Planting Grass Seed in South Carolina

by Dallas Piscopo

Environment and soil conditions vary throughout South Carolina and some grasses will grow well in one location but may not do as well in other locations. Some grasses may be planted across the entire state while other grasses will only perform best in certain geographical areas and environmental conditions. Below are some of the primary grasses planted in South Carolina.

Warm Season Grasses (Plant in late spring through early summer)

Cool Season Grasses (Plant between August 25th and October 15th)

Warm-season grasses are can be successfully grown pretty much across the entire state of South Carolina but will go dormant and turn brown in the fall. Bermuda grass and zoysia grass are your most widely used warm-season grasses and to maintain a continuous green lawn throughout the fall and winter, bermuda grass can easily be over-seeded with perennial rye grass in the fall. Visit the over-seeding page for details on this process. Unfortunately, zoysia grass and other warm-season grasses like St. Augustine grass are not easily over-seeded.

Cool-season grasses will grow in certain areas of South Carolina only during the fall, winter, and early spring and are mostly used for over-seeding warm-season grasses. However if managed properly and supplied plenty of water, fine fescue, tall fescue, and Kentucky bluegrass can survive year-round but only in higher elevations in the mountains or upper Piedmont regions.

For more on selecting a lawn grass in South Carolina, check out this useful publication put out by the Clemson Cooperative Extension office.

Click on one of the grasses for planting details and then visit the Planting Grass Seed page for detailed instructions on how to correctly prepare your soil and plant your grass seed for your lawn.  

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Josie McKune May 9, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Would someone please explain to me why hay/straw is put on top of grass seed here in South Carolina? It looks terrible and makes a mess.

Thank you.


Dallas Piscopo May 9, 2012 at 2:08 pm


Thanks for the comment and question. I agree, straw laid over grass seed looks terrible and makes a mess but it does serve a function. The straw helps keep the grass seed in place and holds in moisture as the seeds germinate. Wind, rain, excessive irrigation, and even birds can interfere with grass seed germination making the process more time consuming and expensive. I prefer to use a compost mulch instead to achieve the same purpose as straw. It looks nicer, retains moisture better, supplies nutrients, good for the soil, and you’ll see a much healthier germination rate using compost. However, still remain cautious of the pesky birds and excessive water. Additionally, be sure to use a compost mulch and not pure manure! Manure is not broken down enough by microorganisms and may burn the young grass seedlings. If you really want to go the extra mile you can top dress your grass seed with a layer of quality sand along with compost. This is what golf course superintendents do and it really helps grass seed germination. Hope this answers your question and feel free to post more about anything else on your mind.


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