The Solution

The key to the mystery is the seed analysis label. By law, the seed analy­sis label must appear on every package of seed sold. If the seed is sold in bulk amounts, the analysis will be printed on a tag tied to the handle of the storage container.

Although legal requirements vary somewhat from state to state, most analysis labels contain the following information:

Purity Purity is the percentage, by weight of pure grass seed. The label must show the percentage, by weight, of each species of grass in the mixture. This allows the consumer to compare the permanent with the nonpermanent grasses and the fine-textured with the coarse-textured grasses.

Percent germination This is the percentage of the pure seed that was capable of germination on the date tested. The date of testing is important and must be shown. If several months have passed since the germination test, the seed is less likely to germinate at the percentage indicated.

Crop seed This is the percentage, by weight, of cash crop seeds in the mixture. These are undesirable species for lawns.

Weeds This is the percentage, by weight, of weed seeds in the mixture. A seed qualifies as a weed seed if it has not been counted as a pure seed or crop seed.

Noxious weeds This is usually the number of noxious weed seeds per pound or ounce of weed seeds. Noxious weeds are those extremely undesirable and difficult to eradicate.

Inert material This is the percentage, by weight, of material in the package that will not grow. In low-priced seed mixes, it includes mate­rials such as sand, chaff, or ground corncobs. Inert material may be

Pt’ fl’t TABLE 13-1.

A Comparison Chart for Turfgrasses

Grass Species

Cool Season or Warm Season

Growth Habit

Leaf

Texture

Mowing

Height/

Inches

Fertilization. Pounds of Nitrogen Per 1,000 Square Feet Per Year

Bahiagrass

Warm

Rhizomatous

Coarse

11/2 to 2

1 to 4

Bermudagrass

Warm

Stoloniferous and rhizomatous

Fine

1 to 2

4 to 9

Bentgrass, Colonial

Cool

Bunch-type (with short stolons and rhizomes)

Fine

1/2 to 1

2 to 4

Bentgrass, Creeping

Cool

Stoloniferous

Fine

1/2 or less

2 to 8

Bentgrass, Redtop (see Redtop)

Bentgrass, Velvet

Cool

Stoloniferous

Fine

1/2 or less

2 to 4

Bluegrass, Annual

Cool

Bunch-type or stoloniferous

Fine

1

2 to 6

Bluegrass, Canada

Cool

Rhizomatous

Medium

Does not mow well

1 or less

Bluegrass, Kentucky

Cool

Rhizomatous

Fine

1 to 21/2

2 to 6

Bluegrass, Rough

Cool

Stoloniferous

Fine

1 or less

2 to 4

Bromegrass, Smooth

Cool

Rhizomatous

Coarse

Does not mow well

1 or less

Buffalograss

Warm

Stoloniferous

Fine

1/2 to 11/2

1 /2 to 2

Carpetgrass, Common

Warm

Stoloniferous

Coarse

1 to 2

1 to 2

Carpetgrass, Tropical

Warm

Stoloniferous

Coarse

1 to 2

1 to 2

Centipedegrass

Warm

Stoloniferous

Medium

1 to 2

1 to 2

Fescue, Chewings

Cool

Bunch-type

Fine

1 1/2 to 2

2

Soil Tolerances

Climate Tolerances

Uses

How Established. If Seeded, Pounds Per 1,000 Square Feet

Infertile, acidic, and sandy

Subtropical and tropical

Utility turf; good for use along roadways

Seeded at 6 to 8

Does well on a wide range of soils

Warm temperate and subtropical

Sunny lawn areas; good general purpose turf for athletic fields, parks, home lawns

Plugging or seeded at 1 to 11 /2

Moderately fertile, acidic, and sandy

Temperate and seacoastal

Areas where intensive cultivation is practical

Seeded at 1/2 to 2

Fertile, acidic, and moist

Subarctic and temperate

Golf greens and other uses where intensive cultivation is practical

Sprigging or seeded at 1/2

to 11/2

Moderately fertile, acidic, and sandy

Temperate and seacoastal

Shaded, intensively cultivated areas

Seeded at 1/2 to 11/2

Fertile, neutral to slightly acidic

Temperate and cool subtropical

Not planted intentionally; but common in intensively cultivated turfs during spring and fall

Does not apply

Infertile, acidic, and droughty

Subarctic and cool temperate

A soil stabilizer

Seeded at 1 to 2

Fertile, neutral to slightly acidic

Subarctic, temperate, and cool subtropical

Sunny lawn areas; good general purpose turf for athletic fields, parks, and home lawns

Seeded at 1 to 2

Fertile and moist

Subarctic and cool, shaded temperate

Some use on shaded, poorly drained sites

Seeded at 1 to 2

Infertile and droughty

Dry and temperate

A soil stabilizer

Seeded at 1 to 2

Does well on a wide range of soils; tolerant of alkaline soils

Dry temperate and subtropical

Useful in semiarid sites as a general purpose lawn grass

Seeded at 3 to 6

Infertile, acidic, and moist

Subtropical and tropical

Utility turf; good for use along roadways and as a soil stabilizer

Seeded at 1 1/2 to 2V2

Infertile, acidic, and moist

Humid subtropical and tropical

Utility turf; good for use along roadways and as a soil stabilizer; can be used as a lawn grass in tropics

Seeded at 1 1/2 to 2V2

Infertile, acidic, and sandy

Subtropical and tropical

Utility turf; also usable as a low – use lawn grass

Seeded at 1/4 to 1/2

Infertile, acidic, and droughty

Subarctic and temperate

Shaded sites with poor soil

Seeded at 4 to 8

(continues)

TABLE 13-1.

A Comparison Chart for Turfgrasses (Co

ntinued)

Grass Species

Cool Season or Warm Season

Growth Habit

Leaf

Texture

Mowing

Height/

Inches

Fertilization. Pounds of Nitrogen Per 1,000 Square Feet Per Year

Fescue, Creeping Red

Cool

Rhizomatous

Fine

11/2 to 2

2

Fescue, Hard

Cool

Bunch-type

Medium

Does not mow well

1 or less

Fescue, Meadow

Cool

Bunch-type

Coarse

11/2 to 3

1 or less

Fescue, Sheep

Cool

Bunch-type

Fine

Does not mow well

1 or less

Fescue, Tall

Cool

Bunch-type

Medium to Coarse

11/2 to 3

1 to 3

Gramagrass, Blue

Warm

Rhizomatous

Fine

Does not mow well

1 or less

Redtop (a bentgrass)

Cool

Rhizomatous

Coarse

11/2 to 3

1 to 2

Ryegrass, Annual

Cool

Bunch-type

Medium

11/2 to 2

2 to 4

Ryegrass, Perennial

Cool

Bunch-type

Fine

11/2 to 2

2 to 6

St. Augustinegrass

Warm

Stoloniferous

Coarse

1 to 21/2

2 to 6

Timothy, Common

Cool

Bunch-type

Coarse

1 to 2

3 to 6

Wheatgrass, Crested

Cool

Bunch-type

Coarse

11/2 to 3

1 to 3

Zoysiagrass (Japa­nese lawngrass)

Warm

Stoloniferous and rhizomatous

Medium

1/2 to 1

2 to 3

Zoysiagrass

(Manilagrass)

Warm

Stoloniferous and rhizomatous

Fine

1

2 to 3

Zoysiagrass

(Mascarenegrass)

Warm

Stoloniferous and rhizomatous

Fine

Does not mow well

2 to 3

Soil Tolerances

Climate Tolerances

Uses

How Established. If Seeded, Pounds Per 1,000 Square Feet

Infertile, acidic, and droughty

Subarctic and temperate

Shaded sites

Seeded at 3 to 5

Fertile and moist; not tolerant to droughty soil

Moist and temperate

A soil stabilizer

Seeded at 4 to 8

Widely tolerant of all but droughty soils

Moist and temperate

Utility turf; good for use along roadways

Seeded at 4 to 8

Infertile, acidic, well – drained, and droughty

Dry and temperate

A soil stabilizer

Seeded at 3 to 5

Does well on a wide range of soils

Warm temperate and subtropical

Utility turf; good for use along road – ways; new cultivars (Brookston, Olympic, and Rebel) good for lawns

Seeded at 4 to 8

Does well on a wide range of soils

Dry and subtropical

Utility turf; good for use along road – ways and in arid sites

Seeded at 1 to 2

Does well on a wide range of soils

Subarctic, temperate, and cool subtropical

Utility turf; good for use along road – ways and in poorly drained areas

Seeded at 1/2 to 2

Fertile, neutral to slightly acidic and moist

Temperate and subtropical

Useful for quick and temporary lawns in the temperate zone and for winter color in the subtropic zones

Seeded at 4 to 6

Fertile, neutral to slightly acidic and moist

Mild and temperate

Used in mixed species lawns and as an athletic turf

Seeded at 4 to 8

Does well on a wide range of soils

Subtropical and tropical seacoastal

A good lawn grass with excellent shade tolerance

Sprigging

Fertile, slightly acidic, and moist

Subarctic and cool temperate

Utility turf; good for athletic fields in cold regions where preferable species won’t survive

Seeded at 1 to 2

Does well on a wide range of soils

Subarctic and cool temperate

Useful as a general purpose turf on droughty sites

Seeded at 3 to 5

Does well on a wide range of soils

Temperate, subtropical, and tropical

Useful as a general purpose turf for home lawns, parks, and golf courses, especially in warmer regions

Plugging

Does well on a wide range of soils

Subtropical and tropical

A good lawn grass

Plugging

Does well on a wide range of soils

Warm subtropical and tropical

A soil stabilizer and groundcover

Plugging

Coarse-Textured Grasses None claimed Other Ingredients 5.87% inert matter

0. 29% weeds—no noxious weeds

It is likely that Mixture C would be the most expensive. It contains the highest percentage of fine-textured grasses, no coarse-textured grasses, no annual grasses, and the lowest percentage of weeds. Mixture A would probably cost the least since it contains a high percentage of coarse grasses and the greatest percentage of weeds. None of the mix­tures is very poor in quality since none contain crop or noxious weed seeds.