Coated grass seeds vs uncoated is a question that confuses a lot of lawn owners. On the one hand, you have coated seeds with superior properties; on the other hand, they are natural seeds with much higher germination rates.

Coated and Uncoated Grass Seeds

We have compiled a list of all of how these two seed types differ from one another. After going through this article, you can decide which one you want to use the next time.

Features Coated Seeds Uncoated Grass Seeds
Price Expensive Cheap
Coverage One bag of these seeds cover less area Covers more area than an equal quantity of coated ones
Storage Store in an airtight container and keep away from light Store in any cool and dry place
Shelf Life Very short Very long
Seeding Rates High  Low
Disease Resistance Yes No
Repels Bird Yes  No 

How Is A Coated Grass Seed Different From An Uncoated One?

The difference between coated seeds and uncoated is that the coated ones have an artificial coating around them for additional moisture retention and disease resistance. These coatings might also contain fertilizers and other chemicals. Uncoated seeds are without chemicals and are much cheaper with better storage. 

When you buy a two-pound bag of seeds, the coated ones will have fewer seeds than the uncoated ones. A two-pound bag of seeds without coatings will have almost two pounds of seeds in it. On the other hand, a two-pound bag of coated-type seeds will have only one and a half pounds of actual seeds in it.

That is why rather than looking for weight, you need to look for the coverage rate provided by the package. For a 1000 square foot long lawn, you will need to buy more packets of coated type seeds than uncoated ones. 

This is because adding layers of chemicals around each seed increases its weight and size. A very small quantity of these seeds can fill a bag because of their large size.

Coated Grass Seeds Properties

Coated grass seeds properties include holding excellent moisture retention, being covered in fertilizer, and resisting diseases. On the other hand, they are much more expensive than others, and have excessive chemicals bound, with a limited storage once they get germinated.

Moveoer, these grass seeds are much more expensive than normal ones because of their additional properties. It is drought resistant and able to survive well without adequate lawn moisture.

Seeds with coatings germinate for at least several days without their untreated counterparts. The time taken to germinate varies from one grass variety to the next. Most common grasses, like tall fescues and buffalo, take approximately 10 to 14 days to germinate from normal seeds. With treated seeds, they will germinate in just under one week.

– Excellent Moisture Retention

Coated seeds come with an added layer of moisture coated around them. The primary goal of having an extra layer of chemicals surrounding the seeds is to provide long-term moisture retention. This keeps the seeds from drying even if you skip watering the soil for a while, because they have kept water in them.

This enables them to hydrate themselves better even if the volume of water in the lawn is lower than ideally required for germination. Moreover, these seeds also have excellent water-retentive properties and resist dehydration much longer than usual ones would. 

We cannot emphasize how important this property is for germination. The lawn soil needs to be constantly moist for the first two to three weeks after sowing these seeds. With coated seeds, you can rest a little, knowing they will not dry out if you accidentally skip watering once.

Coated Grass Seed Attributes

– Coated With Fertilizer

Some manufacturers sell seeds coated with a layer of fertilizer. If you can get your hands on these, you will see how quickly these seeds germinate compared to those without a fertilizer coating. 

Both slow and quick-release fertilizers are used when coating seeds. This means that the newly sprouted grass blades have quick access to nutrients before establishing contact with the soil via roots. 

The result is a lawn that turns green much sooner than expected and with visibly denser grass. The nutrient that grass needs most is nitrogen, which most fertilizer coatings primarily comprise, which would boost up the quality of your lawn. On the other hand, using these seeds does not mean you do not have to fertilize the lawn before seed sowing, no, it is only there to help you in the primary stages, but full care is required.

– The Ability To Resist Diseases

One major advantage coatings provide to seeds is the ability to resist common diseases. Like fertilizer coatings, you must ask your seed provider to get these seeds. Usually, the grass would be susceptible to fungal and bacterial infections like root rot, mildew, etc., because they are newly sod, and it will be quite easy for these pests to approach and develop, due to the watering.

The Ability To Resist Diseases

These seeds are coated with special chemicals that help resist these infections. Consequently, these seeds are well protected and have a higher chance of survival. Although they are rarer to find and more expensive, you can also get seeds resistant to common lawn grass pests.

– Very Expensive

You cannot expect these specially manufactured seeds to be cheap, right? Seed coating is an artificial process that imparts different properties to them—no wonder these seeds are much pricier than non-coated ones. We are only talking about seeds that have been coated with moisture here. 

Suppose you want seeds coated with fertilizers and disease-resistant chemicals, which would cost even more. It is now up to you to weigh the high costs of these seeds with the useful properties you want. If you think it is worth it, then we see no reason why you should not invest in seeds that have been coated.

Being very expensive is the top among all the other disadvantages of coated seeds. Sometimes these seeds are double the price of untreated seeds. When you think about the fact that they are less in quantity in a single packet and have an expiration date, they turn out to be much more costly than otherwise. It only goes for treated seeds if your budget allows for it.

– Excessive Chemicals

The stuff used to coat the seeds is often toxic to soil organisms, moreover, some manufacturers advertise these seeds as being pest-resistant because of this. However, the truth is that these chemicals are also highly toxic to useful organisms in the soil, and the reason is that they are covered by too many chemicals. When used frequently, they can alter the soil’s ecosystem and kill organisms like earthworks that are useful for soil aeration and drainage.

Not all manufacturers can be trusted regarding seed coatings because they may be using different types of chemicals which would harm the lawn in the long run. One must find out what chemicals have been used to treat the seeds. These substances can turn toxic if the seeds have been coated with fertilizers or disease-resisting chemicals. 

They might also dissolve in water and contaminate the soil. In addition to this, a bag of treated seeds contains a significant proportion of weed seeds, hay, and other fillers. 

– Limited Storage 

Once seeds have been treated, their shelf life gets drastically reduced. They cannot be stored for months on end like ordinary seeds anymore. Manufacturers always provide an expiration date on the back of their packets. 

These seeds become unusable beyond this date and will not germinate in any case. Once the packet is opened, these seeds must be kept from sunlight and stored in an airtight container. Otherwise, their artificial coating will degrade, rendering them useless.

However, if you buy them and store them without treating them, they can survive up to two to three years if stored properly. Storing them properly means keeping them in a cool, dry place, i.e., an airtight container, of course this is without germinating them or exposing them to humidity. 

Keep them out of direct light, or else their coating will begin to break down faster. Despite the best storage, these seeds’ germination rates decrease significantly as time passes. That said, most of these manufactured seeds have a valid expiry date.

Uncoated Grass Seeds Properties

The uncoated grass seeds properties include being more pocket friendly, as they take higher rate in the germination process. In addition, they have a better storage rate than others, and they are chemical free, but they do need extensive watering. 

Fresh and uncoated ones cost much less and provide a much better value for money. You can also buy them from anywhere instead of purchasing specially manufactured ones. 

– Pocket Friendly

These seeds cost much less than those coated with chemicals. You can get them at half or even less than half the price of coated ones. You do not even have to go for packaged and manufactured seeds, because they are a cheaper option and they are also available in the market with a fair price. 

Ask your local plant nursery owner to give you the right fresh grass seeds. With their higher germination rate, these seeds make for much better investment and have better value for money. There are better choices than spending so much on seeds with coatings for lack of effective lawn care.

Uncoated Grass Seed Attributes

– Occasional Higher Rate of Germination

Surprisingly, seeds without coatings have a much higher germination rate. Chemical coatings sometimes have the opposite effect on the germination of the seeds. This is seen most commonly with cheaper seeds made from less trusted manufacturers. The number one reason why chemical coatings affect germination is that they prevent the air from reaching the inside of the seed. 

– Better Storage

Storing seeds that have yet to be coated is no big deal. Any cool and dry place will keep these seeds safe and secure for as long as possible. You do not have to place them in a special container or use preservatives, because they are not covered with any chemicals that may react. 

Better Storage

Compare this with coated-type seeds that need to be stored in an airtight container and exposed to as little air as possible. The chemicals used for coatings are very vulnerable and prone to breakage if exposed to the atmosphere.

– Free of Chemicals

We all know that seed coating comprises various chemicals surrounding grass seeds. That is how you can make them drought, disease, and pest resistant. While these are useful properties, we cannot ignore the fact that these seeds contain potentially risky chemicals. 

Over time as the seeds germinate and are water, these chemicals are released into the soil. There is always a risk that these chemicals will contaminate the soil and the underground water sources. 

Not all manufacturing companies use environmentally safe and eco-friendly chemicals for coating seeds. At least the uncoated seeds are chemical-free and safe for the lawn in the long term.

– Need Extensive Watering

Untreated seeds do not have this property and are prone to drying and dying. Constant vigilance is required in their case to keep them moist till new grass seeds emerge, because they lack this property. The lawn must be watered four to five times daily to keep the seeds highly moist.


After going through our comprehensive guide, you know how treated seeds differ from untreated ones. Treated seeds are very expensive but come with high germination rates.

According to our experts, it is better to go for untreated seeds as a long-term option. They are an economical option and pose no serious threat to the environment. Check out our detailed guide on how to speed up your grass seed germination.

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