Pennington Smart Seed Dense Shade Mix Review

Shady yard

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Pennington Smart Seed is inoculated with mycorrhizae, which are fungi that form a relationship with the grass roots and work together to improve nutrient and water uptake, enhance drought resistance, and promote root growth.

  • Excellent germination results

  • Improved seed varieties that thrive in the shade

  • Inoculated with mycorrhizae

  • Costs about $13 for a 3lb bag, a little pricey compared to other seed


  • A mix of improved varieties of fine bladed, lower maintenance fescues
  • Seed mix changes for different regions of the country, providing a grass seed specifically formulated for each climatic zone
  • Contain Pennington’s exclusive MYCO Advantage technology
  • Contains Pennington’s exclusive Penkote technology

From "You'll soon see the Smart Seed difference! All Smart Seed is pure-bred, drought-tolerant and guaranteed to grow the thick and healthy grass you want while using up to 30% less water year after year versus ordinary grass seed. Smart Seed with MYCO Advantage replenishes beneficial micro-organisms which help grass grow deep, dense roots - the way nature intended. Pennington's Penkote seed technology ensures better plant growth by protecting the seeds."


The product was used in a very shady backyard that had previously been nothing but dirt and weeds, so it needed a specific mix, predominantly fescues, specialized for deep shade. A 3-pound bag of Pennington Smart Seed Dense Shade Mix grass seed was bought from a local big box store.

Pennington Smart Seed mixes come tailored to suit your specific region. For New England (Zone 6) we used a Dense Shade mix containing 34 percent "Seven Seas" Chewings fescue; 34 percent "Camilla" Red fescue; 19.5 percent "Shining Star" Perennial ryegrass; and 9.6 percent "Brooklawn" Kentucky Bluegrass. These are well-rated varieties of their species, chosen for their shade tolerance, not generic filler seed found in low-quality mixes.

In addition to the mycorrhizae inoculation, Pennington Smart Seed is treated with its own Penkote technology. Penkoted seed has been treated with a liquid seed coating containing a fungicide, a natural insecticide, and a growth stimulant. The greenish color of the seed is a result of the Penkote which also has the added benefit of making the seedless desirable to birds.

There were great conditions with plenty of moist rainy weather complemented with warm sunny days. A starter fertilizer containing the pre-emergent herbicide Tupersan (Siduron) was also used. A week after planting, seedlings were sprouting everywhere. A couple of weeks later, it got mowed for the first time.

The 3-pound bag is labeled to cover up to 750 square feet. We went a little heavy, using the whole bag for a lawn of about 500 square feet. The results speak for themselves: a brand new lawn with only a few bare patches to repair and some light overseeding to make it complete. With minimal upkeep, this lawn will be lush, mature, and amazing by fall.