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How to Pre-Germinate Grass Seed

By Elizabeth Knoll ; Updated September 21, 2017
Grass seed.
Tall Grass Seed image by Jim Mills from Fotolia.com

Pre-germination of grass seed will enable you to grow and repair patches of grass more quickly than if you put down dry seed. Many sports fields and golf courses use pre-germination, but it can come in handy for regular homeowners as well. Once you have started the process of pre-germination you must lay the seed quickly or it will die. However, you may refrigerate the seeds to extend their life for up to one week. Cool season grasses, such as Kentucky Bluegrass, seem to do best in the pre-germination process.

Begin the pre-germination process about 4 to 5 days before you want to seed bare patches in your lawn. If you begin earlier than this, you will need to use refrigeration to extend the life of the seeds.

Pour your seed into a burlap sack and submerge it in a water-tight container for 12 hours. If you are seeding a large area you can buy seed that comes in a woven plastic sack. You may then simply place that entire sack into the water.

Pull the sack out of the water and allow it to drain for approximately 12 hours. Then place it back into the water for another 12 hours.

Refrigerate your seed if you are not planning to sow it within 1 to 2 days. Remember, the seeds need to stay somewhat moist. If they dry out they will die.

Mix the grass seed with sand or soil. You may also mix in some leaf compost to act as a fertilizer.

Spread your grass seed/soil mix onto any bare patches in your lawn. Remember to continue watering it so that it doesn't dry out. You should see growth in as little as five days.


Things You Will Need

  • Grass seed
  • Burlap sack
  • Water-tight container
  • Sand or soil
  • Leaf compost
  • Refrigerator