Can Lawn Seed Go Bad?

Can Lawn Seed Go Bad

Answer: Contrary to popular belief that lawn seed cannot go bad, lawn seed can definitely go bad. 

Lawn seed can go bad. They can expire and become too old to germinate and become grass. Lawn seeds are often okay for use for about one year. Even if they are properly treated and stored for more than one year, their germination rate reduces gradually with each passing month.

They deteriorate fast with time from the second year in storage. For this reason, you should never purchase lawn seeds that are old or have been in storage for a long time. Their rate of germination will be very low. To get extremely good results with lawn seeds, you should only purchase fresh lawn seeds that are only a few weeks or months old. 

What Lawn Seeds are the Best?

The best lawn seeds are those that are fresh; those that have not spent a lot of time on a shelf somewhere. Many companies around the world sell lawn seeds.

 It is best to buy lawn seeds from a company in your country. This is because foreign company lawn seeds could have a good germination rate but could die within weeks because the conditions in your region may not be suitable for them. 

Luckily, there are many lawn seed companies in the United States making quality lawn seeds that are perfect for different regions within the country. The fact that the companies are in the United States also means that their seeds do not take too long to be delivered when ordered, which means they are likely to have a higher rate of germination than seeds from foreign companies. 

One of the best and most renowned manufacturers of lawn seeds in the United States is Jonathan Green. This company has been making lawn products for over 120 years. Its seeds are available on Amazon and they are always fresh and pure. They are also always assessed by government agencies to ensure they are the right thing, and that they are of good quality. 

So if you are looking for the best lawn seeds, you should strongly consider lawn seed products from the Jonathan Green Company. 

How Long Can Lawn Seeds Remain Viable?

Three years. 

Lawn seeds are usually prepared by manufacturers to survive on the shelf for between one and two years. And as long as the place where they are stored is cool and dry, they can easily survive up to two years and still have a germination rate of over 80 percent. 

However, even if they are stored properly, lawn seeds usually deteriorate significantly after the second year. Because of this their germination rate usually reduces significantly in the third year. It can even reduce to 50 or 40 percent. 

Because lawn seeds deteriorate significantly in the third year, you should never purchase them. If you do, you will either end up with a patchy lawn or with no lawn at all. So even if old seeds are being sold at a significant discount as a clearance sale, you should not buy them. 

How to Find Out If Lawn Seeds Are Viable?

As mentioned above, lawn seeds deteriorate with age. Therefore, when you buy seeds and you do not know when they were manufactured (prepared and packaged), you should find out first if they are viable before attempting to plant them.

The easiest way to find out if lawn seeds are viable is to plant a few in a small container indoors. Take a small container, add garden soil/ compost, sprinkle seeds on top of it, and then place the container on a bright windowsill. If the seeds you have are viable, the ones you have planted should germinate in about two weeks. If they don’t, then the seeds you have are not viable. 

 Why Didn’t My Lawn Seeds Grow?

Planting is usually a game of chance. What you plant can germinate and grow or it can fail and die. However, when you prepare properly and do everything right, your chances of success increase significantly. Failure becomes almost impossible. Nevertheless, even when you think you have done everything right, your lawn seeds may still fail to germinate and grow. 

Here are the common reasons why lawn seeds do not germinate and grow sometimes. 

Poor timing

Lawn seeds prefer soil temperatures of about 56 degrees F for germination. Therefore, when they are planted in spring when the soil temperatures are too low, they usually do not germinate. Lawn seeds also do not germinate in winter and late autumn because of low soil temperatures. 


Lawn seeds do not like excess water. For this reason, they do not germinate when in water or when in an environment of excess moisture. So if you plant lawn seeds and you water them too much or it rains too much, the seeds will not germinate. Watering of lawn seeds is only recommended once they germinate.

Insufficient sunlight 

Lawn seeds need sunlight to germinate. They usually do not germinate under trees that do not allow any light down. They also do not germinate very well under totally shaded areas. However, they do germinate and thrive in areas that receive partial, medium, or half-sun. They germinate in the full sun. So if you want to germinate lawn grass, grow them where they are exposed to the sun.  

Poor soil

When lawn seeds are planted in soils that are not very conducive for them, they almost always do not germinate. This is why it is important to test soil quality before purchasing lawn seeds. By knowing the qualities/ characteristics of your soil, you can purchase more suitable lawn seeds. Or, you can take steps to address the issue or issues your soil before planting seeds and wasting two weeks. The issue could be the pH or something else. 

What to Know Before Planting Lawn Seeds

There are several important things you need to know before planting lawn seeds. First, you need to test the soil to know if it is good for lawn seeds. Second, you need to prepare the soil. This usually involves tilling and then correcting pH with lime (for low pH) or sulfur (for high pH) if there is a need. Land preparation also usually involves using fertilizer or compost to introduce nutrients in the soil for when the seeds land.

Third, you need to know that planting lawn seeds do not need to be difficult. You can do it using an automatic grass seed spreader that you can find on Amazon. Lastly, you need to keep lawn seeds moist for them to germinate. Many people usually forget this. Do not. If you keep these four things in mind, your lawn seeds will most likely germinate.