Grass Seed Failure
When folks tell me their grass seed did not grow or did not germinate in some spots, I can usually trace poor germination to one of several reasons:
- Sometimes grass seed is spread on a lawn in spring after a crabgrass preventer has been put down by the lawn owner or lawn service. The result is poor germination.
- Personally, I’ve missed an area when I spread grass seed and did not realize it until after I saw no germination in that spot. This can happen to the best of us. It is that tell-tale strip or space where the spreader missed (or should I say where the spreader operator missed).
- One time I covered the seed with too much soil in one spot. All it takes is to spread the seed and then spread the Starter Fertilizer, and then make one pass across the newly seeded area with an upside down leaf rake (tines pointed up). Note: this is a leaf rake, not a garden rake. The idea is to make sure the seed is in good contact with soil and that it is no deeper than the top 1/8 inch. It is ok to still see some seed on the surface.
- Many times the seed dries out during the critical time when the grass is germinating. When this happens, you will likely see little to no germination in the sunny areas and good germination where the soil is in partial shade (where the soil is slower to dry). The Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Blends, with Water-Smart Formula, really give you an edge when you are trying to keep your new seed moist. Scotts EZ Seed also helps to hold moisture next to your seed.
- A heavy rain can move grass seed to the low spots leaving the high spots with little to no germination.
- Years ago when we lived in Ohio, the grass seed did not seem to want to come up next to a wooded area. I seeded several times. Then early one morning while using my flashlight to find the newspaper in the dark, I shined it on this area I had seeded to see if my grass seed was germinating and I saw hundreds of small slugs eating my grass seed sprouts. These slugs crawled from the woods at night and were grazing on my new grass seedlings every time I planted. They would then crawl back into the woods during the day. I put down slug bait and finally I got new grass.
Spring seeding takes longer to germinate than fall planted grass because the soil is colder. With colder soil you can sometimes count on 2 weeks or more before you see new grass spouts. Also, you will generally see some of the grass seed come up a week or so before the rest germinates because of the different varieties in the seed blend.
A feeding of Scotts Turf Builder one month after seeding will also help your new grass fill-in thin areas. If you need to reseed some spots, rough up your soil a little before you seed again.