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Problems That Arise From Low-Quality Grass Seed

Hand planting grass seed for overseeding green lawn care

It may be tempting to go for the grass seed with the lowest price tag, but you get what you pay for with seed. Low-quality grass seed has lower germination rates, higher weed content, and other costly problems.

Low Germination Rate

Grass seed mixes do not all germinate at the same rate. The bag label should list the germination rate so you can make an informed decision when you buy. Cheap grass seed typically has a lower germination rate, which means you’ll have to use more to achieve the same growth coverage. 

High Weed Content

Another thing you may be surprised to find on the bag label is the weed content of the seed mix. Even a small percentage can equate to hundreds of weed seeds in the bag. So, be proactive about weed control by using high-quality seed in the first place. Use the seed with the lowest weed content possible. 

Read the Label

Just like chemicals, grass seed has important information on the label. In addition to the germination rate and weed content explained above, the label contains some other key data. The types and varieties of grass in the mix give you an idea of how it will perform on your property. 

The amount of inert matter with the actual seed is another good indicator of the quality of the mix. If the grass seed wasn’t adequately cleaned after harvest, the mix will contain a higher rate of inert matter. On the other hand, high-quality grass seed is clean and free of debris. The exception to this is when using coated seed. Many states require that coating be listed as inert matter on the tag. The addition of coating often reduces the amount of “light material” or chaff in the bag while adding value with the coating itself. 

See for Yourself

After reading the label, you should inspect the seed itself, if possible. Does it contain a lot of empty seed hulls and stems? Does what you see in the bag match what you saw on the label? Consider these questions to determine the true quality of the seed.

Ultimately, low-quality grass seed tends to cost more in the long run when you add up the costs of reseeding, weed control, and more. Save yourself the money, time, and headache by making a smart seed decision up front.

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