Buying Grass Seed? Look For These Numbers

14 Apr Buying Grass Seed? Look For These Numbers

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people staring at a bag of grass seed at the St. Louis Park Menard’s or Home Depot. They pick up the bag, examine the numbers, compare the numbers to the other bags, and then just pick the cheapest one usually.weed-control-before-after-minneapolis-mn

I commend these smart shoppers for looking at their grass seed product before they buy and for trying to do research. But if you don’t know what you’re looking for or what the numbers mean, it’s not helping the purchase decision.

Now, I would strongly suggest letting college educated turfgrass specialists like KG Landscape do the seeding for you. Our reseeding and overseeding packages are competitively priced and completely worry free.

But you’re an independent person and want to do it on your own so here’s some info!


 Grass Seed Information You Need Look For

Purity: > 90%

Grass Seed Recommendations for Minneapolis

Seed recommendations from Penn State. Still apply to MN too.

When you add up all the purity percentages, it needs to be over 90%. Purity is the percent of weight of the bag of each seed type. It is not a measure of the quality of a seed but a measure of the quantity of each seed.

Germination: > 80%

This is the real measure of quality. You want every single germination percentage to be over 80% and the closer it is to 100%, the better. This percentage comes from doing tests on the seeds in a lab. It is the percentage of seeds that are capable of growth. Again, you want this percentage as high as possible because you want as much of the seed to spread on the ground to actually turn into grass.

Other crop: < 0.5%

Other crop is often “agricultural crop” seeds that work their way into the mixture. They aren’t necessary bad but they also aren’t the grass seed that you really want. The percentage is the weight of the bag that is listed as “agricultural crop”. This needs to be low.

Weed: <0.4%

Weeds are weed seeds that work their way into the bag as part of the manufacturing process. This is the percentage of seeds that are classified as “other” or as “grass”. You want this as low as possible.

Noxious Weeds: 0

Noxious weeds are the worst kind of weeds so this really needs to be. I would strongly recommend not buying any bag with more than 0. Noxious weeds are the worst because they are can not be managed with the usual chemical treatments. You do not want these in your new grass area.

Inert: <8%

This is the percent of the bag weight that will absolutely not grow. This includes seed material, soil, and other materials that won’t grow. Obviously, you want this as low as possible.

Date Tested: Within 9 Months

Grass seed is a living thing. you don’t want it sitting around in a bag for more than 9 months. The chances that it will grow diminish considerably as it sits on the shelf in the store or in your home.

Perennial Ryegrass: <25%

This is kind of special category that we believe in here at KG Landscape. We do our best to buy grass seed that has a lower amount of Perennial Ryegrass. It’s just not as nice of grass as Kentucky Bluegrass or Fine Fescue. The blades are a little rougher and do not turn as green.


Example of a Grass Seed Label

Here’s an example of a grass seed label. This is a great example of a good bag of seed (except the date of course because I found this online). It’s all tall fescue with no perennial ryegrass. The purity adds up to 98.74% and the germination is at 90%. There are no weeds and no noxious weeds.

So these are the things you want to look for on a label.


KG Landscape is the Minneapolis area leader for turfgrass science for your lawn. We strongly suggest consulting a landscape company like KG before laying down grass seed.

If you want more in depth information, feel free to visit the Penn State website or the University of Massachusetts website.