7 Questions to Ask Yourself When Shopping for Grass Seed

Do you want to buy grass seed? The backyard: a hotspot for hotdog-friendly backyard barbeques, impromptu swimming sessions, and late-night fireside chats. As the backdrop for your family’s fun in the sun, neglecting your lawn’s appearance and health could spell disaster for your patio-side dinners and high-energy pool parties. For those homeowners with a knack for entertaining, a vibrant green lawn is any hostess at heart’s secret weapon for throwing unforgettable backyard bashes.

Besides impressing your houseguests, a thriving lawn can also reduce noise, offer a cooling effect during scorching-hot summer afternoons, and even lend a helping hand in your erosion control efforts. By contrast, matted, wilting, or insect-infested lawns will send your pool party attendees searching for greener pastures.

If unsightly brown patches have taken residence in your backyard or your grass density is on a downward spiral, it may be time to oversee your lawn.

Whenever it’s time to reseed your lawn, it can be tempting to cut corners with the cheapest bag of grass seed at the home improvement store. Unfortunately, being hasty with your grass seed shopping can cause you headaches down the road if your seed doesn’t take. For best results, ask yourself these seven questions as you’re shopping for grass seed.

What grass seed should I buy?

Each grass seed has its own ideal growing conditions, including how cold or hot a region gets, so it all depends on growing conditions, weather, sunshine, soil type, water consumption, and so on. Once you’ve narrowed it down by growing condition, you’re left with a range of different grasses, and that comes down to personal preference.

  • Northeast and Midwest: bluegrasses, ryegrasses, fescues
  • Pacific Northwest: ryegrasses, fescues
  • Southeast: Bermudagrass
  • Southwest: Bermudagrass, Zoysiagrass, St. Augustine grass

When is the best time to plant grass seed?

When is the best time to plant grass seed

Unfortunately for grass seed shoppers everywhere, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to when you should kickstart seed shopping endeavors. Depending on your region and type of grass seed selected, your overseeding project could commence anywhere from late spring to early fall. For cool-season grasses, your overseeding or reseeding project should fall on a day with temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. In contrast, warm-season grasses flourish in temperatures between 75 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Once you’ve categorized your grass seed of choice as cool-season or warm-season grass, plan your shopping trip around these temperature sweet spots.

How long can I store grass seed before it goes bad?

If planning isn’t your strong suit, rest assured that the fruits of your shopping spree won’t go bad overnight. In fact, when stored in a cool, dry place, purchased grass seed can last up to 2-3 years. However, be warned that the germination rate can take a toll the longer grass seed is stored in the dark corners of your garage or backyard shed.

With this risk in mind, punctuality is the key to picture-perfect results. Most grass seed specialists advise that grass seed is used within one year of purchase.

What is the purity percentage?

Each bag of grass seed comes in a blend. The purity percentage is how much in your bag is actually the grass seed you want. You should discard anything under 90% purity immediately. Reputable grass seed retailers, like Nature’s Seed, pride themselves on rigorous purity testing procedures and a no inert-matter promise.

What’s the germination percentage?

Germination percentage is how much of your grass seed will grow. For example, if your grass seed only has a 50% germination rate and a lower purity, then less than half your bag of grass seed can grow into grass. A combination of high purity and high germination percentage arms your seed with the best possible chance of success.

Why are there other crop and weed seed percentages on my bag?

Other crops on a grass seed bag are different types of commercial grass, and both the other crop seeds and the weed seeds should be unwelcome in your yard. Having a higher percentage than 0.5% of either of those will cause problems.

You’ll need weed killers and other herbicides to control that malignant growth which may damage your fresh new lawn as new grass shoots are very delicate for the first month or so.

What is the noxious weed percentage?

Your state legally determines the definition of noxious weed. However, you should not allow noxious weeds to grow, and anything higher than 0% needs to be discarded at once.

What is the inert matter percentage?

Inert matter is anything else in your seed blend bag that won’t grow. Things like grass clippings, seed stalks, sawdust, and seed husks are inert matter. The more inert matter you have, the less seed you have to grow. 2% is the maximum a suitable grass seed blend should have of inert matter. Anything else, and you may as well throw your money away.

Is the seed blend test important?

The seed blend test shows when the grass seed company last tested it for germination rates. The older the seed, the less likely it is to grow, so you shouldn’t buy any grass seed that’s over twelve months past its last testing date.

What special care does this grass seed require?

Despite lawncare misconceptions sprouting up in homeowners’ minds, your role in the success of your reseeding/overseeding project does not begin and end with choosing a high-quality, inert-matter-free grass seed at your local home improvement store. For vibrantly green lawns that rival a Better Homes & Gardens magazine cover, you’ll need to treat your seedlings to a healthy dose of tender loving care.

For starters, avoid dousing sprouting grass with weed-killer that stall growth. Similarly, yard care enthusiasts in the making will need to keep a healthy distance between their seedlings and their beloved lawnmower and trusty weedwhacker. Otherwise, delicate new grass could sustain growth-prohibiting damage.

Parting shot

There’s more to growing a new lawn than just slapping some grass seed into the ground and watering. Take the time to pick an excellent grass seed with the right components, and you’ll have the best yard in the neighborhood. Besides dropping the jaws of passing neighbors, a luscious lawn will add value to your home, improve air quality, and even fight allergies.

Thank you for reading!

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