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  • Writer's pictureTodd Humes

How To Select High-Quality Grass Seed

The beginning of your beautiful property starts in the form of a tiny seed. Selecting your grass seed is one of the most important decisions you'll make for your lawn; it'll affect its health and vitality for years to come. However, not just any grass seed will do. For a hardy and dense lawn, choosing a high-quality seed is essential. In this blog, we'll review how to select a suitable grass seed by assessing its traits, quality, and certifications.

The Basics Of Grass Seed

There are thousands of grass varieties worldwide, and planting the perfect fit for your yard starts with choosing the right seed type. All grasses are split into two categories: cool-season and warm-season. For North Dakota residents, cool-season grasses thrive in the state's continental climate. These turfgrasses will remain green longer and withstand challenging winter hazards. Bear this in mind when searching for the perfect grass type for your home's landscape.

Identifying Your Grass Seed Needs

Choosing your grass seed is all about two factors: its quality and which best fits your lawn goals. Your grass seed needs will vary depending on your location and climate, the sunlight your yard receives, and your soil type. Think about which grass varieties will best tolerate your growing region. Since North Dakota is one of America's driest states, Kentucky bluegrass is a go-to species for its drought hardiness. However, lawn owners with less sunlight often overseed with luscious grass types like fescues for their shade tolerance. Before hitting the garden store, walk around your grounds to determine what environments your turf will be facing.

Does Grass Seed Go Bad?

Yes, grass seeds can go bad. If it isn't properly stored and is exposed to moisture, its germination rate can quickly drop. The most important thing to remember about preventing grass seed from spoiling is to store it correctly according to its package directions. Typically, grass seed should be stored in a cool, dry place in a sealed container for up to two years. When in doubt, check the packaging label for instructions!

Several factors can spoil grass seed within days. If the product's not adequately contained, humidity can cause the seed to grow mold and rot, potentially ruining an entire batch. Mice are also opportunistic and will eat through weak storage bags and containers to eat the seed. Often, the best solution is to trust a lawn care specialist with secure seed storage. By hiring a lawn care company, you don't need to worry about spoiled seeds or attracting rodents.

Assessing Seed Quality

Seed quality is determined by purity, viability, germination rate, and PLS. Product labels can distinguish whether your choice of grass seed is high quality or low grade. The higher these numbers are, the better quality the seed will be.

  • Purity: When grass seed is harvested, some weed seed and other matter may end up in the mix. The purity rate of grass seed tells you what percentage of your seeds are purely grass seed. Federal law requires all seeds to have this rating, so double-check this factor on the back of the packaging.

  • Viability: Seed viability refers to how strong your grass will be once it's germinated. The North Dakota State Seed Department can perform a tetrazolium test to determine seed viability. The NDSD scientists soak the seeds in a tetrazolium solution and analyze staining to determine the seed's chances of successfully surviving past germination.

  • Germination rate: The most critical seed quality factor is germination rate, which is determined by how many seeds sprout in a given time period. While the perfect seed germination rate is 100%, every high-quality grass seed germination rate will be 90-95% on the label. You can also test the grass seed germination rate at home by planting several seeds and tracking how many germinate in your selected time frame. Divide the number of germinated seeds by the total seeds planted and multiply by 100 for a rapid at-home germination rate test.

  • Pure Live Seed (PLS): If you have a big yard and want to buy grass seed in bulk, the Pure Live Seed is an equation to calculate the potential of the bulk seed developing into a seedling. Multiply the germination rate by the purity rate and divide by 100 to get the percentage of PLS to expect in your supply.

Examining Seed Labels And Certifications

The ability to read a seed label effectively is a skill that can empower homeowners to make informed lawn care choices. All seed analysis tags on American seed packages will contain ten labels that provide you with critical information. Read each product label front to back, ensuring you're confident the grass type matches your lawn care goals.


  • Seller Name

  • Lot number

  • Germination rate

  • Seed variety

  • Purity rate

  • Date of testing

  • Crop seed content rate

  • Weed seed rate

  • Inert matter rate


Certified Seed Certification

In addition to these regulated labels, you'll also find several certifications guaranteeing the quality of the seed product. Certified seed is a strict certification that ensures the production of your seed product follows several requirements. These conditions cover everything from field quality to accurate labeling and product storage. For example, the seeds can't be produced in a field once used for a cover crop and must be sent to an approved seed conditioning plant.

Organic Certification

Another common certification is Organic Certification. If you've chosen to grow an organic lawn, it's essential to choose a grass seed that is certified organic. An organic certification label guarantees that the grass seed was produced without synthetic fertilizers or pesticides, was not in contact with sewage sludge, and isn't genetically engineered.

Guaranteed High-Quality Grass Seed At Southview Outdoor Services

Seed selection is a lengthy process, but it's important to make the right choice! High-quality grass seed is the foundation of a flourishing lawn. By understanding grass seed essentials and how to determine if grass seed is high-quality, you're one step closer to achieving your dream lawn. Or, if you'd rather leave it to the experts, our professional seeding services guarantee high-quality seed with no hassle and zero worry.

Looking to reseed your lawn with premium products? Southview Outdoor Services only sows high-quality grass seed into its customers' yards to guarantee outstanding results and a stronger lawn. Contact us today to learn more about our grass seed and seeding services in Jamestown, ND!

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