Now, that’s the percentage of seeds which germinated in laboratory tests.
Veteran gardeners know that, once that grass seed hits their lawns, the number is much lower.
But it doesn’t have to be.
Understanding the germination process and then taking steps to increase it is a sure fire way to get more germination from more grass seed.
What is seed germination?
Grass seed germination is the growth process that takes place when the seed gets enough water to start sprouting blades of grass.
There are a few factors which impact the germination process:
- Soil temperature: Spring grass seed usually thrives in soil that’s about 12 degrees C
- Hull thickness: The outer shell of the seed will delay germination until its ready
- Moisture: Too much or too little moisture can damage the seed
- Oxygen: Waterlogged soil prevents oxygen from reaching the sprout after it breaks the seed
- Light: Seeds buried too deep won’t reach the surface and begin the photosynthesis process
And while some of those factors may seem out of your control, there are things you can do to improve your germination success.
Test your soil’s pH levels
Why are pH levels so important?
Because if the levels in your topsoil aren’t right, the nutrients your grass seed needs to grow can’t be dissolved in water.
And since grasses (and other plants) drink their food instead of eating it, they can’t get the nutrients unless they’re dissolved first.
pH levels range from 1-14:
- 0-6: The soil is too acidic, which means it’s low in nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium
- 7: The soil is neutral
- 8-14: The soil is alkaline, which means it’s lacking in iron, manganese and phosphorous
Download your FREE guide on identifying poor topsoil BEFORE you buy
Cover the grass seed
Covering the seeds will lock in moisture, which is vital to their growth.
There are many options available to cover them with:
- Straw: It’s affordable and you won’t need to use much of it. Just make sure your straw bale doesn’t have any seeds in it, otherwise you’ll end up with weeds in your lawn.
- Compost: Compost is green and inexpensive (if you compost at home). All you’ll need is about ¼” layer of compost.
- Mulch: Effective (especially when combined with fertilizer), mulch can help improve germination rates by spreading it over the seeded area.
Keep off the grass!
Any seed that’s uncovered will either be eaten by birds or trampled by feet.
So until the grass has fully germinated, do whatever it takes to keep your lawn free from activity (from kids or pets) and birds.
Contact us for all your grass seed needs
Van Beek’s is your headquarters for all things grass seed.
Whether its products, tools or just advice, we’ve been helping Oakville, Mississauga, Milton and Burlington homeowners grow beautiful lawns since 1962.
And we can do the same for you.
We’ll promptly get back to you.