Harvesting grass seed from your own lawn sounds like something 0.01 percent of Americans would ever consider doing. About that many people would even know how to harvest grass seed!
Of course, there is much more to this process than meets the eye. There are immense benefits to learning how to harvest grass seed. Not the least of which is never having to spend money on expensive grass seed again.
There is a process to this. You have to know when and how to harvest grass seed if you are going to have success. It might sound wild but I would recommend setting aside a little piece of grass and harvest the seed.
When Is Grass Seed Ready for Harvesting?
You can determine when grass seeds are ready to harvest by looking at the seed head. In most cases, you are going to do this in late summer. Of course, you are going to have to know what kind of grass you have grown and what the other seed head looks like to make that determination.
The seed heads should be brown instead of green. You can pull a small bunch of grass from the ground and whack the seed heads against your leg or arm to see if the seeds are ready. They should fall off easily.
Once your grass flowers, you will have around 20-30 days before the seed heads brown and become viable. If you want to know how to harvest grass seed you will need to learn how to identify the different life stages of your grass.
4 Steps to Harvest Grass Seed
This process does have a collection of essential steps to follow. Assuming you are after the best results. If the harvesting process is done correctly and at the right time, your seeds may not germinate.
This is simply too much work for no return. Learning how to harvest grass seeds is just one step, the collecting can be a little more challenging.
Step 1: Choose Your Harvesting Location
Do yourself a favor and choose a location where the grass is mature but not in direct sunlight all day. Choose a location where you are not being eaten alive by ticks or mosquitoes. Harvest in a location that is close to your home.
This should not be a front and center location that you show to the neighborhood because you are going to let that grass mature. In other words, how to harvest grass seed starts with long unkempt grass that is allowed to mature and go to seed.
This can be an eyesore for some. That’s the only way you are getting healthy seed stalks.
Step 2: Stop Mowing
Grass can only go to seed if we allow it to get long enough and mature enough to start producing seeds. So, the next step is to stop mowing the area that you have chosen. Give the grass time to grow to maturity and start to go to seed.
Different grasses have different types of seeds and look different as they mature. This is another reason why it helps to know which type of grass or grasses you have in your yard. Knowing how to harvest grass seed always comes down to variety.
Step 3: Collect the Seeds
Though it might seem daunting the most common way to collect grass seeds is by hand. It’s the most common way and most likely how you will do it, too. There are expensive machines out there that can help.
It’s good to know how to do it by hand. In these early days of learning how to harvest grass seed you should also keep the financial investment minimal.
There are two methods that work best. They are stalking and stripping.
STALKING: In this method, you are going to grab bunches of grass in your hands. Then you can use scissors to cut that bunch of grass and place it into a burlap sack or bag. The best bag will be one you can leave open so the grass does not start to rot or sweat and produce moisture that will negatively affect the seeds.
STRIPPING: This is more tedious but it is still effective. Here you are going to use your hand to strip the seeds off the grass. Store the seeds in the same kind of bag and make sure they can breathe so they will dry and be usable.
Step 4: Store Your Seeds
Once you have collected all the seeds from the designated area you are then going to want to store them safely so they can be resown when the time comes. You want to avoid things like high temperatures and moisture.
Mason jars can be a great place to store your seeds. I think small burlap bags are probably the best for storing grass seeds.
How to Use Your Harvested Grass Seeds
Grass seeds can be very expensive. Not sure when the last time you bought a sack of grass seed. Once you learn how to harvest grass seed you can use one patch of grass to reseed your entire lawn.
Many people have those stubborn patches in the yard where the grass dies off or it has trouble growing. You can reseed these areas with your harvested grass seed, too.
Why Harvest Seed Instead of Buying it?
When you buy a bag of mixed grass seed you simply do not know how it is going to work with your current lawn. Even if you buy seed that is of the same species as your lawn it was not born of your lawn.
The seed that you harvest from your own yard has grown in your soil, it has experienced your weather and the other pressures of your environment. If you continue to harvest and plant this seed then you will have grass that is resilient and adapted to your yard.
This is a skill and a process that can produce a far superior lawn than just buying a sack of grass seed that is on sale.
FAQ About How to Harvest Grass Seed
How long will my grass seed last in storage?
Stored seeds can last for up to 3 years if you keep them dry and cool.
What is overseeding?
Overseeding is a process used to create a very lush lawn. You can seed while your lawn is already growing. This overseeding process is perfect for people who are learning how to harvest grass seed.
You can use your harvested seeds to do the overseeding.
What is the best tool to cut mature grass?
If you are stalking grass then you are going to need to grab bunches of grass and cut them. Use a short pair of shears or sharp kitchen scissors.
Wrapping Up How to Harvest Grass Seed
Learning how to harvest grass seed might seem like a tedious task. The gathering and the stalking might not be something you can see yourself doing. If nothing else it will save you some money.
Harvesting grass seed is a skill. It is not just a skill that will affect your lawn but it will also increase your understanding of the plant world and you can apply it to any plant. If you understand when to harvest grass seeds then you can harvest other seeds, too!
Check out our complete list of the 10 Best Seed Types to Keep on Hand for a Survival Garden.