Quality Grass Seed: Buying the Best

Quality Grass Seed: Buying the Best

When you invest in grass seed, you want quality seed you can count on for results. Navigating all the options in grass seed and grass seed products can be intimidating, but buying the best is simpler than you might think. All you have to do is ask the right questions and know where to find the answers.

The following questions can help you know quality grass seed and good value when you see it, so you can buy with confidence and help friends and family do the same:

  1. Who is the company behind the seed?
  2. What's the connection between the company and the seed?
  3. Are the seed's claims backed by research and science?
  4. What type of seed product is in the bag?
  5. What else is in the seed bag?
  6. Will it germinate when I plant it?
  7. Does the company stand behind its grass seed?

When it comes to quality, reliability and performance in grass seed, company experience and reputation count. It pays to know the history and integrity of the company behind the product. The best quality seed comes with proven records of success and trust.

The lawn and garden industry has grown rapidly in recent years. Existing companies have ventured into seed; newcomers have tried their hand, and come and gone. For more than 60 years, Pennington has maintained a reputation as a leader in the grass seed industry, and the name is now synonymous with top-quality grass seed, industry-changing innovation and honesty.

Many grass seed companies are in the business of buying and selling seed. Their involvement with the seed they sell starts when they buy it on the open market. In other words, these companies can't speak to quality of the growing practices or the controls that went into the grass seed they offer you.

Pennington grass seed is grown by dedicated seed farmers.
Pennington grass seed is grown by dedicated seed farmers.

Many decades ago, Pennington made the decision to work directly with seed farmers and develop a network of dedicated growers to grow its grass seed. Pennington's connection to the seed you buy starts before that seed was ever grown. These valued relationships with seed farmers help produce the finest grass seed available, from the field to the final product.

When you trust your seed investment to a company, you want products that are backed by more than just marketing. Today's lawns can benefit from outstanding, research-backed grass varieties that meet environmental challenges and look and feel beautiful beneath your feet.

NexGen Turf Research, Pennington's private research facility, and university research partnerships with the University of Arkansas, Rutgers, Purdue and others, work toward superior grass seed for a sustainable future.

Pennington's portfolio of products is backed by industry-leading research.
Pennington's portfolio of products is backed by industry-leading research.

NexGen research leads the industry in the development of drought-tolerant, water-efficient grasses to help you create a beautiful, sustainable lawn. Proven through research, science and independent testing, Water Star varieties, such as Pennington Smart Seed, require up to 30 percent less water than comparable varieties and combine outstanding color and textures with improved resistance to disease and insect pests.

Quality seed companies help you understand the purpose of their products, so you can match your project to the product and choose accordingly. Some grass seed products are designed for specific growing regions, such as the Midwest or the Pacific Northwest; others address challenges such as sun and shade levels in your backyard. Seed “mixes" combine two or more grass species, such as Kentucky bluegrass and tall fescue. Seed “blends" combine varieties of the same species, such as two types of tall fescue.

Additionally, some products are designed for specific tasks. For example, for patching or repairing problem lawn spots, all-in-one Pennington One Step Complete simplifies repairs by combining premium Pennington Smart Seed with professional-grade fertilizer and mulch in a single, easy-to-use product. For regular seeding and overseeding projects, purebred grass seed such as filler-free Pennington Smart Seed meets the need.

One of the most valuable indicators of seed quality often goes overlooked, even though it's right on the bag. Government regulations require that every lot of grass seed goes through an independent testing process. The results of that testing appear on every grass seed bag on what's known as a seed tag. The information provided on a seed tag tells you about the composition and quality of what's inside.

A seed tag details the amount of pure seed, inert matter, other crop seeds, and weed seeds found in that product's lot during testing, along with other information. A small amount of non-noxious weed seed is natural, even in premium seed, but quality products are generally 99.9 percent weed-free. Acceptable levels of inert matter depend on its make-up. In products such as Pennington One Step Complete, inert matter includes high-quality, beneficial ingredients such as mulch and fertilizer. But in low-quality seed products, inert matter can mean undesirable fillers, empty hulls and stems.

Many factors influence seed germination, including planting at the best time and planting grass seed properly, but seed tags reveal the actual germination rates observed during testing. The rate shown on the seed tag reflects the percentage of seeds you can expect to germinate under proper conditions, based on the testing that lot received. For quality grass seed products, expect germination rates of 85 percent or higher.

Grass seed quality and high germination rates go hand in hand.

Grass seed quality and high germination rates go hand in hand.

Low-quality seeds with poor germination rates will perform poorly, even under the best conditions. The price on these products may look inviting, but you'll need more seed — and more labor — to reseed the thin, poor areas that result. As seed ages, germination rates naturally drop, so seed tags also include the test date and state-specific sell-by dates.

With some grass seed companies, you're on your own once you leave the store with your purchase. But with the best grass seed producers, the commitment to product quality — and your success — doesn't stop at the point of sale. Through detailed packaging, expert online resources and tip-filled newsletters you can trust, Pennington works to help you avoid common grass seed mistakes and taste success.

Pennington stands behind its seed products to make sure you understand how to use them properly and are satisfied with the results. When used in accordance with the packaging instructions, you can count on Pennington Smart Seed and other premium Pennington seed products to grow the thick, healthy grass you want, guaranteed.

Lush, vibrant lawns start with the best quality grass seed.
Lush, vibrant lawns start with the best quality grass seed.

Buying the best quality grass seed isn't difficult when you know the questions to ask and you understand the seed on the shelf. From your first lawn through every lawn in your future, you can count on Pennington to provide the best grass seed possible and help you achieve the results you desire.

Pennington, Smart Seed and One Step complete are trademarks of Pennington Seed, Inc.

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