Does Grass Seed Expire???
You are sipping coffee this morning and you see a bare spot in your garden or in your front lawn. The sight pricks you and you want to do something about it. You go to your garden storage and find leftover grass seed in one of the containers. The euphoria takes over (I know, I have been there too), but before you sprinkle that in your lawn, search for that tiny voice that asks, “how long has this grass seeds been there?”, “does grass seed expire?”
This may not be a dilemma for non-garden enthusiasts, but trust me when I say, that you are going to need to answer these questions once in your life. So for this article, we are going to talk about storage and the shelf life of grass seeds specifically.
A Direct Answer To The Question
To answer the question, yes, grass seeds do expire. Like all other products, you can see the expiration date of the grass seed stamped on the bag. Just like any product too, grass seeds lose potency as they age. Thus, an expired grass seed will not really germinate no matter how much irrigating and oxidation you give it, no grass shall grow after you sprinkle it. Other sites like Lawn Site would even go as brutal into telling you (honestly, I would do too) to throw out your leftover grass seed if you do not intend to use it in the next two months.
The Spruce suggests that it is very important for us to know what affects the potency of grass seeds because this information is directly associated to expiration. Knowing this is essential (and must be convincing enough) for us to not hold on to excess grass seeds anymore. The following are some of the reasons why grass seeds become less potent when they are stored long:
- The moist content of the grass seed has lessened. Grass seeds that has low moist content are most likely to die because they won’t thrive well in humidity.
- They have lost potency because of storage temperature. Being exposed to changing and extreme temperatures loses the viability of grass seeds to grow. Not only do grass seeds expire but if stored in unideal temperatures, they would lose potency even before they expire.
How Do I Know If My Grass Seeds Have Expired?
This question is totally understandable. Some grass seed bags only have visible packing date but have blank expiration dates (I am basing this on experience). If this happens, checking if the leftover grass seed is expired is easy to detect.
I can recommend two easy ways to identify an expired grass seed. First, check the bag if it is damp or if it has a weird odor as soon as you pick it up. If it is not damp nor smelly, open the bag and look for clumps or any form of discoloration. The clumps and discoloration may be due to fungi contamination because of the moist inside the bag. If one of these two happens to your excess grass seeds, they sure are expired.
The expiration date is a few months away, can I still use my stored grass seeds?
If you are one the many who may have this question in mind, allow me first to commend you for being risk takers because while the answer is a clear yes, it is always a risk to use it near its expiration date because for sure, the germination percent shall be very low. If by a few months you mean two to four months away, I suggest that you weigh it on a bit. If the work, effort and the thought that you might re-seed your grass again because it did not grow out as you expected, then go for it. But if not, might as well learn from this lesson and buy a new stack.
You may also be asking this because you were not too aware that the grass seeds stacked in the shelves when you bought them had different expiration dates. I suggest that the next time you buy one, make sure that you see the expiration date. Grass seeds normally expire after 12 to 18 months, so technically, you have are given an ample time to use it. Plus, it is quite pricey, so it will be for your benefit to use it at its peak health.
For this question, I suggest that you watch these videos on YouTube posted by Christian Country Living:
and Garden and Lawn:
I don’t want this to happen again, what can I do? I have already mentioned that the average shelf life of grass seeds is twelve to eighteen months. Some sites like the Peak Yard says that it can even last up to 36 months depending on the type. The recommended storage procedure boils down to just two things:
- Store at room temperature. Keep out from direct exposure to sunlight or just make sure that where you store it is dry.
- If possible, keep it on its original pack or bag. Almost all grass seed bags are made of polypropolene which avoids moist from entering the bag. But still, there are sturdier packaging. If you are thinking of buying new stacks of grass seeds with sturdy packaging, I suggest Scotts Turf Grass Seed, Scotts EZ Seeds Patch and Repair, Marley’s Cat Grass and Hancock’s Pensacola Bahia Grass Seed.
If you will have further questions after this, please feel free to comment your queries. At best, we established that grass seeds do expire. Because of this fact, we need to make sure that we get the most out of the life expectancy of the grass seeds that we buy. Planting grass seeds that are near expiration is quite a risk, but if you can make it work then well and good. One thing is for sure though, to prevent this from ever happening again, see to it that you follow the necessary storage procedures.