Grass seed not germinating is a common problem faced by turf and yard owners when keeping a healthy lawn. Often, your newly sowed seeds refuse to germinate due to a lack of basic lawn care.
In this article, we have come up with all the foremost reasons responsible for this problem, along with their easy fixes.
Why don’t you jump down right now and find out what those are?
- Why Grass Seeds Do Not Germinate
- How To Fix Grass Seeds To Germinate?
Why Grass Seeds Do Not Germinate
The reason why grass seeds do not germinate is because of the temperature not being right, or the sun not being bright enough. It would also be due to walking on the newly sowed seeds. Moreover, due to burying them too deep and giving inadequate between the seed and soil.
Further reasons could also be a problem regarding your grass seed suffers during germination is that you have chosen the wrong grass type and the time of the year to sow them. Another key reason would be due to the seed being a low quality one.
– The Temperature Is Wrong
Each grass type has its particular demand as to what the soil temperatures should be for germination. Warm-season grasses will germinate only when the soil temperature exceeds 65 degrees Fahrenheit, regardless of the air temperature. On the contrary, cool-season grass types will germinate in slightly lower soil temperatures, around 50 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
You will notice how both grass types need slightly warmer temperatures and will never germinate from late fall till early spring, in this case, it is essential, because this would a ticking point for the seeds to have some time to establish themselves.
Do not worry, even if you somehow end up sowing seeds at the wrong time, because the seeds still manage to germinate once the temperatures become right, but this would also be a matter of how long have you set it before reaching the right season.
– The Sun Is Not Bright Enough
Each grass seed germinates and then sprouts roots and shoots only if it has ample sunlight. There will be zero germination of seeds in the completely shaded lawn areas. In areas that receive only partial or indirect sunlight, the germination rate will be lowed and germination time longer compared to the well-lit areas.
In addition to this, it is also safe to say how shaded areas of the lawn that do not receive adequate light will naturally have lower soil temperatures than brightly lit areas. If grass seeds have not germinated in a certain area of the lawn, there will almost always be a lack of proper sunlight.
Sometimes, the weather is just unexpectedly cloudy, and you must wait for the sun to come out. These factors will impact heavily on the sprouting of the seeds, and if they lack, then it just means that they will fail to germinate properly.
– Walking on Newly Sowed Seeds
After we plant grass seeds in the lawn, it has to turn into a no-man zone for the next three to four weeks, at the very least. We are not even talking about heavy traffic like riding a car or the lawn mower over the seeds.
Even minor and occasional foot traffic from kids and pets might be responsible for impeding the germination of newly sowed seeds. Which means that if you have children and they are out and playing on them, this is a risk that you are taking and so are they, by playing around and jumping, as the seeds will get somehow crushed or damaged.
Most grass species germinate and grow strong enough by the end of one month to withstand being walked on. Basically, if you want to be extra careful, wait for about three to four mowing before going for a walk on the lawn.
– Burying Seeds Too Deeply
It is a common mistake to bury the seeds too deep within the soil because they need sunlight and air to germinate. When having a problem with grass seed germination, check whether the seeds were spread over the existing grass or buried deep in the ground.
It does not matter how good the quality of the seeds or how well prepared the soil is; buried seeds will only sprout if you bring them to the surface again. Remember that they cannot foresee any sun, and they may be trapped in that case, as a result of this, it will be quite difficult for them to sprout up.
A general rule of thumb with seed sowing is to keep the seeds from burying up to one-quarter of an inch into the soil.
– Inadequate Contact Between Soil And Seeds
Due to the reason how some seeds cannot be buried too deep into the soil, many think simply spreading them over an existing lawn is enough. This is a key mistake because the seeds need to be covered by one-quarter or one-half of an inch of soil, or they will not germinate. Take it in a sense how they do not have the freedom and the “safety” to grow themselves out of their shell.
This is especially true when over seeding grass blades because the seeds will stay over the grass and not come in contact with the soil. Unless some soil covers the seeds, they will be easily dispersed here and there by the wind or be plucked off by the birds, which is again, a major threat to the growth of these little shoots.
– The Seed Quality Is Lacking
When everything else is perfect, maybe the only explanation is that the seed quality is too poor to germinate properly. If you buy packaged seeds, it is important to see that they are from a premium manufacturer and have not expired.
Investing little money into buying the best and most expensive seeds is okay. Even for a reasonable price, look for fresh, preferably coated, and pre-germinated seeds.
How To Fix Grass Seeds To Germinate?
To fix the grass seeds to germinate, you should carry out the soil for testing, and choose the right kind of the soil. In addition, you must also test the soil temperature, and provide the right amount of light. You should also schedule watering sessions, and sow them right.
Help your grass seed grow and germinate by selecting the best quality of seeds you can find, preparing your soil well ahead of time, and planting at the right time.
– Carry Out Proper Soil Testing Ahead Of Sowing
Naturally, you want to make sure that your soil is ready for planting grass seed if you want successful germination afterward. Even if you have been growing grass consistently with effective lawn care, starting with soil testing before every new sowing season is still a good idea; you can order a self-soil testing kit online if you don’t want to hire professional soil testers for this job.
When it comes to the right soil test, you must begin and start with will tell you the exact pH of your soil and whether it needs to be modified because grass grows best when the soil pH is somewhere between 5.8 to 7.2. If the soil is too acidic, then adding lime helps, and in case it is too alkaline, you can add some organic compost.
Of course, it would even depend on the seed and right level of acidity. Which means that you should also try to have some professional soil testing in order to also reveal the nutritional status of your soil to see if it is ideal for germination. If essential nutrients like nitrogen or phosphorus are missing, you must fix them using the right manufactured fertilizer.
– Choose The Best Seed Type
Choosing the right type of seed for your lawn is a prime factor when it comes to successful germination later on. If you buy packaged seeds, they need to be fresh and far from expired. These days you can buy pre-germinated seeds that have been coated with fertilizer and pesticides and have a higher success rate.
Double-check that your seed variety is perennial and has no annual written. Annual seeds germinate well for one year, but then the grass dies and does not return for the next year. Now, remember to check for your zone of hardiness levels, and together with this the quality of the seed.
When buying unpackaged seeds from a nursery, always ask them to give you fresh seeds, and do not hesitate if they are a little pricier. However, you should, at all costs, stay away from cheap seed mixtures containing many weed seeds and fillers.
– Test The Soil Temperature
Remember to test the temperature of the soil before spreading seeds all over it. You can get a rough estimate about it using any ordinary thermometer, but only a special earth thermometer can give an accurate measure.
An earth thermometer with a perpendicular bend in its stem is suitable for small depths as the seeds require, which would show you the right temperature, as you would make sure that it is one in which would seeds would start germinating.
Make sure that the temperatures within the soil are consistently right for at least three to four days before you finally decide to spread seeds over it. Even without a thermometer, you can still make a rough estimate because the temperature underground is usually 10 degrees cooler than the air temperature above the soil.
– Provide The Right Amount of Light
You need to check if your lawn has access to proper sunlight before laying down seeds in it. If you live in a generally shady and cloudy area or your house blocks light from the lawn, go for a grass variety that grows under shade.
Another option for shaded areas is to blend shade-loving seeds with your regular seed choice, because you do not wish to grow them in the wrong type of soil. If the weather has been cloudy and gloomy for a while, it will need to pass before the seeds germinate.
– Watering Schedule Is Very Important
Seeds germinate better and faster when planted in soil watered consistently for a few days ahead of their sowing. A dry soil will instead force the poor seeds into dormancy. Part of germination is seeing your seeds shoot up little greens and establish themselves, when you lack this manner by not watering it whenever necessary, the process would fail.
Even on the day of the sowing, water the lawn thoroughly so the soil is dry up to at least six inches while spreading the seeds. This would need about an hour-long watering session on that very day.
Afterward, you must keep the soil from drying up to the surface for one whole week. This will require constant vigilance and watering four to five times daily using short five-minute sprinkler sessions.
Afterward, remember that for the next two weeks, water the soil twice a day because the topsoil needs to be kept moist at all times. You can resume the weekly grass watering schedule after the new grass seeds have sprouted. If you miss a day or two of watering your grass seed do not get alarmed!
– Sow Seeds The Right Way
Yes, folks, there is a proper way to sow seeds in the lawn to get a successful grass outcome.
First of all, the quantity of seeds that you use needs to be just perfect. Using very few seeds will lead to the growth of very sparse grass, but using too many seeds may prevent the germination of seeds altogether. The germination rate will drastically decrease because these extra seeds will compete unnecessarily for resources.
It is always best to follow the recommendations on the back of the seeds package. If you still want to go overboard, don’t use more than 1.5 times more.
You should also start to use a proper spreader instead of spreading seeds by hand estimation. With a spreader, you divide the lawn into vertical and horizontal lines and walk evenly, so the entire lawn gets seeded uniformly.
Lastly, once you are done seeding, bring a rake over and till the soil superficially to bury it no more than one-quarter of an inch. With extreme gentleness, use a grass roller so that there is intimate contact between the soil and the seeds.
Now, you will be able to germinate them successfully, as you now know the result of its failure to have an establishment and the right way to adjust it. Before we end this grass germination guide, here is a brief recap.
- Grass seeds will not germinate when the temperatures are too cold and under 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
- If the soil is dry, the seeds are good quality, and the sunshine is adequate, there will be no germination.
- Do not let anyone walk on the lawn once you have sowed seeds because this crushes them.
Now that you know all the probable reasons why your seeds refuse to germinate, follow the easy guide given by us to get them growing again.
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