Problem: Dead or Discolored Patches
Lawn seeds may not grow for several reasons. 1. Lack of water: Once the seed germinates and the seed coat is broken, the soil must stay evenly moist. If the soil around the seedling dries out, the seedling will die; however, excessive water may rot seeds and seedlings. 2. Temperature: Seeds planted at the wrong time of year, when the temperature does not promote healthiest growth, take longer or fail to sprout. If planted at the proper time, seeds should sprout within 4 weeks. For seed germination times at optimum temperatures. 3. Old seeds: Seeds left over from the previous year will sprout if they''ve been stored in a cool, dry place. Seeds older than 1 year and seeds that have not been stored properly sprout poorly, if at all. 4. Seeds planted too deep: Seeds planted deeper than 1/4 to 1/2 inch usually don''t sprout. 5. Unprepared soil: Seeds must be in direct contact with the soil to sprout.Seeds that sprout in thatch or directly on top of the soil may dry out. 6. Damping-off: This plant disease is caused by fungi (Pythium and Rhizoctonia species). If the soil is too wet and is rich in nitrogen, damping-off is likely. It kills seedlings either before or after their emergence.
The numbered solutions below correspond to the numbered items in the Problem. 1. Sprinkle a newly planted lawn frequently enough that only the surface is allowed to dry out. To conserve moisture, cover the newly planted grass with a lawn soil. 2. Plant warm-season grasses in late spring or early summer as the weather warms. Plant cool-season grasses in early to mid-fall or early spring. 3. Use seed produced for sale in the current year. Check the seed testing date on the box before purchasing. 4. After sowing the seed, gently rake the soil to mix the seed into the top 1/4 inch. 5. To ensure good soil contact, till or rake the soil surface before planting. 6. Fill in low spots that could harbor puddles. Water less often; let the soil surface dry slightly between waterings until the seedlings are 1 inch high.