watering after one month, and the 12-inch roots are able to withstand some grub damage. Typically, 1 to 4 grubs per square foot will not cause problems; but more than about 8 to 12 per square foot will need treatment by milky spore or nematodes.
Q: Is Pearl's Premium safe for forage?
A: No, Pearl’s Premium would not be safe for horses and cows since the seed blend is naturally endophyte enhanced (to keep away bugs) which might cause stomach distress in horses, cows, goats and deers, all animals whose main diet is the grass. Dogs, who only nibble on the grass, should be OK.
Q: Is Pearl’s Premium good for sun, shade and deep shade?
A: Pearl's Premium will grow well almost anywhere. (Unless the soil stays wet all the time or does not drain). We have two different seed mixes, each custom blended for different amounts of sun. Choose either the "Sunny Mix" for areas with full sun down to 50% sun per day or the "Shady Mix", for 50 percent sun or partial to full shade.
Q: Is it really true that I can mow just once a month?
A: Yes, Pearl's Premium has been researched and developed to grow slowly. We recommend that you allow your Pearl’s Premium lawn to grow to 4 inches tall before you cut back to 3 inches, and that you only mow 1/3 of the height of the grass at any one time. Follow the Maintenance  instructions closely for the best results with your Pearl's Premium lawn. In most situations, this means mowing every 3-4 weeks or less in the summer. Do not let the grass grow to more than 5 inches tall, unless you want to let it fall over to become a soft, billowing 3 inch meadow. The grass will only reach a length of about 9 inches before going to seed and reseeding itself, but again, it will fall over after about 4 or 5 inches.
Q: Once my lawn is really established and its roots are long, can I cut the lawn shorter than 3 inches? I have one area where my kids play soccer, whiffle ball, etc. and I worry that 3 inches might keep the ball from rolling well.
A: Yes, if you have a special event or soccer game or wedding on your lawn, you can cut it back temporarily. Cut to 2 inches, Pearl’s Premium will recover more quickly from heavy foot traffic than a 3-inch lawn would. The grass shoots or blades will grow back quickly to support the longer roots
Q: If my lawn is very healthy, can I still transition to Pearl's Premium?
A: Yes, you can. However, additional effort will be required. First, stop applying any fertilizer 3 months before over-seeding. Second, kill the existing lawn with an organic grass and weed killer like Phydura. Third, follow the detailed over-seeding installation instructions . Once installed, you should closely follow the low maintenance lawn care instructions  to help the Pearl's Premium out-compete any remaining old lawn and expect to over-seed the second season to continue the transition.
Q: Should we get our soil tested before we do anything?
A: A soil test is a good idea. If your soil is depleted or compacted or you have telltale signs of poor soil (excessive weeds, moss, etc), your soil may not support healthy lawn growth. Your local state agricultural extension or agriculture school can usually help with soil tests.
Q: Do I have to rip up my old lawn to put in Pearl's Premium?
A: No, you can over-seed an existing lawn with Pearl's Premium. However, effort is required, particularly if you have a healthy, organic lawn. Read our Installation Instructions  for Over-seeding Existing Lawns.
Q: What are the best times to plant Pearl's Premium?
A: The spring and fall are the best times to plant Pearl's Premium. If you plant in the spring, research shows that grass seed sprouts best when the ground temperature is between 60°- 70° F. This varies by location but is usually from the 4th week in April up until the second or third week in May in the Northeast. Fall is ideal because the heat and weeds of summer are past. In the Northeast, fall planting typcially takes place from the fourth week in August to the first week in October. In October, I would suggest a nesting of the seed under 1/4 inch of organic compost. For later planting and colder climates, I would suggest hydroseeding to protect the seed and accelerate growth. In other sections of the country, wait until soil temperature is between 70° to 60° F in the fall, or the beginning of the rainy season. When in doubt, put a soil thermometer in the ground to measure 3 inches down or call a local agricultural school to ask about soil temperature.
Q: What do I do about crab grass and other weeds?
A: Over-seeding in the fall, when weed seeds are dormant, and improving soil health by spreading screened organic compost is your best defense. For spring planting, if you plant Pearl’s Premium when the soil temperature hits 50 degrees, you should have a thick, healthy lawn that is 3 1/2 to 4 inches tall by the time the soil temperature hits 70 degrees. This will shade out the weed seeds in the soil. Weeds and crab grass don’t sprout until the soil warms up to 70 degrees (and if your Pearl’s Premium is tall and thick enough) most weeds do not get the sunlight they need to germinate. If you will not be seeding in the spring, you can top-spread corn gluten (a natural broad weed killer) in the early spring just when the forsythia blooms. Please note that you must wait at least six weeks after spreading corn gluten before you can plant seed.
Another way to discourage weeds is to core aerate the lawn. For best results, core aerate in one direction, then aerate at 90 degrees to that and finally in a diagonal direction on your lawn. Do this when the lawn is dry in the early spring and again in late August, just before seeding/ over seeding. When you over-seed, cut the DRY grass to one inch with a sharp blade if you have 50/50 good Pearl’s Premium grass or just about down to the soil with a dull blade if you have 80% weeds. If you want to kill your old grass and weeds, cut down to the dirt with a dull blade in one giant step to stress it the bad grass and weeds. If you’re over-seeding to enhance your existing lawn, or thicken up your Pearl’s Premium lawn, cut it in stages to bring it down from 3 inches to 1 inch for over-seeding, cutting only a third of the height at a time. Then heavily over-seed with one of the two Pearl's Premium seed mixes, "Sunny" mix for 50% sun to full sun OR use "Shady Mix" for 50% or less sun to full shade.
If you are impatient or have a really bad lawn, have a lawn care professional burn the weeds with a propane torch or spray on an organic weed and grass killer like Phydura (concentrated vinegar and clove oil) which kills everything, then a week later, carefully rake away all the dead stuff and plant a new lawn by following our installation instructions.
Once you've installed your new lawn, remember to follow our low maintenance lawn caer instructions to keep your soil and lawn healthy, cut the grass to 3 1/2" or 4" high always using a sharp blade. When you use a sharp blade, it will quickly seal the cut, and grass will not get diseased through the cut area. Taller, healthier grass will be able to out-compete weeds. When all these steps are used altogether, (aerate, top spread 1/4 inch compost, add a little lime to make pH nuetral and cut high with a sharp blade) these techniques will favor the grass and greatly reduce weeds. Following these steps two years in a row should get rid of most weeds.
Q: What is the shelf life and how should I store Pearl's Premium?
A: Store it in a cool dry space inside a plastic or metal tub (mice love it). If stored properly, Pearl's Premium will remain optimally effective for 18 months after packaging or for several years at a lower sprouting rate. Avoid storing it where it may be exposed to extreme heat or freezing.
Q: What should I do about falling leaves and pine needles?
A: Do not leave fall leaves on new grass for more than a week, as the shading and leaf acid tannins will kill new grass. Carefully remove leaves by gently blowing them off when they are dry and light after the grass has come up and has grown for at least 3 weeks. Be very careful not to disturb the seed bed.
Q: What should I do to prepare my newly planted lawn for the winter? The Pearl’s Premium grass is now 2-3 inches tall; the remaining old grass is about five inches tall, and I have a lot of fallen leaves in some areas. Should I mow? Should I blow or rake the leaves off of the new grass?
A: In the fall, use a leaf blower to remove most of the leaves. If you do not have a blower, carefully rake away dry leaves. Then, check to make sure your mower blade is sharp. For this final fall cut, reset the mower to a lower setting, so you’re cutting the lawn down to 2 ½ inches high (during the summer, set the sharpened mower blade higher, so the grass stays 3-4 inches tall at all times). It’s OK to leave a small amount of leaves on the lawn to be mulched in by your mulching lawn mower for the final cut of the fall season. Continue to use the leaf blower periodically to keep leaves from shading the grass, and so that acids from a heavy layer of decomposing leaves don’t kill the new grass.
Next spring, it is good to over-seed once more in the early spring with Pearl's Premium Lawn seed, and put down a little organic fertilizer to help your lawn thicken up. The grass needs to be at least 3 ½ inches high to shade the soil before the annual crab grass seeds sprout when the soil temperature reaches 70 degrees F. Most of the annual Crab grass is easy to get rid of with tall cut and thick seeding of Pearl's Premium grass. Perennial weeds like Creeping Charlie may get an early start, so some hand-pulling may also be helpful. See also weed tips at the end of our installation instructions.
Q: Where can I purchase Pearl's Premium?
A: You can Buy Online  from Pearl's Premium or buy from a Whole Foods Markets or other retail store near  you. Landscapers and commercial customers can buy from a Pearl's Premium wholesaler or contact us  directly for assistance.
Q: Where does Pearl's Premium grow?
A: Pearl's is growing in all 50 United States and Canada! In warmer climates, you will want to plant in the early Spring or late Fall as soon as soil temperfatures came down to 70 degrees F or as low as they get in your area). In warmer climates you may need to water up to twice per day to keep the soil moist for 30 days. Then you will want to water it deeply with an inch of water once or twice a week in the warmer months, watering at dawn. Adopt organic lawn care practices like core aerating your lawn once per year, spreading organic fertilizer 1-2X per year, cutting high (minimum of 3") to further drought resistance and use a sharp blade to cut your lawn, leaving the clippings behind which return the nutrients to the soil.
Q: Why do you recommend keeping the grass at least 3 inches tall and cutting with a sharp blade?
A: Cutting your grass short during the heat of summer or cutting with a dull blade any time of year will damage and wither the grass. This also invites weeds, especially crabgrass. In the summer, research shows that dense fescue-type grass, like Pearl's Premium, grown to at least 3+ inches tall will shade the soil and prevent most weed seeds from germinating. Without any chemical herbicides, 4-inch tall Pearl’s Premium type grass can limit weed concentrations to 2-5% (much lower than popular bluegrass). Less dense 4-inch tall bluegrass lets more light in and has 7+ % weeds. However, short 1 inch bluegrass lets in so much light, it can have 55% to 75% weeds and one inch short fescue type grass has 45% weeds because it lets more light reach the weed seeds sitting on top of the soil. Cutting your grass too short will encourage shallow roots, making it hard to tap into naturally-occuring moisture and nutrients in your soil. Equally bad, using a dull lawn mower blade will damage your grass, tearing the blades, opening pathways for disease and extending the time to heel. A dull blade and cut too short is a guaranteed way to burn out and kill the grass during extreme heat. Ideally, keep your grass 3+ inches tall for most of the season. In extreme heat, consider leaving your lawn 4 inches tall for maximum resistance. In the fall, consider cutting to 2 inches high, as no new weeds come up at that time, to faciliate fall clean-up. To keep grass strong, do not cut back more than 1/3 of the blade at a time, and use a sharp blade so the grass cut edge seals up quickly and does not allow disease or fungal infections to get in.
Q: Will Pearl's Premium grow under maple and other large trees?
A: Yes. The “Shady” mix will, but it needs to be watered for a longer period during the establishing period and summer of the first year, because the grass has to compete with the tree leaves and the tree roots for water in order to get established. By the next summer, a Pearl's Premium lawn will be fine under the tree.
Q: Will Pearl's Premium spread into my garden or neighbor’s lawn?
A: No, Pearl's Premium stays where you put it. To keep rain from moving the seeds down a slope before they become established, roll the seeds into the soil with an empty roller, lightly rake them into the soil or hydro-seed to stick the seeds in place.