Seasonal Tip

Seasonal Tip

November, 2014
Why didn't my grass seed grow? »
This questions is asked all too often. Learn more about why your seed did not grow.


Why didn't my grass seed grow?

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This is a frequently asked question. All too often, people's expectations are for their newly seeded lawn to look like a mature stand of sod IMMEDIATELY. It is important to realize that in order for the tiny grass seed plant to germinate and establish itself, it needs an environment that makes growth and development possible.

Failure of these conditions is the reason for most seed establishment problems. Listed below are the most common causes of seeding failures:
    Quantity and timing of watering is critical. Seedlings do best with shallow and frequent watering several times a day with a mist or light spray of water. It is critical that young seedlings not be allowed to dry out. Once germination commences and the grass plant begins to grow, the young seedling is extremely vulnerable to desiccation. The soil surface needs to be constantly moist until the seedlings are approximately 1" in height. About that time, watering may then become deeper and less frequent. Too much water can be just as detrimental. Grass seeds may rot with too much water. Also, too heavy a watering will cause the light seed to be moved which will result in an uneven appearance once the grass germinates.
    Planting seed too early in the spring or too late in the fall, when soil temperatures are cool, can delay seed germination. Grasses that normally take about 10 days to germinate may actually take 1 month or more to germinate. At this point, the prepared lawn site is then prone to damage due to erosion and traffic on the site. Also, the exposed seedbed areas are open and inviting to broad leaf and grassy weed problems. Seeding should be delayed until soil temperatures are optimal for grass growth.
    Planting depth, disease and inappropriate use of lawn chemicals may also be the cause of no/poor germination at the time of seeding. It is recommended that the local extension agent be consulted if needed.