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Does Grass Seed Get Too Old to Use?

Lawn Basics
4 min read

It is possible for grass seed to get too old to use. If stored properly in dry conditions and out of sunlight for more than a year, the germination rate will decrease, but slowly, and usually only 10% each year. The seed can still be used, but you will have to use more seed. In other words, purchasing older seed at a discount is not necessarily a good value! For best results, use fresh grass seed from Jonathan Green.

The Jonathan Green name has represented genetically superior grass seed, innovation, integrity, determination, and a commitment to excellence since 1881. We take great care to supply you with fresh, live, viable seed.

Most seed packages include three, four, five or more different cultivars that come from different areas of the Pacific Northwest of the U.S. and Canada.  They are checked for germination and purity and very often double-checked by the governmental agencies in the state where they are sold. We take every precaution to ensure that Jonathan Green Black Beauty® grass seed will germinate.

How Old Is Too Old?

If stored in a cool, dry place, grass seed can last for two to three years, but you may not get the same results as you would when planting fresh seed. As the seed ages, the percentage of seeds that will be able to germinate diminishes, forcing you to use more seed than normal to get adequate coverage.

To find out if your older seeds are still capable of germinating, get a Styrofoam coffee cup, put a paper towel in it, add one inch of water, sprinkle the grass seed on top of the paper toweling, put it in a warm, sunny window, check it every few days and water if necessary so it does not dry out. Put a plastic bag on top of the cup to create a mini greenhouse. The seed should germinate in the cup after 10 to 14 days.

Reasons Your Grass Didn’t Grow

If the grass seed you used failed to germinate, it’s not necessarily the fault of the seed. There are many other things that can and will go wrong when attempting to grow grass.

Many homeowners apply grass seed during spring months after they rake up their yards and find bare spots, but cool and wet weather can hinder germination. Grass seed will germinate when soil temperatures reach a consistent 55 degrees and air temperatures reach 60 plus degrees.

Too much water can hinder germination, too.  Excessive spring rains can delay germination and, while watering newly planted grass seed is good for growth, overwatering will not make it grow any faster.

Lack of sunlight and areas that are too shady can make it more challenging to grow grass seed. Shady areas are more conducive to growing trees than grass seed. If your shaded area receives only 1-2 hours of sunlight a day, you may have trouble growing grass. In these areas, pachysandra or ivy are great ground covers to consider.

Great lawns are not as easy and 1-2-3-4. By following Jonathan Green’s revolutionary New American Lawn Plan, you will learn how to address the root causes of any lawn problems, instead of merely battling symptoms such as weeds and insects. Our goal is to feed your lawn AND your soil to encourage your Black Beauty® lawn to thrive.

It’s crucial to create an environment that the grass seed wants to grow in. Test the soil in areas that you are having trouble growing grass seed before you waste money on more seed and fertilizer.

Does grass seed get too old to use? Quite possibly yes, but there could be other reasons you are struggling to grow a lush, dark-green lawn. Visit Jonathan Green online, or visit your nearest independent retailer for reliable lawn and garden advice that can help you achieve great results with your lawn.

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