There are so many grass seed options out there that it’s hard to know what to choose for planting a new lawn. Jonathan Green is one of the most reliable brands, with its Black Beauty grass varieties being well-known on the market. If you are trying to decide between Jonathan Green Black Beauty Ultra vs Original, you’re in the right place. Today, I’ll bring you my comparison of these two grass seed products.
In my experience, Jonathan Green Black Beauty Ultra and Black Beauty Original both yield fantastic results, giving you a lush, green lawn. But there are some differences between these two products, and I’ll discuss them here.
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Key Difference Between Jonathan Green Black Beauty Ultra vs Original
The key distinction between these two grass type is the variety of their seed blends:
Black Beauty Original Grass Seed is a mixture of three elite Turf-Type Tall Fescue grasses. It’s my top choice for Tall Fescue grass seed for lawns.
Both grass seeds are excellent quality, produce a dark-green lawn and are seeds I recommend and use personally.
But Black Beauty Ultra combines the wonderful features of the Original variety with the perks of the best quality perennial ryegrass and Kentucky bluegrass. It’s the seed I’m currently using to overseed my lawn.
I like to use Black Beauty Ultra for overseeding for a couple of reasons.
- First, Kentucky Bluegrass is especially good at efficiently filling bare patches, so I like that this seed contains that to naturally thicken and repair my lawn over time.
- And secondly, Perennial Ryegrass germinates quickly and boosts your lawn’s tolerance to heavy foot traffic. With a dog and a couple of kids – I want that resilience.
Let’s break down the characteristics offered by Jonathan Green Black Beauty Ultra and Original grass seed.
Characteristics of Black Beauty Original Grass Seed
Jonathan Green is known for its achievements in breeding turf grass, and its Black Beauty line of grass seed is one of the most highly reviewed seeds you can buy.
With Black Beauty, Jonathan Green established a new group of superior quality turf-type fescues with a naturally deep green color and even leaf texture.
Black Beauty seed can withstand problematic conditions due to its amazing deep root system, and I find that it resists disease better than many of the fescue seeds you can buy at your local box store.
Sod farms and growers all around the United States use Black Beauty Original Grass Seed.
It has a soft, beautiful, and consistent texture (finer and darker green in color than many other fescue lawn grasses), and will strengthen and thicken any kind of cool season lawn – performing in both sun and shade.
Black Beauty Original Grass Seed performs so well because this seed creates an excellent root system that reaches as far as 4 feet deep in the ground.
This makes it a good choice for sandy soil (where your lawn may dry out quicker than others – the deep roots can reach those deep moisture reserves and stand up to drought conditions).
It also makes it a good choice for lawns with heavy clay (those roots can penetrate that clay and improve your soil structure).
The grass leaves have an invisible wax-like coating. Like the skin of an apple, this helps your grass maintain moisture and protects it from diseases and drought.
The company includes its most drought-resistant grass seed in the Original blend. You can blend it into your existing lawn to improve it and make it healthier, or start a new lawn from seed with Jonathan Green Black Beauty Original.
To summarize, Black Beauty Original Grass Seed has the following characteristics:
- Dark green color
- Blend of turf-type tall fescues
- Tolerant to shade
- Excellent sun and drought tolerance
- Tolerant to foot traffic
- Resistant to insects and disease
- Germinates between 10 and 14 days
Characteristics of Black Beauty Ultra Grass Seed
Black Beauty Ultra Grass Seed uses the Original blend as its base, bringing its incredible drought resistance with it.
The Ultra blend is a premium grass seed that quickly establishes in your lawn, thickening it and filling any bare patches.
Including perennial ryegrass and Kentucky bluegrass into the mixture provides extra strength to your lawn, as well as thicker growth than the original.
This grass seed blend creates a gorgeous dark-green grass that does well in full sun and partial shade conditions. With Black Beauty Ultra Grass seed, you’ll enjoy outstanding resistance to heat and disease.
There is premium perennial ryegrass in Black Beauty Ultra, and this helps ensure efficient germination and tolerance to wear on your lawn. This is an especially useful feature if you have heavy foot traffic.
To summarize, Black Beauty Ultra Grass Seed offers the following characteristics:
- Dark green color
- Blend of perennial ryegrass, Kentucky bluegrass, turf-type fescues
- Excellent sun, shade, and drought tolerance
- Good tolerance to foot traffic
- Germinates in 7 to 14 days
Getting the Best Results Overseeding with Black Beauty Ultra Grass Seed
To get the best possible results overseeding with Black Beauty Ultra Grass Seed, you should prepare the area where you plan to plant by taking the following steps.
Step 1: Mow the Existing Grass
Mow your existing lawn shorter than you normally would. so that the seed you put down will be able to get into the soil. Bag your clippings on this mow so you don’t leave extra clippings and debris on your lawn.
Step 2: Use a Metal Rake
Use a metal rake for small areas, or a dethatcher for larger lawns to clean up organic debris and loosen the soil. This ensures excellent seed-to-soil contact and will help the new seedlings push deep roots right out of the gate.
For lawns that are well established and healthy, I recommend overseeding after core aeration.
Step 3: Level Low Areas
If you have low spots that need to be filled in and leveled, this is a great time to do that. Use some topsoil or a mixture of sand and compost to level out these areas so your new lawn looks great.
Step 4: Spread your Seed & Starter Fertilizer
Spread your seed and a good starter fertilizer with a quality spreader in two separate trips across your lawn. You can use my grass seed calculator to learn exactly how much seed you should spread for great results.
I recommend dividing your fertilizer in half, and doing the same with your seed, spreading each product in two passes.
On the first pass put in a header strip around the perimeter of your lawn, then travel north and south across your lawn. With the second half of your product, cover the lawn in an east-to-west direction.
This approach will ensure complete coverage of both products with no bare spots or patches.
I use and recommend Jonathan Green’s Lawn Food for Seeding & Sodding, but there are many that will work – you just want to find something with a balance of nutrients with the middle number on the N-P-K ratio higher than the others. That’s phosphorus, and it’s important for new lawns because it’s what grass needs to develop healthy root systems. This will help your young lawn be resilient right out of the gate.
Step 5: Cover Your Seed & Keep it Moist (but not wet)
After your starter fertilizer and seed are spread you’ll want to cover it to ensure that your seed isn’t washed away in the rain or eaten by birds, squirrels, and other critters.
There are a variety of options that will work for this, including:
- Screened Compost – this is my preferred option. We have it available from my town brush facility for free to residents, so I can get a lot of it and spread it for the price of the Advil I need to take the next day.
- Peat Moss – a great option that does a nice job of holding moisture. You can get this at your local box store, garden center, or just about anywhere. You’ll get filthy, but that’s the only drawback really.
- Top Soil – works fine, just make sure you don’t spread too thick a layer over your seed (easy to do with this one).
- Straw – traditional option that is effective, but many straw bales have seed and that seed will take root in your lawn and be unsightly. It’s easy to spread out over your lawn and won’t leave you filthy
- Seed Blankets – I don’t really like using them, though a lot of people swear by them.
One Final Tip
I recommend testing the pH of the soil in your yard when you seed. You can pick up a cheap pH tester locally at the hardware store to do this.
The best pH for lawn soil is between 6.2 and 7.0, and your new grass will thrive if you can get your soil in this range.
- If you have a soil pH lower than 6.2, I recommend using Jonathan Green Mag-I-Cal Plus for Lawns in Acidic & Hard Soil to increase the pH.
- If your soil’s pH is higher than 7.0, you can decrease it by applying Mag-I-Cal Plus for Lawns in Alkaline & Hard Soil.
I’m in New England and we pretty much all have acidic soil, so I use the product for Acidic soil annually on my lawn.
You can spread it with your seed and starter fertilizer during your seeding project as well. It’s easy to work with and is effective. Here’s what it looks like in the bag:
When Should You Plant Grass Seed?
Jonathan Green’s Black Beauty seeds do best in northern lawns and in certain areas of the transitional zone.
The best time to plant this seed is in early fall, between the middle of August and the middle of October. This is when the ground is still warm enough and the nights are quite cool.
The middle of March to the middle of May is also a good time to do your grass seed planting, but your new grass will be competing with annual weeds at this time of year.
To ensure success for spring planting, you should have a plan to combat crabgrass that is sure to germinate at the same time as your seed. There are some good options on my list of the best lawn weed killers that will kill the crabgrass without harming your new Jonathan Green lawn.
You Really Can’t Go Wrong with Jonathan Green
When you compare Jonathan Green Black Beauty Ultra vs Original, you’ll find that each is an outstanding grass seed blend.
- The Black Beauty Original seed is a blend of the best turf type tall fescue grasses, and
- Their Black Beauty Ultra product includes Perennial Rye and Kentucky Bluegrass which blend in beautifully with the fescue which makes up the majority of the seed.
My best advice is to go with Black Beauty Original if you’re seeding a new lawn, and to use Black Beauty Ultra when overseeding an existing cool season lawn.
And remember – with any seeding project, the soil prep and irrigation will be the biggest factor in whether you achieve the results you’re looking for.
The age of your seed also matters, and that’s why I recommend ordering directly from Jonathan Green’s website. This ensures you’ll receive the freshest seed for your project.
If you’re not sure exactly how much seed to order, try my grass seed calculator. It’ll tell you exactly how much seed you’ll need for your project in just a few clicks.
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