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Not all grass is created equal

Jim Boxberger - Correspondent
Posted 4/24/20

Now that the weather is getting a little warmer and you have been couped up from the Wuhan virus, you may want to start working on your yard to get it into shape or maybe you need to put a lawn in …

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Not all grass is created equal

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Now that the weather is getting a little warmer and you have been couped up from the Wuhan virus, you may want to start working on your yard to get it into shape or maybe you need to put a lawn in from scratch after a rough winter. Either way you will need some good grass seed to do it.

I recently had a customer come in to get a spreader because he was about to put fertilizer on his lawn and reseed a few patches. We got talking about the grass seed as he was about to get a twenty-five pound bag for an area not more than one thousand square feet.

I told him that was way too much as the ground can only sustain a certain amount of grass plants per square foot and putting down more seed than recommended will just cause the strongest seed to choke out the rest. So after I showed him the right amount of seed to get and why, I decided that this would be a good reminder for everyone.

So the label that should accompany this column shows the label from a bag of Deluxe Sun & Shade Lawn Mix. The top line - the name of the product - self explanatory. Line number two - the lot number for the seed, the date tested and the sell by date. Check these dates as they are very important.

If your grass seed does not have a sell by date, check the test date and you generally have eighteen months from that date to use the product for best result. The third line gives a little description that this mix is a fine bladed grass mixture as well as the header line for the state of origin for the seed varieties and the germination percentage. Then there is the list of seed varieties that are in the mix with the largest percentage ingredient listed first, their state or country of origin and their particular germination percentage.

All of the seed in this mix comes from Oregon with the exception of the Boreal Creeping Red Fescue which comes from Canada. The germination percentage of ninety percent means that until December of 2020, nine out of every ten seeds will germinate. After that point the germination percentage will go down, but as long as you keep your seed stored in a cool dry location, most grass seed will be viable for another year or two. Below the seed varieties you have “Other ingredients”.

Inert matter is just a fancy way of saying dust, dirt or anything else that is not seed. However, many companies put loads of inert matter in their product in the form of seed coatings, water retainers and many other fancy terms that mean you are paying top dollar for something not much fancier than drier lint. Other crop seed is seed that is not one of the major varieties listed above and weed seed is just like it sounds. Needless to say you do not want to buy a seed mix with a lot of weed seed, otherwise I will be selling you some weed killer very soon.

After the other ingredients is the coverage for the grass seed. This is one of the most important things on the label that most people know nothing about. Approximate coverage for the seed mixture on this label is one and a half pounds per thousand square feet for reseeding a lawn.

If you are seeding bare ground, you need to double that number, so three pounds per one thousand square feet. Now this rate is not the same for all seed, so you need to check your package. The bottom of the label has the company name and address.

Hopefully this information will help you make a much more informed decision the next time you need to buy grass seed. And remember, if you want to but drier lint with your grass seed, just let me know in advance and I will clean out the trap on my clothes drier.

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