What's On a Seed Label?

  1. Seed Variety(s) Name
    Based on percentage in weight.
  2. Lot Number
    Number assigned when packaging the lot of the variety, mixture or blend. Needed for tracing purposes.
  3. Net Weight
    Total weight of the package’s contents.
  4. Germination Rate
    Indicates how much of the pure seed will germinate. Can be used to determine pure live seed.
  5. Place of Origin
    Identifies state or country where seed was produced.
  6. Test Date
    The date seed purity and germination rate was tested.
  7. AMS Number
    Agricultural Marketing Service Number. Identifies the producer/packager.
  8. Name and Address of Producer
  9. Noxious Weeds
    Presence is unwanted (i.e. quackgrass, bindweed, nutsedge).
  10. Weed Seed Content
    Generally weeds that escaped the cleaning process and can be easily controlled or mown out. The lower the percentage of weed seed, the better the purity of the product.
  11. Inert Matter
    Items not classified as seeds or capable of growth (i.e. broken seed, filler). The lower the percentage, the better the purity. (Multiply by 2 to determine volume of inert components.)
  12. Other Crop
    Listed by percentage in weight. Crop needs to specified by name if greater than 0.5%.

Note: Some states require that undesirable grass seeds also be listed. These are grasses that will show up as off types and are not easily controlled with herbicides. The undesirable grass seeds and the laws pertaining to them vary by state.

Procedures for Establishing Turf By Seed

  1. Prepare a good crumbly seedbed: till 6-8 inches deep, firm and level well after tilling.
  2. Fortify the seedbed with fertilizer and lime. A soil test is the surest way to establish proper rates. Applications should be made uniformly and worked into the top 3/4 inches (18 mm) of soil.
  3. After all materials have been worked in, firm up the soil by rolling to assure that no soft spots remain that would settle later on.
  4. With a wide-toothed rake or tine-harrow rake the area into a crumbly state with about an inch (24 mm) of loose soil at the surface.
  5. Apply the seed with a drop or cyclone spreader. For sloped or hard to reach areas hydroseeding is recommended.
  6. Lightly rake the seed into the soil. Seed needs to be bedded in the soil to germinate quickly and uniformly. Not necessary if hydroseeding with a mulch.
  7. Optional mulching with straw or hay is beneficial, especially on sloping areas to hold soil and seed in place in heavy rain or during watering.
  8. In the absence of rain the newly seeded area should be watered 2 - 3 times daily.

Zones for Grass Adaptation

Seed Count Guide

Turf Grass

Approximate Number of
Seeds per Pound

Bahiagrass, Argentine 160,000 - 170,000
Bahiagrass, Pensacola 250,000 - 275,000
Bentgrass, Creeping 6,000,000 - 6,500,000
Burmudagrass, Hulled 2,000,000
Bermudagrass, Unhulled 1,400,000
Bluegrass, Common 1,250,000 -1,500,000
Bluegrass, Turf-Type 1,250,000 - 1,300,000
Bluegrass, Rough (Poa Trivialis) 2,100,000
Poa annua 2,100,000
Carpetgrass 1,000,000 - 1,200,000
Centipede 450,000
Fescue, Creeping Red 400,000 - 500,000
Fescue, Hard 500,000 - 700,000
Fescue, Tall 200,000 - 250,000
Fescue, Chewings 400,000 - 450,000
Lovegrass, Weeping 1,500,000
Ryegrass, Annual 200,000
Ryegrass, Perennial 250,000 - 300,000

Seeded Turf-type Bermudagrass

Q. After I plant this variety, will it “go back”, “mutate” or “revert” to Common bermudagrass?
A. No, the varieties from Pennington Seed are very stable and uniform varieties that have been carefully produced to maintain genetic purity and stability.

Q. How do I select the proper fertilizers and other chemical treatments that I may require?
A. These varieties of bermudagrass require regular maintenance and care to look their best. We recommend that you always follow label recommendations. If in doubt, you may try using the material at half strength over a small area. Please consult your local turf adviser or University specialist regarding specific instructions for your needs.

Q. Can I improve my vegetative bermudagrass by overseeding with an improved turf-type bermudagrass variety?
A. & A. Yes! and Yes! Depending on the general condition of your existing lawn, an overseeding rate of 1/2 to 1 pound per 1000 square feet (0.25 to 0.5 kg /100 sq m) should be sufficient to attain improvement. However for
maximum uniformity and turf performance, you may want to consider completely renovating or converting your stand to one of the advanced turf-type bermudagrass varieties.

Q. What is the seeding rate for new turf?
A. Recommended planting rate is 2 to 3 pounds per 1000 sq. ft. (0.5 to 1.5 kg /100 sq m) of Certified bermudagrass seed (hulled, Penkoted®) with the exception of Princess-77, which can be planted at 1 to 2 pounds per 1000 sq ft. (0.25 to 0.5 kg /100 sq m). With bermudagrass seed, if a little is good, a lot is not necessarily better, these seeding rates are the maximum planting rates recommended. You may get by with planting the lower rates if you are planting in midseason when the temperatures are nice and hot. Likewise, you may need to plant at the higher rates if you seed early or late in the season to obtain optimum coverage. The recommended rates are calculated to give the best coverage under a range of conditions, early to late season.

Q. I just need to repair some small areas. How much seed will I need?
A. For small repairs, 0.5 to 1 pound per 1000 square feet is needed (0.13 to 0.25 kg /100 sq m). Be sure and prepare the areas to receive the seed. Prior to seeding, rake the bare areas vigorously and remove existing plant material and debris so the new seed will make proper seed-to-soil contact.

Q. When should I plant?
A. Seed bermudagrass when soil temperatures are stabilized and consistently above 65º F (18º C). Nighttime low temperatures are similar to soil temperatures and you can use them as a reference point for soil temperatures. If you plant too early or late, when the temperatures are not consistently above 65º F (18º C), germination may be delayed or the seed may fail to come up at all.

Q. Where should I seed bermudagrass?
A. For best results bermudagrass should be planted in full sun on well-drained soil. Proper seedbed preparation including preparations for adequate drainage is essential to the development of mature, healthy turf.

Q. Do you recommend using a pre-plant application of fertilizer?
A. We always recommend doing a soil test first before seeding. If you are unable to have a soil test, then a pre-plant application of fertilizer might be advised, especially if you have any doubts about the soil fertility. Select
something balanced and recommended for the establishment of new turf from seed, i.e. something with an N-P-K formula of 10-10-10 or 15-15-15.

Q. What about soil pH? Is that important with bermudagrass?
A. The soil pH is important. While bermudagrass is widely adapted to a broad range of soil types and soil pH, it does have a minimum soil pH requirement of 5.5 to 6.0, performing best around 7.0. A lower soil pH may result in much slower establishment or a total failure to establish.

Be careful what types of soil additives you bring in or soil amendments you use for top-dressing the newly seeded area in this regards. Your soil pH may be fine for bermudagrass, but the material you bring in may have a very low soil pH and become a barrier to germination.

Q. Should I cover the seed after I plant it?
A. Bermudagrass seed may be raked lightly after seeding to help ensure seed-to-soil contact. Topdressing may be used, but care should be taken to make sure that no more than 1/4 inch (6 mm) of material covers the seed.
Bermudagrass seed likes to be on the soil surface. The top dressing serves to keep the seed from drying out between watering cycles and keep it from moving across the surface during watering.

Q. How long will it take for the bermudagrass seed to germinate?
A. Under ideal conditions, hulled, Penkoted® bermudagrass seed will begin to germinate within 3 to 7 days. Germination is a process that sometimes takes several days to complete. Allow 14 to 21 days for full germination
to be complete especially when temperatures may not be quite as stable, early or late in the season. The seedlings are very small. To see them at 3 to 7 days takes a little doing. You may need to remove sunglasses and catch the sun’s light just right to observe them.

Q. How soon after seeding will I be able to use my bermudagrass turf?
A. For full usage and under ideal conditions, coverage may be attained in 4 to 6 weeks and the new bermudagrass turf is ready to use. If planting is occurring either early or late in the season, more time may be required.

Q. How much water is necessary for the maintenance of bermudagrass?
A. Exactly how little water is necessary has not been quantified by turfgrass scientists. Some projects are underway now to get a better idea. However, they do know that in general, bermudagrass will normally use all the water it is provided. Established bermudagrass can go for extended periods of time (60 to 90 days) without irrigation. They may go off-color and become dormant under such a prolonged period, but when they are watered
again, new growth will emerge.

During germination and early establishment, the seedbed should be kept moist. This period lasts normally 1 to 2 weeks. Later, you should strive for less frequent, deep watering. This practice will encourage the bermudagrass to send down deep roots and result in a healthier turf. Mature bermudagrass can have roots 6 to 12 feet (234 – 498 cm) deep. During periods of drought and stress, these deep roots can save your stand.

Q. How does bermudagrass compare with other turf species for drought tolerance?
A. Bermudagrass is one of the most drought tolerant of the turfgrass species. Here is how it compares:

Bermudagrass Superior
Zoysiagrass Excellent
Bahiagrass Excellent
Buffalograss (St. Augustine) Fair
Turf-type Tall Fescue Poor*
Fine Leaf Perennial Ryegrass Very Poor

*Tall fescue is often touted for being very drought tolerant. It is when compared to other cool season turfgrass species and most importantly; it is established properly so that it develops a strong root system. If it is irrigated often by sprinkler, the roots will not go down deep in the soil and it will suffer with the first heat wave.

Q. Can I water bermudagrass with reclaimed, recycled or effluent water?
A. Yes, bermudagrass does very well with this type of water. The parks department of the city of Los Angeles waters all their bermudagrass with reclaimed water. Their maintenance supervisor maintains that he uses very little Nitrogen fertilizer to maintain good color. However, bermudagrass watered in this manner needs to be monitored to make sure that there is not an unusual accumulation of heavy metals or salts. A program of occasionally leaching the turf with a very deep watering is sometimes helpful.

Q. Is bermudagrass salt tolerant? How much?
A. Yes, bermudagrass is salt tolerant. It is actually one of the most salt tolerant turfgrass species. Following is a chart of relative salt tolerance:

Bermudagrass Superior
Zoysiagrass Very Good to Excellent
Buffalograss (St. Augustine) Good
Turf-type Tall Fescue Good
Fine Leaf Perennial Ryegrass Poor
Bahiagrass Very Poor

Q. How soon after seeding will I be able to mow my new bermudagrass turf?
A. Approximately 3 weeks after seeding, depending on conditions at the time of establishment. In some cases, you may need to mow 2 weeks after seeding. Thereafter, every 3 to 7 days, subject to your management program and use requirements. Never remove more than 1/3 of the leaf blade at any one mowing to avoid scalping or removing too much green material from the plant. Scalping is not only unsightly, but it stresses the turf when too much of the green matter is removed. The above ground portion of the grass, leaves and stems, are needed for converting the sun’s energy to food for the plant.

Q. What is the recommended mowing height for bermudagrass?
A. As a general recommendation, we recommend a minimum height of 1/2 to 3/4 inch (12.7 – 19.1 mm). Princess-77 one of the newer varieties with increased turf density may be mowed just a bit shorter at 3/16 inch (5
mm). This is a minimum. You may prefer to let it grow to a bit longer and keep it at 3/4 to 1 1/2 inches (12.7 – 38.1 mm). It is a matter of personal preference.

However, there are some tips to establishing seeded bermudagrass if you want to keep it short. The first tip is to keep it short from the beginning. Do not let it get long and stemmy before the first mowing. Keep it clipped short
from the beginning. Second, be aware that lower or shorter mowing heights do stress the plant somewhat. Care should be taken to provide adequate water and fertilizer for the turf. Lastly, if you are going to keep the bermudagrass mowed short, we recommend a reel mower to minimize the damage to the leaf blades.

Q. Which type of mower is recommended for bermudagrass?
A. These advance bermudagrass varieties may be mowed by rotary mower. If you plan to keep them very short, you may wish to use a reel mower instead to minimize damage to the leaf blade.

Q. I am in an area that gets cool during the winter months and my bermudagrass will go into winter dormancy. May I overseed with cool season grasses for year round green color?
A. Yes, however, it is usually not recommended on immature bermudagrass or turf less than 6 to 8 months of age. The mechanical processes involved in the overseeding process, scalping and verticutting, can be detrimental to the young stand of bermudagrass. In addition, if the underlying bermudagrass stand is damaged during the process and the cool season grass takes hold, it may be very hard for the damaged, stressed bermudagrass to recover and compete when warm weather returns. If you must overseed with cool season grass on a relatively young stand of bermudagrass, please be mindful of the situation. Do not overseed too heavily with the cool season grass. Use a moderate planting rate. It may also be helpful to plan on some cultural maintenance in the spring to encourage the bermudagrass regrowth with a possible light overseeding of bermudagrass in the spring to increase the bermudagrass plant population.

Q. What does cold tolerant mean in bermudagrass? Isn’t this an oxymoron?
A. Yes and no. Bermudagrass is not generally known for its ability to withstand cold temperatures. However, we have found that some varieties of bermudagrass are better able to withstand cold winter conditions than others. In addition, researchers are taking these cold tolerant varieties and doing intensive research to develop varieties that can survive even colder temperatures. There are lots of areas in the world that are quite hot in the summer allowing bermudagrass to become established, yet the winter temperatures are not conducive to winter survival.

Cold tolerant does not mean that it will not go dormant. It means it is better able to withstand low temperatures that may kill common and other bermudagrass varieties. However, even cold tolerant species can be winterkilled. Cold tolerant is not cold proof. The cold tolerant varieties like Mohawk bermudagrass generally tend to hold or retain their green color a little longer when fall approaches and usually green up 2 to 4 weeks earlier in the spring when the temperatures warm up.

Q. Will these new seeded bermudagrass varieties go to seed in my stand of turfgrass?
A. Under good turf management, these varieties will not be inclined to produce seedheads. Seedhead production in bermudagrasses, whether in stands of seeded bermudagrass or vegetative bermudagrass from sprigs
and turf, is a sign of stress in the plant for adequate nutrients, most commonly, Nitrogen and water. It sometimes occurs when the bermudagrass is kept very closely mowed and Nitrogen levels are not maintained.

Seedhead production is one thing and actual seed production is quite another. Even when seedheads are produced, their likelihood of making viable seed that could germinate is very slim. In order for the bermudagrass plant to produce viable seed, it needs to have water and fertilizer withheld at the proper times with warm dry (relatively low humidity, 10 to 20 % maximum) temperatures that encourage flowering and pollen set. The likelihood of bermudagrass spreading itself from lawn clippings or by the growth of its aboveground stolons or below ground rhizomes or roots is much greater.