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The back of a lawn seed bag contains a lot of valuable information. Before selecting a brand of seed, read the label to learn what is contained within. This is an example of the back of a typical seed bag.
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First and foremost, look at the varieties of grass listed. Named varieties are generally of higher quality and are considered superior to common varieties. Keep in mind that you will live with your lawn for a long time, so spending a little extra on seed can pay big dividends in the future.
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Next, note the expected germination rate. This is one factor that is subject to change. The older a seed gets, the less likely it is to germinate. Under ideal conditions however, you can expect the seed to germinate at a rate close to what's listed on the bag.
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The origin of the seed is also listed. Seed growers are required to list the origin of any seed that constitutes over 5% of the total quantity contained in the bag. Where a seed was grown has no effect on its adaptability to specific regions.
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Also listed is the amount of crop seed, weed seed, and inert matter contained in the bag. You want as little crop seed and weed seed as possible in a bag of seed. Less than 1% of either is recommended. Inert matter refers to chaff, dirt, and other matter that escapes the screening process. It has no effect on the seed, but it's best if it constitutes less than 3-4% of the content.
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The test date is important because it tells you how fresh the seed is. The older the seed, the less likely you are to have optimal germination rates.
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Maybe the most important thing you want to see on a seed bag is the label "No Noxious Weeds." Quality seeds should contain no noxious seeds, and in fact it's illegal in most states to sell seed that contains certain noxious weed seeds.
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The total weight of the bag is invaluable in determining how much area the seed will cover.