The Q&A Archives: Does 30-year-old Hay Contain Viable Seeds?

Question: I bought an old farm with a mow full of hay. There haven't been animals in the barn since 1970, so I assume the hay is at least that old. I'd like to use this mother lode of free mulch, but wonder if I risk introducing weed seeds into my garden. Would 30-year-old seeds be viable? Thanks.

Answer: If the hay is that old, I would expect it to have composted itself by now. So, I suspect it is fresher than 30 years. You might want to compost it prior to use to limit the chances of weed seeds remaining viable. Mix it with a nitrogen rich material such as fresh barnyard manure, compost it, and you will have a very good mulching material to use by fall.

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