seed bag with call-out closeup of label
Photo: Don Penny/Time Inc. Digital Studio
The label on a bag of seed speaks volumes about the quality of what you're putting in your lawn. Here's how to crack the code.
A. Pure Seed: Look for a blend of two or more varieties. A single variety is more susceptible to being wiped out by disease.

B. Variety: Every common grass, such as tall fescue, should have a variety name. If no variety name is listed, it's a lower quality seed.

C. Other Crop Seed: These are annual grasses, such as winter wheat or rye. Be wary if there's more than 2.5 percent.

D. Inert Matter: This is the stuff that won't grow, such as dirt and broken seeds. More than 3 percent is a red flag, unless it's a seed coating meant to enhance germination.

E. Weed Seed: No bag is completely weed-free, but avoid ones with more than 0.2 percent of these seeds.

F. Noxious Weeds: The best bags will have none of these invasive plants.

G. Tested: Similar to an expiration date. Walk away from bags with a test date more than one year old.
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