does grass seed go bad

Does Grass Seed go Bad?

The quality of the grass seed will play a critical role in determining how your lawn is going to look like. The higher the quality of the grass seed, the higher the chances of germination. Gardeners often ask if the quality of the seed can go bad. This article will shed more light on this critical question.

Does Grass Seed Go Bad?

does grass seed go bad - woman holding grass seed

Yes, indeed, grass seed has an expiry date. The seeds are mixed with air and moisture, and with such conditions, they are going to have a limited shelf life. Oregon State University Seed Laboratory states that if grass seed is stored in the right condition, it is going to last for up to 5 years.

There is no sure way that will tell if the seeds have expired but the expiry date is a good indicator. Some variety of seeds is not going to last for more than three years. If you want a variety that lasts long, you should consider the perennial ryegrass. When you are buying grass seed, you need to evaluate its expiry date. All you have to do is to read the bag carefully, and you are going to find instructions about the expiry date.

Many people buy grass seed but keep it for a long period of time. If you have done so, and the grass seed is almost expiring, the best thing is to throw it away. Some people would still use the seeds after the expiry date. Whereas the passing of the expiry date does not mean the seeds will go bad, it is important to avoid using them.

Grass seeds are at their optimal rate of germination when they are less than one year old. Of course, the rate of germination will depend on the quality of the seeds and the conditions in which they are stored. The right seed conditions are going to increase the longevity of the seeds.

How to Store Your Seeds

Grass seeds are not cheap. Therefore, if you have a habit of storing the grass seeds well, then, you are going to save a lot of money, and you will be assured of sufficient seeds at the time of sowing. You will need seeds in the next season, and the better you store them, the higher the probability of germination in the following season.

1. Choose a bag

bags of seeds

The kind of bag that you choose is important in determining how long your seeds are going to last. If the grass is unopened, it is going to last longer than the grass which is opened.

2. Make sure the storage area has airflow

If you want your seed to last for a long, then, ensure that the storage area receives constant airflow. Do not place the bags on top of one another. Rather, ensure that they are spread over the storage room. The objective here is to reduce the level of heat and humidity in the storage area.

Another option is to choose seeds that are packaged. Packaged seeds do not interact with the environment in the storage area. As a result, the level of humidity is low which translates to a high level of viability.

3. Don't hoard your seeds

When it comes to grass seeds, do not be a hoarder. Rather than storing seeds for a long time, you can consider giving them out or selling them. When you will need to develop your lawn, you can buy a new set of seeds.

4. Get containers that are compatible with your seeds

seeds in a jar

When the seeds are exposed to moisture and humidity, It is advisable that the level of moisture should not be more than 60 %. In the case that you use containers, ensure that they are compatible with the type of seeds. The internal moisture should be intact, and there should not be external moisture introduced into the container.

When you store your seeds, you should ensure that you keep the seeds free from pests, insects, and rodents. This will ensure that the seeds are intact for future use. Bear in mind that grass seeds are already living organisms and they require a conducive environment if they are to live. The rate of germination of grass seeds decreases with the aging of the seeds. Old seeds can be very disappointing when it comes to germination.

You might find that you are not going to use your entire bag of seeds in a day. In such a case, you need to evaluate the best way of storing your seeds. The right packaging will be very helpful in order to store the leftover seeds. You can use a burlap bag or a cloth sack. You can place a container containing baking soda in order to reduce the level of moisture.

5. Put labels

When you are changing the seed bags for one reason or the other, then make sure that you do the right labeling. This will ensure that you do not confuse one variety of seeds with another. Things you should take note of when you are labeling include the variety of the seed, the date of testing, and the expiry date.

6. Test your seeds

does grass seed go bad - woman testing the seeds

Testing of seeds helps the gardener to have an assurance that the quality of the seed is good. There are two main ways through which the testing of seeds can be done. The first one is to do the eye testing method. This is a careful examination of the seeds prior to planting them. In this, you are going to check signs of fungi or discoloration.

The second method of testing the seeds is to use the cotton wool method. In this, you take a small number of seeds and then wrap them up in cotton wool. Consequently, leave it in the sunlight for some time. If they germinate, then, the majority of the seeds are good.


The quality of grass seeds can be affected by temperature, air, and moisture. The right storage with ventilation ensures that the grass seeds are going to last as long as possible. Because eventually, the grass seeds are going to go bad, then, the best thing is to ensure that you store the seeds in optimal conditions and you observe the expiry date noted in the packaging.

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