You just finished mowing the lawn in your garden and you notice that your lawn is sparse in some places. Also, you remembered that there is an old box of grass seed somewhere in the garage and why not use it? Well, think twice before that because maybe that seed has expired. The germination rate of the seed surely will be lower the older the seed is. Keep reading if you want to find out if can you use your old bag of grass seed for your lawn.
The expiry date of grass seed and how long can it be stored?
Let's start with the expiry date, every grass seed has an expiry date somewhere on the bag. The best for you and your lawn would be to throw away the seed that is the past date on the bag. The percentage of seeds that can grow will be much smaller and that will force you to use more seed and there is still no guarantee that it will be successful. Also, you will probably spend hours and hours feeding and irrigating seeds that never will germinate properly.
In general, seeds can last for 2-3 years, but a seed less than one year old is the best. Of course, it depends on the type of seed also. Ryegrass seed, for example, can be useful for even 5 years, much longer than other common types.
How to put seed into storage
Proper storage of seeds is extremely important for a beautiful and healthy lawn. The best way to secure that is to put your grass seeds in bags with air vents. This way, your seed will be in needed touch with air but at the same time protected from insects. Another important thing is to keep the bag in a cold and dry place with no humidity. Make sure that the temperature is below 60 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity below 60%. Freezing seeds is very dangerous also, so keep it cool and dry at any cost. Depending on where you live and how cold winter is in your area is a very important point when it comes to storing seeds. If the temperature falls below freezing then a shed in your backyard is probably not the best idea. Try with an insulated basement or garage if you have one.
Signs that your grass seed is too old
Sometimes it can be very hard and tricky to detect whether the seed is unusable. Maybe you won't find any obvious signs and the date on the box is just an indicative value. The way you take care of your grass seed and the way you store it is more important than the date on the box. Anyway, look carefully for any signs of mushrooms or discoloration, damp areas on seeds also are common cases. If you find any of these mentioned signs the best for you and your lawn is to throw this seed and purchase a new one.
Useful tips on sowing grass seed
Do your best to give your grass a chance to develop properly but with old seed, it will be a little bit harder. In the first days make sure to water the seed at least twice a day until germination occurred, then water it once every day. When the grass is about 3 inches tall, you can mow it as usual and after the work is done, continue with your watering. Never let your seed to dry out and don't put straw on it because it can contain weeds and other unwelcomed seeds. Cover it with a layer of topsoil instead.
To sum up, your biggest enemies in causing seeds to go bad are the temperature, moisture, and air. If you keep your grass seed in a dry place with constant temperature and good ventilation seed life can be very long. Keep your seed in a bag where pests can't intrude. You also must be aware that even the best grass seed on the market can go bad because of some invasive species that can attack your lawn. Weed is one of them for sure, more about how to get rid of a weed you can be read in one of our earlier articles: Follow the instructions we share with you and you should be fine. All grass seeds go bad at last, you can always use the expiry date as your guideline.