What is PLS?

All of our seed is sold on a Pure Live Seed (PLS) basis.  A 'PLS pound' is the weight of the seed required to equal one pound of 100% pure, germinable seed. This is calculated based upon each seed lot’s purity and germination tests. You’ll receive high quality, viable seed every time you order from Prairie Nursery. Our seed is tested by an independent seed lab for purity and germination, using standard procedures of the Association of Official Seed Analysts.

How should I store the seeds?

The enemies of seed viability are heat and moisture. The best method for storing smaller amounts of seed is to place the seed inside two sealed Ziploc freezer bags and keep it in a refrigerator. Most prairie grass seeds will retain high germination for 2-3 years, while most wildflowers will keep between 3-5 years without measurable decline in germination, with some exceptions depending upon the species. Some grasses such as Prairie Dropseed, and flowers such as the Blazingstars, Asters, and Goldenrods will not keep well for more than 1-2 years.

If the volume of seed is too large to place in a refrigerator, it can be placed inside doubled plastic garbage bags in a rodent-proof trash can in a cool, dry location, such as an unheated building over the winter, or air-conditioned basement year-round. Seed stored in an outbuilding over winter should be moved to a cool dry location when the weather begins to warm up in early spring.

No Mow Lawn seed will typically retain excellent viability for 18-24 months when stored either refrigerated or in a cool, dry basement.

When should I plant my seeds?

Fall is the best time to sow outdoors, and this can be done anytime from late September until the ground freezes. Early spring is also possible. Prairie seed should not be sown in the summer. For further reading, our article "When to Seed" lists the pros and cons of different seeding times.

Optimal planting times for individual seed species are noted in the "Cultural Details" section of each product page. The information is also available in the Seed Stratification & Propagation Guide PDF.

Fall is the optimal window for seeding No Mow. We recommend seeding sometime between the end of August (after Aug 20) and mid October (before Oct 20). No Mow can also be seeded between early March and mid May, but spring seedings will experience greater competition from weeds. Read more about seeding a No Mow Lawn …

What is stratification?

Stratification is a "seed treatment process." The stratification process simulates the natural conditions that seeds would experience in the soil over-winter, in order to break seed dormancies and initiate the germination process. Stratification treatments are applied when the seed is being propagated in a greenhouse setting or in a way/schedule that is not aligned with the natural germination cycle. Seeds and seed mixes which are sown outdoors in the fall do not require stratification pre-treatments, as the seed dormancies will be broken naturally. Our Seed Stratification Guide article delves into the details of seed stratification…

Is my seed scarified?

Scarification is the process of scratching the seed coat to make sure that moisture is able to enter the seed. Only hard-coated seeds such, as legumes, require “scarification.” Scarification need only be applied when the seeds are sown in either a greenhouse setting (in containers), or if they are being sown outdoors in the spring. Seeds that are sown outdoors in the fall will undergo a natural scarification process over the winter, and do not need additional scarification treatment. If the seeds that you purchase require scarification, it will be noted on the seed packet or label. More information about seed pre-treatment can be found here …

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