Is Grass Seed not Germinating? (Why + What to do)


Grass seed that doesn’t germinate is one of the most frustrating problems to run into. It’s happened to me and it is not a rare problem. Often, it’s not even something you have control over but there are steps you can take to ensure that this is not the case. Learn how to identify and fix the problem that is causing your slow or nonexistent rate of germination.


Why is my Grass Seedning not working?

There are seven main reasons why grass seed isn’t germinating. These problems are caused by poor germination conditions. For grass seed to germinate properly, there are certain conditions. This is not true if the seeds have been left alone for too long, or if you are selling poor seeds.

Grass Seed Not Germinating – The Main Causes

To answer the question fully, “Why is my grass seed not germinating?” you’ll need to consider the following 7 primary causes.


At 65F, grass seeds will germinate best. Temperatures should not drop below 65F for warm-season varieties during germination. While cold-season varieties will take longer to germinate, they can be germinated at a lower temperature.

Water Level

Grass seeds must be kept damp throughout the process of germination. This can be done with watering your plants. Multiple times a year, lawnEach day, purchase coated seed or coat the seed after purchase. Seeds that are allowed dry out during germination can not germinate properly.


Storage Length

Despite the fact that grass is not a good choice, Seed can last for many yearsIt will lose 30% of its germination rates after two years in storage. This is especially true if temperatures are allowed fluctuate in storage. Even if seeds are kept for more than three years, they may not grow well even if they germinate in the most favorable conditions.


Germination of cool-season grass varieties takes about 7-10 days. Warm-season varieties take on average 2 to 3 weeks to germinate. Some grass varieties may take upto a month to germinate, and they have a low success ratio in germination. If you’re still wondering how long your particular grass type may take to germinate, you can read more about that in this article about seed germination times.


Light is essential for grass seeds to germinate. This is why the ideal cover depth for grass seed is no cover to 1/8” of cover.


Insects are capable of eating or destroying grass seeds. This is usually found inside the grass seed bag. If there were no bugs on the seed before it was planted, it can be stored and less likely to germination..


Poor Seeds

If none of these causes you to experience slow or no growth it could be because you were sold poor seeds. This isn’t uncommon and can be caused by several events during the life of these seeds. This is often not the fault or the seed manufacturer.

Poor germination is usually caused by shipping damage or warehousing. Sometimes, the temperatures in shipments and warehouses can be too low or high to sustain the seeds. Sometimes they can stay too hot/cold for too long. These kinds of incidents are rare to be reported or recorded. These types of errors are rarely reported or recorded. There are usually compensation systems in place.

What to do if your Grass seed doesn’t germinate?

Just because grass seed isn’t germinating doesn’t mean it’s dead. There are many reasons your grass seed won’t germinate. Here are some options. These steps can be failed, but you can often recover some of the investment and start again with new seeds.

Prepare for an indoor test

I recommend that anyone who plants grass seed should have at minimum 10% of the bag to fill any empty spots once they begin germinating. These seeds can also be used to do a germination test. This will make it easier to determine if the seeds are capable or not. This is why I do it so often when I seed my lawn.

These steps are required to prepare for germination testing.

  • Wash your hands.
  • Small plastic sandwich bags, small glass containers or small plastic containers can be made. Make sure all bags and containers are clean and brand-new. If there is too many bacteria, the test may be invalidated.
  • To dampen the towel, use a napkin or paper towel.
  • Sprinkle 20 seeds on half of the prepared napkin, paper towel, or napkin.
  • Fold the other half of the napkin or paper towel over your seeds.
  • Place the seeds in the container
  • Seal the container.
  • The container should not be placed in an area below 65F that does not receive any natural light. You can speed up germination by placing the container on top or a freestanding refrigerator. A clean windowsill is a good option in most climates.
  • Wait at least one week for the seeds to germinate. If they sprout, the seeds will be delicious. If there are no sprouts, ensure that the paper towel/napkin has not dried out. If the paper towel/napkin is too dry, the seal may not be tight enough. You can add more water to make the paper towel or napkin slightly damper, but not as many, and wait another week. Warm-season grasses are more likely to not germinate before the second week.

Check the Temperature

What temperature was it at the end of the week that was below the ideal germinating temperature? It has it ever stayed below 45F for more than 48 hours? If it did, it could be in hibernation. It will need warm weather for several days before it can get back up.

Temperature changes such as these should not cause any damage, provided the seeds aren’t damaged. If you are only planting small areas, it is better to wait for the weather to warm up before you plant the seeds. If this is the case you can place a sheet or clear plastic over the area to increase temperature and speed up germination. Use a solid-colored sheet tarp. For grass seeds to germinate, light is essential.

Reduced Cover

If the seeds are buried more than 1/8” you should work to uncover them so that they can get at least a faint amount of light.


Increase the frequency of watering

Misting your lawn or the area you’re trying to get the grass seeds to germinate at least 4 times a day for 1 to 2 minutes each session, in addition to a short morning watering session of 3 to 5 minutes is recommended. You want to keep the area moist throughout the germination process. You may need to add water if the weather is hotter or sunnier.


It can take several weeks for grass seeds to germinate, especially for warm-season grasses. Keep an eye out for your calendar and ensure that you follow the steps before starting reseeding.

Find and eliminate the infestation

If you find any insects or evidence of them in your grass seed packaging, it will not result in sufficient germination rates. Insecticides may be necessary to ensure good germination. Only use seed- or sprout-safe products

Contact the manufacturer

Grass seed still not germinating? Now, contact the distributor or manufacturer of your grass seed. Contact information can be found online or on the seed packaging.

If the seeds are not able to germinate, the manufacturer might offer advice and compensation if you still have proof. This should not be your last resort. Although it is reliable for replacing subpar items, it can be slow and there is a small chance you won’t receive any.

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Is Grass Seed not Germinating? (Why + What to do)

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