What’s In the Bag? Here’s The Truth Most Seed Companies Don’t Want You to Know
That bag of seed you picked up at your local big-box home improvement store has a dark secret.
And when you put that bag of seed in your lawn or pasture, it makes a huge impact on how much grass will grow - and how healthy your final product is.
What’s the secret?
In many instances, bags of grass seed have less seed than just about anything else.
That means you may be paying at least double what you are led to believe you are paying.
Instead of seeding your lawn, you’re pretty much just fertilizing it - or putting a significant amount of inert material in it. it. If you aspire to seeding your lawn in the best possible manner,that's not the best way to go about it.
So in this article, we want to show you how to spot the true representations of what you are buying, and instead find a grass seed brand that truly helps your yard or pasture grow in the best manner possible.
To kick things off, let’s learn how to read grass seed bag labels.
How to Read Grass Seed Bag Labels
Reading labels isn't really something you think about all the time. Sure, you may see how many calories are in a packet of cookies, but why read a label on a bag of grass seed?
The truth is, you need to read that label.
And seed companies want to take advantage of that tendency. It’s where they put the fine print, and it’s where you need to look if you want to ensure that you get your money's worth.
So let’s look at the basics of grass seed labels.
When looking on the back of your grass seed bag, you’ll typically see a few overarching areas:
- Brand and “Seed Type” - This is where they sell you on what type of “seed” you’re getting
- Weight - The best way to determine how much grass you’ll really get is by weight.
- Breakdown of Seed Volume - This is where the varieties of seed are displayed, and you can find info on how much of each seed type is used.
- Breakdown of Seed Additives - If the seed bag contains any fertilizer, additives, or “inert material,” you’ll be able to see just how much here as well.
- Test Dates - Seeds are tested for germination, viability, weed volume, and purity.
- Sell-by Dates Based on State - Every state allows different time windows for sale based on when seeds are tested.
When you know what you’re looking at and where to find it, you’ve taken the first step toward ensuring two things:
- You’ve bought high-quality grass seed.
- The price you are really paying on a per seed basis.
But quality is more than reading the label - you need to know what to look for next! As we’ve said all along, not all seed bags are created equally.
So let’s look at your “typical” seed bag and uncover the truth.
What Comes In a “Typical” Grass Seed Bag?
Most grass seed bags aren’t predominately seed. But if that’s the case, what are you really getting in the bag?
When you turn your grass seed bag over, you want to hone in on one section to determine quality: the breakdown of additives.
In particular, you're looking for two red flags:
- Coating Material
- Inert Material
What exactly are these materials?
Well, coating material is just fertilizer. Many large big-box grass seed brands pitch that this “coating material” helps your seed grow.
This may or may not be the case, but at a minimum, the bag of “seed” you are buying is not predominantly the seed itself - very important when you are calculating the true cost of what you are buying on a per seed basis.
And inert material? That’s sawdust.
Why do you need sawdust in a bag of grass seed? You don't. It’s just there as filler, and materially dilutes the value of your purchase.
When you pick up a bag of big-box grass seed, you’ve been mislead as to the true value of your purchase.
You might even think that it’s okay to have some of this filler in your bag.
But we’re not talking about 1-2% filler.
The truth is, many large big-box grass seed brands often sell you as much as 90% filler.
We’re not kidding. Here’s a look at a real-life label that we snapped from a national big-box store just down the road from us:
Notice anything in particular? (We made it kind of obvious!)
This 8.3 pound bag of seed - straight from the shelves - is only 10% grass seed. You’re paying $20+ for sawdust.
And while this is a somewhat extreme example, it’s still common practice to add unnecessary elements to bag seeds. Most large big-box brands only use 50% grass seed.
That’s still unacceptable.
Let’s Do the Math
You don’t like filler in your food - or anything else. Why accept it in your grass seed?
Now that you know everything you need to look for, let’s compare some name-brand grass seeds you can pick up at a big-box store with some bags of seed from Nature’s Seed.
When you compare a 50% non-seed bag, you’d have to buy two or more bags to get the same amount of seed that you’d get in a Nature’s Seed bag.
Said another way, grass seed bags sold by many large big-box brand names are, when considering actual seed that’s in the bag, DOUBLE THE TRUE COST of what’s on the price tag, when compared to a bag with the same pounds where there is nearly 100% seed (as is the case with Nature’s Seed).
What’s In Your Bag?
Sadly, the information in this post isn’t a joke. And it’s commonplace when shopping for seed in many big-box environments.
Do you want to know that you are actually purchasing seed?
Do you want to know that the seed is best suited toward your geographic location?
Do you want to know that the price is transparent, and truly represents what is in the bag?
If your answers to those questions are YES, choose Nature’s Seed. Unlike those large big-box brands, you will know exactly what you are getting, every time - the highest quality seed, in a bag that is not diluted with fertilizer or filler.
That’s the only way to ensure a pristine yard - and to make sure you don’t waste your money.