How to Understand Grass Seed Labels


If  you are attempting to lay grass seed down yourself, you might need to know how to interpret all of the label information. When you purchase your grass seed, you will notice a lot of information on the package that you  might not understand very well. I hope this information will help you understand what you are reading a little better. Tips on laying grass seeds can also be read in the general gardening category.

The information on the label comes with many bold lettered headings. Most of this information will be there because of packaging rules and regulations. This is to protect the consumer and make sure you are getting quality seeds. Here is a general description of the main headings on your label.

  • Percent of pure seed-The label should list each type of grass in the package and the percent of each kind in your seed mix. This number is based on weight not the number of seeds. You should mix should have 80% of  desirable grass seeds. If  it is not at least that much, don't buy it. Unless you are overseeding a warm-season awn for winter, you should look for a mix with less than 3 to 5 % of annual grasses.
  • DO NOT buy if you see "VNS"-variety not stated.
  • Germination-This tells you the percentage of live or viable seed in your mix. A germination rate of at least 85% is what you want to see.
  • Weed Seeds-whether you like it or not, you will always be getting some weed seeds in your mix. You should have or accept, no more than
  • 0.5% weed seed by weight. Also look for the promise of "No noxious weeds." Noxious weeds are hard-to-control plants that are unsuitable for lawns.
  • Cultivar names-These are names, usually trade-named grasses and are better than plain species and worth paying a little more for. These grasses have been tested over and over again for performance, durability, and tolerances to varying weather conditions.
  • Test date-Make sure that the test date is no older than 9 to 12 months. This could be older seed that will not germinate properly.
  • Inert matter-This shows the per cent by weight of chaff and dirt in the package.
  • Endophyte-enhanced-If you see this on the package, it means that the package contains seeds that have been proven to be drought tolerant and pest tolerant

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