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A beautiful, dense and lush green carpet of lawn gives every garden that certain something, regardless of whether it is laid out as an ornamental lawn or as an area for playing and romping. Use should always be made of germinable lawn seeds. Older seeds can lead to major failures, especially if they were not stored properly. When buying, you should therefore pay attention to how long the lawn seed will last. Keep leftovers well and they can still germinate for a long time.

Durability of lawn seeds

Especially if residues remain after sowing or the grass seed could not be sown as desired due to poor weather conditions, the question can quickly arise: "How long does the seed actually keep?"

Lawn mixes are usually made a year after harvest. From this point on, the grass seed is still sufficiently germinable for three to four years. It does not mean that seeds stored beyond this can no longer be used. Proper storage is always important. Of course, it is advisable to check older lawn seeds for their germination. A few more remarks on this later.

As the seed ages, the ability to germinate decreases. After three years, the germination rate that can still be expected is between about 50 and 70 percent. However, the durability of lawn seeds always depends on correct storage of the seeds. This means that the ability to germinate can be maintained for longer. However, if older lawn seeds are used, sowing should be denser than normal. Such seeds are also good to use to repair bare spots in the green area.

lawn seed

notice: For one square meter of blooming meadow, a special habitat for insects, up to 3,000 individual plants from 60 different plant species are necessary.

expiry date

In Germany, the quality of the lawn seed is regulated in the Seed Trading Act (SaatG). So the seed must be specific when you buy it growth requirements be able to show. This includes one minimum germination rate. During subsequent storage, this can decrease differently with the different lawn mixtures.

The harvest or production year and the best-before date are always on the individual packaging. Information is also included as to whether the seed may have been genetically modified. The expiry date is of course always important when making a purchase. This tells you how long the lawn seed can germinate, provided it is stored properly. In hardware stores, discounters and garden centers, the durability of lawn seeds can be impaired due to external influences such as increased humidity and high temperature fluctuations, especially in summer.

tip: When buying, you should always take a look at the bottling year. The bottling should be as fresh as possible, then a higher and longer germination capacity is guaranteed.

Proper storage

Of course, only freshly harvested lawn seeds can show the highest germination quality when sowing. With increasing storage time, the germination rate then steadily decreases. However, seeds can still germinate after three to four years because the seedling is protected in a starch shell. During the resting period of the seed, a process takes place within the seeds to prepare for possible germination. This is only activated when water is added. Such processes require a lot of energy and the seed loses a lot of energy during storage. If stored poorly or overlaid, the seed becomes deaf and is then no longer capable of germination. On the other hand, under favorable storage conditions, germination can last for several years. The seed must be deprived of light, air, water and nutrients during this time. Various factors play a role in this:

  • no temperature fluctuations
  • Temperatures around 10°C or below
  • Gazebos and attics not suitable in summer
  • dry room air necessary
  • Moisture accelerates mold growth
  • hermetically sealed container (e.g. disposable glasses with lids)
  • Vessel must be mouse-proof
  • Use silicon gel (drugstore) to reduce humidity
  • store in the dark
  • If necessary, store container in paper bags or boxes
  • no storage in plastic containers in summer
  • support condensation and formation of rot
  • Storage in frost is no problem
  • thus no loss of germination
  • in winter storage in the garden shed or garden shed possible

Avoid moisture

During storage, the lawn seed should have little or no contact with air and moisture, the longer it will last. If the storage location is a basement, it must be dry. Adequate humidity can be found in most cellars. It is also possible to freeze the seeds at -18°C for a few years. To do this, the seed must be well cleaned and dry so that no damage occurs. Silicon gel can be used for drying. The seeds then have to be filled into metal-coated bags and sealed under vacuum. However, this method is quite complex.

tip: Special seed boxes for storing seed are available on the market. These offer protection against moisture and temperature fluctuations. Continuous air circulation prevents rotting or premature germination of the seeds. The boxes are made of metal and thus also protect against rodents and insects.

do a germ test

In order to determine the germination capacity of older grass seeds, a germination test should be carried out before use. Sometimes it is enough to simply look at the seeds to see whether the seeds have been damaged during storage. When opening the package or storage container, care should be taken that

  • the contents dry and unchanged
  • the smell is fresh
  • the seeds are still firm, dry and pointed

If, on the other hand, the grass seed has already germinated, has a musty and musty smell and is also damp and soft, perhaps even showing traces of mould, it can be assumed that there is no longer sufficient germination capacity. The germination rate will be very low, which will be reflected in an extremely thin lawn and bare patches. You should no longer use this seed and dispose of it. It is therefore always advisable to carry out a germination test on older lawn seeds:

  • Line a shallow dish with moistened kitchen paper
  • Scatter some seeds on top and moisten
  • Cover the bowl with foil
  • put in a dark place or cover with a cloth
  • ideal warm window sill
  • soil temperature of at least 12 °C required for germination
  • Keep seed moist
  • after about 8 to 20 days, seedlings should appear

The best would be the germination of half of the seeds. However, the result can also look different, for example

  • no seedlings - seed is deaf, no more use
  • few seedlings - use is still possible, simply sow more densely
  • Germination of half or all seeds - normal sowing possible

tip: Cheap offers of lawn seeds, for example at discounters, are usually of low quality and durability and the germination capacity is sometimes much worse.

Measures to promote growth

As already mentioned, the germination rate decreases with a longer storage period. You should therefore apply a higher amount when sowing to compensate for the lack of germination. Of course, failures or poor germination can still occur. However, this does not always have to be due to the age and durability of the lawn seeds, but there can simply be poor germination conditions such as

  • poorly prepared soil or
  • unfavorable weather conditions

If you now want to use older seeds, you should create appropriate conditions for good germination, for example

  • enough light and water
  • shady places have different requirements than full sun places
  • Avoiding waterlogging
  • add sand or drainage if necessary
  • Prepare soil well, weed-free
  • crumbly soil structure
  • with older seeds high nutrient content of the soil is important
  • fertilize if necessary

After sowing older seeds, you should apply a thin layer of soil and then roll it down lightly. The seeds thus have good contact with the ground, the absorption of nutrients is also promoted and they are prevented from being washed out in heavy rainfall. The seed now requires sufficient watering, but you must not muddy the soil.

tip: The crumb size of the top layer of soil should be about two centimeters, then a good ground contact is guaranteed. As a rule of thumb, anything that fits through the tines of the rake can remain on the surface of the bed.

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