Updated at: 14-06-2022 - By: Sienna Lewis

A perfect lawn is something you’ve always wanted, yet your yard is littered with bald spots and spotty areas. Filling in dry places in the yard can be accomplished by sowing grass seeds, but it may take up to a month for the seeds to mature and begin growing. Slow-to-grow grass kinds such as Kentucky bluegrass and bermuda grass can be grown by homeowners in every USDA zone in the country.

Pre-germination of seeds can drastically reduce the amount of time you have to wait for them to sprout. You won’t have as much time to plant if seeds are left out in the open and vulnerable to bird predation. In addition, you’ll be able to enjoy a lush, green grass far sooner than previously.

Imitating Nature

Grass, for example, can only thrive in conditions that are similar to those in which it naturally thrives. It is common for grass to grow outside during all four seasons, including the cold of winter. Seeds are easier to germinate when they are kept in a cool, wet environment, which helps break down their tough outer covering.

A Guide to Grass Seed Germination - Blog | Nature's Seed

In a few of weeks, you can achieve the same effects that would normally take nature months to achieve. Zip up a bag with your grass seed in it. Fresh sponges should be wet but not soaking wet before use. Zip the bag up with the sponge inside. Refrigerate the bag for a month before removing it. In this period of time, the cold and dampness will perform what nature normally does throughout the winter.

Pre-Germinating the Seeds

After stratification, your seeds are ready to germinate or take root. Even so, some grass kinds are slow growers, taking weeks even under the finest of conditions to put out the first root tips. Place the seeds in the ideal environment, accelerating the growth of the roots, before planting them outside.

Wrap the seed in cheesecloth or put it in a burlap or cotton bag and put it in the ground. Keep the seeds in place by tying the top. A stockpot, garbage can, or other container with a tight-fitting lid can be used to store the sack. Put the lid on the container after adding enough water to completely submerge the seeds.

A temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal. Until the grass sprouts, change the water every 12 hours. Three to five days are typical. The seed should be poured onto a clean sheet, newspaper, or other smooth surface once it has sprouted.

It is recommended that you follow the recommendations of the grower for your particular kind of pre-germinated grass seed. Make sure it’s moist before planting, and don’t let it dry out once it’s started to develop in the yard. Raking the seed into the soil before planting ensures that it has good contact with the earth.

Benefits of Pre-germinating Grass Seed

Pre-germination is a process that takes time. Pre-germination, on the other hand, requires soaking the seeds for up to five days. How can seeds spend five days soaking rather than laying down in the soil?

In terms of water saving, pre-germination is the most important benefit. Much of the water is wasted when you water seeds that have been scattered over a surface that lacks vegetation. As a result, it’s frequently depleted and resupplied. Because you don’t have to water your seeds every day for the first week or two after germination, pre-germination reduces your water usage.

Additionally, pre-germination lowers seed evaporation. It is less probable that pre-germinated grass seed will be blown away by the wind, washed away by heavy rain, or nibbled up by birds and squirrels before it takes root because of how quickly it sprouts. With this method, you can get a lusher lawn without having to buy additional grass seed or straw mulch.

Spreading the Grass Seed

Before taking the seed bag from the water, make sure the planting place is ready so that the seeds don’t dry out. Place the seeds in your preferred spreader or scatter them by hand after squeezing out the excess water from the bag. Spray the area with water after softly raking the dirt to cover the seeds once they have been scattered.

How to Pre-Germinate Grass Seed | Hunker

Once the seedlings are about an inch tall, you should water your new lawn every day. To assist the grass get established, you should water every other day for another three weeks. It should only need watering once a week after that.

The Lifespan of Grass Seed

It is possible to keep bagged grass seed alive for one year after the test date on its label if it is stored appropriately. The germination rate of the seeds was evaluated on this date. Depending on the type of grass, that percentage should range from 80% to 95%. Unless the seed is wrongly stored, the rate should be valid for at least the first year from the test date. After the first year, the germination rate decreases by 10–20% per year.

Storing Grass Seed Properly

To ensure that the grass seed germinates, it should be stored in a cool, dry location where the temperature is between 40 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature drops below 32 F, the seed should not be kept in an unheated shed, garage, or any other location. Keeping sacks of grass seed away from the ground and out of the reach of mice is a good rule of thumb. So long as it’s dry, a basement or cellar is a good storage space. As long as an open baking soda box or commercial desiccant is used to eliminate moisture, the seed can also be stored in a functional refrigerator.

Testing Grass Seed Germination

Old grass seed can still be utilized if the amount seeded is raised correspondingly, despite the fact that it won’t sprout as well as fresh seed. A damp paper towel laid on a flat surface is a good place to start. Roll the towel up once you’ve placed 10 seeds in a row on it. For one week, store the rolled paper towels in a zip-top plastic bag in a cool, dry location. Remove the towel from the plastic bag and roll it up. Count the number of seeds that grew. If eight of the seeds germinated, the germination rate was 80%. You might consider getting new grass seed if just 5 out of 10 seeds germinated and grew into shoots.

Sowing Grass Seed

Seed-to-soil contact is necessary for grass seeds to germinate. Sowing depths of less than 1/4 inch are required. Also, the soil should be moist enough to allow the seeds to absorb moisture from the ground. Plant grass seeds in the spring or fall, depending on the time of year. Seed 12 to 16 seeds per square inch using your spreader. Rake in the seeds with a rake that is not too heavy. To germinate, grass seeds require just the perfect quantity of moisture. Until the seeds sprout, keep the top 1 or 2 inches of soil moist but not soggy. Shade the seeds from the sun until they sprout by sprinkling straw over them.

How to Pre-Germinate Grass Seed in 4 Steps

The benefits, timing, and specifics of pre-germination of grass seed are all explored in this article.

Because the earth is usually warm enough at other times for the seed to germinate on its own, the best time to consider pre-chitting seed is between late autumn and early spring. MM Tetra sport, a seed mix designed for cooler climates, is a better choice.

The advantages of pre-germinating are when there is a limited window of opportunity, such as between games, training, or other activities.

Find out how to pre-germinate/chit seed here.

Step One

The weather forecast for the next several days should be checked to see if there is a window in which you may apply the seed. An application rate of between 20 and 35 grams per square meter.

Step Two

Soak the seeds for 24 hours in a tub or bucket. Afterwards, all of the water must be drained from the area. Tights or a sieve can be used to remove the seed. Put it in a warm place like a boiler cupboard or a heated shed/office once it’s drained.

Stir the seed once or twice a day for two days to make sure that the moisture is distributed evenly. Tipping from one tub/bucket to the next a few times seems to work best for me.

Step Three

Look for the seed to chit after three days of constant inspection (above image). You may have to wait another day or two before planting the seed if the seed isn’t ripe.

At this point, you need to get it on the playing field/green. ‘ It will be too late if you try to hold out for another day.

Step Four

A disc or dimple seeder or sorrel roll is the best method for sowing since it provides a lot of seed-to-soil contact. Equipment with a shallow soil impact will do. For example, perennial ryegrass like to be sown no deeper than 15mm into the soil.

The exception to this rule would be on sandy soil, where the seed should be able to bury itself in the surface and begin rooting. To aid the seed, use a thin sand treatment.

How to Avoid Common Grass Seed Mistakes

To keep the birds away and to add a little extra warmth to your greenhouse, use germination sheets, fleece, debris netting, or anything similar.

Top Tips

Young roots and shoots are vulnerable to frost damage, therefore avoid the cold.

Before making a decision, make sure to check the weather, because once the chitting begins, there is no turning back. Inability to plant the seed before the roots take hold will result in its destruction.

If you liked, 4 Steps to Pre-Germinating Also, for more information on Stuart, have a look at this blog’s 20-question quiz.