There are many factors that contribute to why grass seed does not grow as expected. It is important to identify why your grass seed did not grow in order to avoid experiencing another frustrating, failed attempt. Do not automatically blame it on the grass seed itself.
All grass seed needs some level of sunlight to grow. If your lawn area is experiencing only 1 to 2 hours of sunlight a day, it may be hard to keep a thick lawn growing in the long run. Be sure to use either my Jonathan Green Dense Shade or Shady Nooks grass seed mixture in shaded areas of your lawn.
Hard clay-packed soil can also make it difficult for grass seed to grow. Proper preparation of the soil is required for best results including vigorously raking up debris and removing any dead grass or thatch on the lawn. Renting a motorized machine can help if you are seeding a larger lawn area. Adding soil amendments such as Mag-I-Cal and Green-Up for Seeding and Sodding will help to get new seedling off to a good start. If you have not tested your soil and the pH value is below 6.0, you may have trouble establishing grass seed and effectively maintaining your lawn.
If the soil and air temperatures are too cold, newly seeded grass may take longer than expected to germinate. If there is not enough moisture in the soil, or if proper watering directions are not followed, grass seed germination will be delayed. Do not bury newly planted grass seed too deep. After all soil preparation is completed, lightly drag a rake over the new grass seed covering it no more than ¼ inches.
Perhaps you did not keep foot or pet traffic off of the newly seeded areas long enough to establish a good stand of grass? The newly seeded area should be mowed 3-4 times before regular traffic resumes on newly seeded areas.
Be sure that you have not applied any weed control products that would prohibit newly sowed grass seed from growing. Also, understand the time frame that it takes for various grass species to germinate. Perennial ryegrass will germinate in 7-14 days, Tall and Fine fescues will germinate in 10-20 days and Kentucky bluegrass can take up to 21-28 days to germinate. Remember, germinate means, “start to grow” not that you will have complete lawn cover in 10 days!
Our grass seed is tested regularly to comply with state and federal seed laws. If the grass seed germinated in the laboratory, why didn’t it grow on your soil? Try this test, put some paper towel in a Styrofoam coffee cup and put 1 inch of water in the cup. Sprinkle grass seed onto the paper towel and put the cup in a warm, sunny window and do not allow the grass seed to dry out. The grass seed will germinate usually within 1 week so refer to the paragraphs above to determine why your grass seed failed.
Please review our Seeding Guide for complete directions.