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Planting old grass seed

Some seed isn't as viable as it once was but it's still worth planting

By: Sandy Feather ©2015
Penn State Extension


Q. I have some grass seed left over from last fall. I need to fill in a few areas, and wonder if it is still good. Can I use it or should I buy fresh seed?

A. The viability of grass seed depends on a number of factors: the weather when the seed was harvested, the type of seed, and how it was stored. If the weather was dry and cool when the seed was harvested, it bodes well for longer storage. If it was wet and warm, the seed may be impacted by fungi and other organisms that shorten the length of time it can be stored successfully, even under ideal conditions.
 

seeded lawn

The typical varieties of grass grown in our climate are referred to as cool-season grasses, and include Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass and fine fescues. They can be stored for up to five years under optimal conditions, although some loss of germination can be expected.

 


How to Store Grass Seed

Optimal storage conditions for grass seed are cool and dry, with some air movement over them. If the seed was left in a shed or on a shelf in the garage, a loss of 50 percent viability is likely.

It won’t hurt anything to go ahead and use the seed you have this spring. You can sow it at a heavier rate than usually recommended to make up for the loss in germination. Be prepared to purchase fresh seed if the leftovers do not produce a good stand of grass.

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