Seeds 4 Thought…Drew Kinder’s seed blog

Seed Customizer Mixes in Spring of 2008
July 10, 2008, 3:26 am
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Here are some really interesting seed mixes and blends created using the Seed Customizer program in the spring of 2008.

I do not intend to rank them.  Every custom mix is as good as the next, so they are all tied for first place in my opinion.  My policy is to never ship a seed mix that I would not plant on my own lawn, assuming I lived in the same zip code as the customer.  If I do not like a mix, which is very rare, I will call the customer to discuss it.  In the eight year history of I have never failed to reach agreement on a suitable custom mix.

Timothy J., Marquette Heights, IL ……..Shady but Spreading Mix

  • 20% Brilliant Kentucky bluegrass
  • 20% A-34 Kentucky bluegrass
  • 20% Celestial creeping red fescue
  • 20% Intrigue chewings fescue
  • 20% RaZor creeping red fescue

I like this mix because Timothy combines scientific evaluation with old fashioned instinct to solve his shade problem. 

Three of the components of his custom mix are improved cultivars of species with known shade tolerance (Celestial and Razor creeping red fescue and Intrigue chewings fescue).  Kentucky bluegrass is not particularly shade tolerant, but Brilliant has the highest shade tolerance rating of any bluegrass, and it spreads.

Finally, Timothy added 20% A-34 Kentucky bluegrass to his “Shady but Spreading” Mix.  A-34 is a legendary variety that predates the NTEP evaluation program, so we can’t statistically compare it to newer bluegrasses.  A-34 was made famous by Warren’s Turf Nurseries in Illinois and many homeowners in the Chicago area have had great luck with it.  I suspect Timothy is one of them, or the son of one of them.

Jonathan G, Roslyn, NY ………

Backyard Fescue Blend

  • 60% Inferno tall fescue 
  • 20% Justice tall fescue
  • 20% 2nd Millennium tall fescue

Front Lawn Bluegrass Blend

  • 30% SS1100 Bluegrass blend
  • 20% Midnight II Kentucky bluegrass
  • 20% Moonlight Kentucky bluegrass
  • 30% Bedazzled Kentucky bluegrass

April ’08 Maine Mix

  • 20% Jasper II creeping red fescue
  • 20% Longfellow II chewings fescue
  • 40% Intrigue chewings fescue
  • 20% Oxford hard fescue

As you can see, Jon is a great believer in the Seed Customizer program.  The Maine Mix is for a lakeside cottage where he is limited in his use of fertilizer and herbicides.

Jon and I communicate by phone and email so frequently, I feel like I know his lawn as well as he does.  Since his first order in the fall of ’07 we have exchanged over a dozen emails.  We talk about weeds, spreading tall fescue, herbicide tolerance and just about anything that helps Jon create a perfect lawn. 

Jon was nice enough to send me this photo of his front lawn 51 days after seeding with his custom bluegrass blend.

Jon\'s bluegrass front lawn 51 days after planting


 Jason D, Norman OK ……DixonKBGFY08 Blend

  • 30% Bedazzled Kentucky bluegrass
  • 30% NuDestiny Kentucky bluegrass
  • 20% Midnight II Kentucky bluegrass
  • 20% Fahrenheit 90 Hybrid bluegrass

Jason obviously studied up on bluegrass.  His blend combines three great Kentucky bluegrasses with Fahrenheit 90, the new heat tolerant bluegrass, which is designed to tolerate hot summers in Oklahoma.

Jason S, De Pere WI …………Campground Mix II  

  • 20% Paragon GLR perennial ryegrass
  • 20% Garnet creeping red fescue
  • 30% Gotham hard fescue
  • 30% Brilliant Kentucky bluegrass

Three of these components were added to our product list this spring and Jason wasted no time including them in a really superior shade mix for his campground.

Mark S, Marshalltown IA …….. Markie’s Customer Selected Shade Mix

  • 20% Spartan II hard fescue
  • 20% Longfellow II chewings fescue
  • 20% Zodiac chewings fescue
  • 20% America Kentucky bluegrass
  • 10% Jasper II creeping red fescue
  • 10% Oxford hard fescue

Mark even mentioned the type of trees (black walnut) this mix is planted under.  He clearly subscribes to the theory of genetic diversity in his custom shade mix.

Daniel M, State College PA ….. NTEP Nuglade-Bluegrass-Fescue Mix

  • 20% Award Kentucky bluegrass
  • 30% Nuglade Kentucky bluegrass
  • 10% Spartan hard fescue
  • 20% Zodiac chewings fescue
  • 20% Midnight Kentucky bluegrass

I include Dan’s mix because I share his view of the appropriateness of mixing fine fescue with Kentucky bluegrass.  There are some self-appointed turfgrass experts on several internet lawn chat boards who decry this combination as ignorant.  “Fine fescue and bluegrass don’t mix”, they say. 

I disagree, and so does Dan.  In a yard with variable sun/shade conditions, the fine fescue component of the mix may prevent a bare spot in the shadiest areas.  In the full sun areas, the three Kentucky bluegrass cultivars will be so lush and rich during the growing season, you probably won’t notice the fine bladed hard and chewings fescue.

Years ago I planted a test plot of every turfgrass variety we sold at Kinder Seed Company in Buffalo.  One thing I learned from that plot is how much earlier the fine fescues break winter dormancy and green up compared to the elite Kentucky bluegrasses.  I suspect Dan’s lawn in State College will green up earlier than his neighbors who have 100% bluegrass sod.

Ken K, Hartford WI ……… Ken’s Special Red Thread Blend

  • 50% Dynamo Kentucky bluegrass
  • 50% Bedazzled Kentucky bluegrass

Ken did his homework to select two Kentucky bluegrass cultivars with above average red thread disease resistance.  After Ken created this custom blend we added Brilliant Kentucky bluegrass to our product list.  Brilliant has even higher red thread resistance than Dynamo and Bedazzled, so I suspect if Ken reorders next year his new custom blend will include Brilliant as well.

Mike E, Pittsfield MA …… Mike’s Backyard Blend

  • 40% Moonlight Kentucky bluegrass
  • 30% Bedazzled Kentucky bluegrass
  • 20% Award Kentucky bluegrass 
  • 10% Blue Velvet Kentucky bluegrass

Mike is another serial custom mixer.  He started with this mix and reordered several times this spring, finally settling on a 70% Moonlight/30% Award blend.  It’s a shame Mike’s lawn is not visible from the street.  It has to be one of the finest lawns in all of Pittsfield MA.

Michael L, Stillman Valley, IL ……. and every other customer who uses 10 different varieties in their custom mix.

Measuring out ten separate components and labeling a 10 pound custom mix is kind of a pain for me, but I love it when customers do it.  It proves you are paying attention to the differences between varieties and taking full advantage of our extensive product selection.

Jim W, Medford NJ …….. 

Front Yard

  • 30% Jamestown V chewings fescue
  • 20% Midnight II Kentucky bluegrass
  • 50% SS8000 hard fescue blend

Back Lawn

  • 80% SS1001 Brown Patch Blend
  • 10% Total Eclipse Kentucky bluegrass
  • 10% Midnight II Kentucky bluegrass

Jim is a long time acquaintance from the 1980’s when he worked for Cornell Co-operative Extension in Rochester NY.  In New Jersey he obviously has different growing conditions in his front and back lawns. His custom mixes combine our specialized blends with adapted varieties to solve problems and maximize the beauty of his entire yard.

I apologize for leaving out all the other really great custom mixes that have come across my laptop computer this spring.  As I said, there is no such thing as a bad custom mix at  I just ran out of room to mention them all.


Drew Kinder

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