Grass Seed Buyer's Guide

Everything you need to know about buying grass seed.

How to Buy Grass Seed.

Every season there is a bit of blarney in the seed business. Some seed companies are now adding fillers, coatings, or “treatments” to their grass seed and selling it as magic. Glossy seed bags are now only half full with grass seed, and the rest is labeled as “inert” matter. Often the half-full bag commands the highest price on the shelf. Plastic jugs are now stacking up on the end caps at big box stores. Four-pound jugs are sold with only one-quarter pound of seed inside. My Uncle says it’s like the old days when scoundrels poured water into the whiskey jug and labeled it “Jack Daniels.” Back in the hills of Tennessee, they would get run out of town on a rail. Today the scallywag gets rich.


Grass Seed 101: Read the Label

Here are some simple rules to follow when buying grass seed. First, read the label. Every grass seed bag has an analysis label. It is usually on the back of the pack in super fine print. The label or tag will list the seed varieties in the mix and show the weed, other crop, and inert matter content. Turf-quality grass seed will have zero weeds and zero other crops on the analysis label. Even the smallest percentages of weed and other crop seeds can lead to major weed infestations in the lawn. Other crop seeds can include ugly grasses like annual rye, orchard grass, and coarse-bladed K-31, considered grassy weeds in manicured turf lawns.

Small amounts of “inert” matter naturally occur in any grass seed bag. Inert matter includes seed hulls, stems, and dust, the natural residue of the seed-cleaning process. Careful seed farmers strive to produce grass seed free of weeds and crops with as little “inert” matter as possible. A master seed cleaner can clean and bag grass seeds with less than two percent inert matter. “Inert” matter is what he throws away. The grass seed is what he keeps.

Do the Math - Click to Enlarge

Grass Seed 102: Do the Math!

Second, Do the math, use the calculator on your smartphone, and always calculate the one-pound price when buying grass seed. Modern packaging makes grass seed’s actual weight and costs a bit of a math quiz. Multiply the percentage of grass seed by the bag’s weight to find how many pounds of grass seed are in the bag. Then divide the cost of the bag by the pounds of seed to find the one-pound price. It’s like buying a carton of eggs. You don’t know if the price is right until you know how many eggs you get. Other intended embellishments include inflated “recommended coverage rates” and “soil improver” claims. We call it marketing magic, turning filler into gold.

Seed Coatings: Less Seed for More Money

Buyers beware! It takes only common sense to know Mother Nature has let her grass grow for a billion years without help from coatings or fillers. These magic treatments, coatings, and fillers are marketing distractions to sell you less seed for more money. At the Grass Pad, we put fifty pounds of grass seed in a fifty-pound bag and suggest you use it all.

Two tools in Uncle’s tool kit will make your fall-planted seed sprout and establish faster. The first is covering your seed with Primera Field Conditioner. This weed-free calcine chip holds moisture and dramatically speeds seed germination. The other is feeding the turf with Golf Course Starter or Renovator. One application at the time of seeding and a second application four weeks later help the turf thicken and establish roots quickly. 


Where to Buy the Best Quality Grass Seed?

At the Grass Pad, we think Mother Nature put the magic in the grass seed. Every fall, a green blanket of grass plants reseeds the surface of planet Earth. The grass life cycle controls erosion, cleans the air, purifies the groundwater, and cools the planet’s surface.  It is the soft green blanket that snuggles your toes, your children, and your pets.  It heals the earth, reduces CO2 emissions, and is fun to play on. How much more magic do you want? Because we think green environmental magic exists in every green grass plant, we recommend more seed, not less.

You can feel confident buying grass seed from the Grass Pad; you are getting the newest and most improved generation available. With over 60 years of dedication and pioneers in the grass seed and sod industry, Grass Pad has built its reputation around researching and choosing only the cleanest seed varieties that perform the best for our region.

More Related Articles to Grass Seed:

Grass Pad Grass Seed Varieties

How to Keep Grass Growing Under Trees

Idiot-Proof Lawn Programs

Idiot-Proof Fall Lawn Renovation

Idiot-Proof Spring Seeding


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