EcoSeed™ Frequently Asked Questions
Question: What is EcoSeed™?
Answer: EcoSeed™ is a proprietary blend of seven fine fescue grasses that produce a healthy thick green lawn with minimal care requirements. The seven varieties of fine fescue selected for EcoSeed™ have specific qualities that make them ideal for a low maintenance turf: they have excellent green color, they do not form uneven clumps (clumping is a common problem with other shade grasses), they show extreme tolerance of both sun and shade, they have fine blades that reduce water loss in hot weather, they grow deep roots that allow them to access ground source water naturally and thus handle drought and resist lawn grubs much better than shallow rooted conventional lawns, they do not require fertilizing, and they are slow growing - reducing mowing by 50%. No other lawn seed blend on the market has the same carefully selected seed mix.
In the eleven years that Wildflower Farm has had EcoSeed™ on the market, tens of thousands of homeowners, businesses, and municipalities have enjoyed the benefits of reduced mowing and reduced watering, while at the same time eliminating the use of dangerous lawn chemicals.
Question: What species are in EcoSeed™?
Answer: EcoSeed™ is comprised of the following seven fine fescue grasses:
- Sheeps Fescue
- Lifine Slender Fescue
- Navigator Creeping Red Fescue
- Jasper II Creeping Red Fescue
- Longfellow II Chewings Fescue
- Heron Hard Fescue
- Chariot Hard Fescue
Question: What are the germination rates for EcoSeed™?
Answer: As is required by law, EcoSeed™ is independently tested for germination, seed purity, and weed seed content. Each year EcoSeed™ passes these tests with flying colors. Our 2009 test results show that EcoSeed™ is comprised of 99.0% Pure Seed, with a Germination rate of 88%. The test results also show 0.0% weed seed content so you can be assured that EcoSeed™ is weed-free and viable.
Question: I am interested in purchasing EcoSeed™. Will EcoSeed™ do well in southern climates? We just purchased a new home and we are interested in planting grass in our backyard and thought EcoSeed™ sounds just like what we are looking for!
Answer: EcoSeed™ is a low maintenance, drought-tolerant turf grass that, in most situations, requires no watering, no fertilizing, and very little mowing. While EcoSeed™ will grow in southern climates, since you do receive some very hot and dry conditions at times, you will need to water it once or twice a week depending on the weather.
Question: What makes EcoSeed™ drought-tolerant?
Answer: EcoSeed™ is drought-tolerant for two reasons. First, it produces grass blades that are extremely thin. Typical lawn grass varieties have thick, succulent blades that require a great deal of water to maintain turf structure and health. The thin blades of EcoSeed™ are less susceptible to desiccation. EcoSeed™ also creates an exceptionally deep root system. Most lawns support roots only a few inches in length, necessitating frequent watering. The roots of an established EcoSeed™ penetrate up to nine inches in hard pan clay and 14 inches in sandy soils, siphoning up residual subterranean moisture throughout the growing season.
Question: Why doesn't Eco-Lawn™ need pesticides?
Answer: Eco-Lawn™ is less vulnerable to many insects that love to destroy shallow rooted sod lawns. The common predator is grubs. Grubs are the larvae of June Bugs and non-native Japanese Beetles. These creatures live as grubs in moist soils for two years and then emerge as adults in early summer. The adults only live for about 6 weeks, so their number one goal is to reproduce! In nature the female beetles, once pregnant, lay their eggs in the moist soils of ponds and marshes, which is not the typical home lawn! But when soil is compacted by traffic, high in thatch or devoid of natural soil fauna and flora, grubs find it a perfect place to call home. Eco-Lawn™ is not an ideal host because the deep roots of Eco-Lawn™ allow it to grow in healthy soil that is loose, full of air pockets and teeming with earthworms, grubs' natural predators. Eco-Lawn™ is also more resistant to drought, meaning that it is less susceptible to insects in general. In fact, many insects are beneficial to Eco-Lawn™ because they help to pollinate flowers, keep the soil healthy and aerated and eat other insects that may be harmful to the lawn. Therefore, Eco-Lawn™ rarely needs to be treated with pesticides.
I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.
Question: What makes Eco-Seed drought tolerant?
Answer: Eco-Seed is drought tolerant for two reasons. First, it produces grass blades that are extremely thin. Typical lawn grass varieties have thick, succulent blades that require a great deal of water to maintain turf structure and health. The thin blades of Eco-Seed are less susceptible to desiccation. Eco-Seed also creates an exceptionally deep root system. Most lawns support roots only a few inches in length, necessitating frequent watering. The roots of an established Eco-Seed penetrate up to nine inches in hard pan clay and 14 inches in sandy soils, siphoning up residual subterranean moisture throughout the growing season.
Question: How many gallons of water a year will I need to water my Eco-Seed compared to traditional lawn seed such as Kentucky bluegrass?
Answer: A standard Kentucky bluegrass or perennial rye lawn requires one to two inches of water a week. For a 1,000 square foot lawn, that amounts to more than 100,000 thousand gallons a year! Eco-Seed, however, requires minimal watering. In central and southern California, no more than 17,500 gallons of water are necessary for a 1,000 square foot Eco-Seed from April through October and only 25,600 gallons for the whole year. To compare how much water you are now using vs. Eco-Seed please try using our online Water Calculator.
Question: When is the best time to sow Eco-Seed?
Answer: Like all turf blended grass seed, Eco-Seed is best sown in cool, moist conditions (approximately 65 degrees Fahrenheit or 18 Celsius). For most of North America, the best time to sow Eco-Seed is in early autumn or early spring. In California and other warm climate areas, November - January is the ideal time to sow Eco-Seed.
Question: Why doesn't Eco-Seed need fertilizing?
Answer: Eco-Seed, unlike traditional turf grasses, creates a deep root system. It will make roots up to 9 inches deep in hard-pan clay soils and up to 14 inches deep in sandy soils! These deep root systems enable Eco-Seed to naturally source the nutrients it requires from the soil so you don't need to add chemical fertilizers!
Question: Why doesn't Eco-Seed need pesticides?
Answer: Eco-Seed is less vulnerable to many insects that love to destroy shallow rooted sod lawns. The common predator is grubs. Grubs are the larvae of June Bugs and non-native Japanese Beetles. These creatures live as grubs in moist soils for two years and then emerge as adults in early summer. The adults only live for about 6 weeks, so their number one goal is to reproduce! In nature the female beetles, once pregnant, lay their eggs in the moist soils of pond edges and stream banks. Today, grubs are most often found in well-watered lawns. Traditional lawns have no real root systems and demands that you water them, making the soil surface of your lawn soft and damp - the exact conditions that the female beetles want to lay their eggs in! Since Eco-Seed requires very little watering once established, the surface of the soil is hard and thus it is less attractive to the adult beetles looking to lay their eggs. They simply go somewhere else to lay their eggs! Eco-Seed is less vulnerable to many other lawn insect pests because its deep and dense root system makes an inhospitable environment for many insects that like to live just below the surface of a shallow rooted sod lawn. Many insect pests like to eat the exotic grasses such as Bermuda and Kentucky Blue but are not attracted to the Eco-Seed fine fescue grasses. Furthermore, a study conducted by Cornell University
Question: Why doesn't EcoSeed™ need pesticides?
Answer: EcoSeed™ is less vulnerable to many insects that love to destroy shallow rooted sod lawns. The common predator is grubs. Grubs are the larvae of June Bugs and non-native Japanese Beetles. These creatures live as grubs in moist soils for two years and then emerge as adults in early summer. The adults only live for about 6 weeks, so their number one goal is to reproduce! In nature, the female beetles, once pregnant, lay their eggs in the moist soils of pond edges and stream banks. Today, grubs are most often found in well-watered lawns. Traditional lawns have no real root systems and demands that you water them, making the soil surface of your lawn soft and damp - the exact conditions that the female beetles want to lay their eggs in! Since EcoSeed™ requires very little watering once established, the surface of the soil is hard and thus it is less attractive to the adult beetles looking to lay their eggs. They simply go somewhere else to lay their eggs!
EcoSeed™ is less vulnerable to many other lawn insect pests because its deep and dense root system makes an inhospitable environment for many insects that like to live just below the surface of a shallow rooted sod lawn. Many insect pests like to eat the exotic grasses such as Bermuda and Kentucky Blue but are not attracted to the EcoSeed™ fine fescue grasses.
Furthermore, a study conducted by Cornell University in 2007 has determined that fine fescues, of which EcoSeed™ is comprised, are actually allelopathic. This means that the grass itself exudes a natural, broad-spectrum herbicide, which is an amino acid called meta-tyrosine in large amounts. This natural herbicide inhibits other plants (weeds) from growing in EcoSeed™ naturally and this allelopathic quality is, at the same time, non-harmful to humans or pets.
Pesticides are therefore not required for EcoSeed™ care - an incalculable value to any family with children and pets.
Question: Is EcoSeed genetically modified (GMO)?
Answer: No! None of the species in EcoSeed are genetically modified.
Question: When will my EcoSeed be fully established?
Answer: Any newly seeded lawn, including EcoSeed, will take a full year to become established and mature. For example, if you do your first seeding in November, your lawn will be fully mature by the following November. It might give you some perspective to bear in mind that a roll of sod needs one to two years of growth before it is available for sale! A bit of patience with your new EcoSeed will result in a beautiful, low maintenance, chemical-free lawn!
Question: Can I overseed an existing lawn?
Answer: Simply overseeding an existing lawn will not result in an instant conversion to a low maintenance EcoSeed lawn, as your existing lawn and EcoSeed will compete with one another. However, if you were to overseed your old lawn each year for approximately 4 to 5 years or twice a growing season (for a few seasons), it will become a true EcoSeed lawn. In the meantime, you will need to regularly mow the existing lawn. So while this method will work, it does take time, patience, and regular overseeding.
Question: What is the overall cost of installing and maintaining an EcoSeed lawn?
Answer: Typical installation and maintenance costs for a 1,000 sq. foot EcoSeed lawn over a ten-year period is just $1,500.00 - this includes seeding, watering, and mowing once a month (No pesticides or fertilizers are needed, and only minimal water is required). By comparison, a 1,000 square foot lawn planted with traditional turf blends costs $8,000.00 to install and maintain over a ten-year period. This includes seeding, watering, fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides, and mowing-once a week. So EcoSeed will save you $6500.00 over a ten-year period!
Question: Will EcoSeed grow in clay soil?
Answer: Yes, EcoSeed has no trouble growing in clay soils! The key to success with clay soils is to ensure that the soil is kept moist during the critical germination phase as clay soils tend to dry out quickly. Mulching the area with a light covering of straw will help hold soil moisture very well.
Question: Will EcoSeed grow in completely sandy soil?
Answer: EcoSeed can grow in very sandy soils, but if you are seeding at a beach-type property with pure beach sand, you need to top dress with about 2 inches of quality topsoil. Adding topsoil inevitably introduces weeds, so lay the soil a couple of weeks before you seed so that you can eliminate the newly sprouted weeds before sowing your EcoSeed.
Question: Do I need to add topsoil?
Answer: EcoSeed will thrive in any soil ranging from sandy soil to compacted clay soil. You won't need to add topsoil unless you are attempting to grow an EcoSeed lawn on pure beach sand. Pure sand or very sandy soil will require a 3" layer of topsoil. Please be aware that all topsoil is full of weed seeds! Before seeding your EcoSeed, water the topsoil regularly as if you had seeded a lawn. This will encourage the weed seeds in the topsoil to germinate and grow. Once the weeds are about 2 inches tall, eradicate the weeds. This can be done with rototilling or hoeing or by an application of an organic herbicide.
Question: What if the topsoil is already there? I didn't realize until too late not to add topsoil and now I have thousands of weeds growing in my newly seeded EcoSeed™! What can I do?
Answer: First of all don't panic! Second, be sure to mow your EcoSeed™ regularly. Mowing regularly will ensure that none of the weeds produce seed that will make MORE weeds. Secondly, be sure to overseed generously during your next cool/moist time slot. Remember, as your EcoSeed™ matures, it will crowd out a majority of the weeds.
Question: Is EcoSeed™ available in sod rolls?
Answer: Since EcoSeed™ creates a deep root system it cannot be sold as a sod. When EcoSeed™ is cut like sod, its roots are severed and it dies. Since it is the deep roots that enable EcoSeed™ to be drought tolerant, we can only offer it in seed form. That said, EcoSeed™ does germinate quickly and will form a dense turf over a full growing season.
Question: Will EcoSeed™ grow under large trees?
Answer: Yes, EcoSeed™ is one of the only things that will grow under large trees. This includes both evergreen and deciduous trees. However, we strongly recommend that during the first season of growth, that you treat these areas as if you were in extreme drought conditions and water it deeply at least once a week. Large trees absorb a lot of water and they dry out the soils underneath of them. Once your EcoSeed™ has had a chance to get itself fully established, (and like any newly seeded turf grass this does take a full year) its deep root system will enable it to compete with the trees and you won't need to water except in extreme droughts.
Question: Is EcoSeed™ salt tolerant? "I am interested in using EcoSeed™. The concern I have is that I live at the seaside. Is your product salt water compatible to this type of situation?"
Answer: Most typical turf grasses such as Kentucky Bluegrass are not very salt tolerant, however studies conducted by the USDA and the University of Wyoming, have shown that fine fescue grasses (of which EcoSeed™ is comprised) are more salt tolerant to the road salt used by many municipalities, so you should be fine.
Question: Does EcoSeed™ go dormant in winter?
Answer: The answer depends upon where your location. If you live where you'll get snow coverage, then yes, EcoSeed™ will in the winter months go dormant and be brown once the snow melts. It will then green up quickly in spring. If you live in an area that does not get much in the way of snow, it will stay green all year.
Question: Will EcoSeed™ take over my neighbor's lawn?
Answer: EcoSeed™ is not aggressive so it won't take over your neighbor's lawns. Nor is it passive, so it won't be taken over either.
Question: "How well does the EcoSeed™ hold up to traffic? I have two large dogs that run like crazy in the back yard and I want to make sure this will survive."
Answer: EcoSeed™ is designed for moderate, normal household traffic usage. If your two dogs run in constant circles in your back yard, no lawn grass will be able to withstand this! If they simply run around on it but do not wear paths into your current lawn, then EcoSeed™ will be fine.
Question: Is EcoSeed™ difficult to plant?
Answer: No! Spreading the EcoSeed™ is quick, easy, and does not require any special equipment (although many people use a spreader, hand spreading is fine). Covering 1,000 square feet takes only minutes! As with all grass seed, preparing your site and ensuring that you follow watering guidelines during the establishment phase are critical to the success of your new lawn.
Question: How much seed do I need?
Answer: Each 5 lb bag of EcoSeed™ covers 1,000 square feet - enough for many residential lots yards in the city. 50 lb bags are also available, which cover 10,000 square feet. If you are doing a larger installation, plan for 220 lbs of EcoSeed™ per acre of lawn.
Question: How quickly does EcoSeed™ germinate?
Answer: EcoSeed™ typically takes 7-14 days to germinate, but germination time can vary significantly depending on temperature and moisture levels. Seed planted when nighttime temperatures are above regularly above 15 degrees Celsius (50 F) will not germinate without daily watering and may wait until cooler days to germinate. Seed planted in late fall may wait happily under snow cover until early spring to germinate.
Question: Can I keep leftover EcoSeed™ for next year?
Answer: Yes! Like most perennial seeds, EcoSeed™ loves to be stored under cold or freezing conditions. Simply store unused seed in the garage (in a well-sealed container). This actually helps with germination the next spring.
Question: EcoSeed™ sounds too good to be true; why haven't I seen it in my local garden supply store?
Answer: Since EcoSeed™ does not require any fertilizers or pesticides, (which make up a large percent of many garden stores profits).