Still growing strong! Johnsons Lawn Seed celebrates its 200th birthday

UK’s oldest grass seed brand marks a milestone and unveils ground-breaking products

 Johnsons Lawn Seed, the UK’s leading grass seed brand dedicated to supplying the finest quality lawn seed for the nation’s gardeners, is celebrating its 200th anniversary during 2020 – while taking the wraps off two new products that have been engineered to make lawncare even easier.


The company, founded in 1820 by 17-year-old botanist, market gardener and entrepreneur William Wade Johnson, has spent two centuries specialising in developing and supplying grass seed that’s proven to perform in the most demanding of situations. Johnsons’ world-renowned grass breeding programme, launched in 1947, saw the company become the premier choice to supply leading sports venues around the world, while it made history in 1968 by becoming the first UK company to supply boxed lawn seed – a staple of today’s gardeners (see timeline, below).


Johnsons Lawn Seed’s Guy Jenkins said: “Two hundred years at the forefront of the grass seed industry is a significant milestone – one that has been possible due to Johnsons’ commitment to developing products tailored to meeting the changing needs of gardeners and ensuring that cultivating a fine sward of grass is a breeze, even in challenging conditions. What better way to mark two centuries of success than by introducing two unique lawn seed products that set a new benchmark in grass seed innovaton.”


In a changing climate, with winters predicted to become milder and wetter while hot, dry summers are tipped to be commonplace, the company, which has a long and prestigious track record of grass breeding and product innovation, is revealing its latest developments – designed to ensure that lawns remain at the peak of perfection, whatever the weather.


To kick-start its birthday celebrations, Johnsons is unveiling Tuffgrass with Dog Patch Resistance – a UK first. The ingenious mix has been scientifically proven to eliminate the problem of yellow patches and dead grass caused by dogs urinating on lawns, by incorporating naturally tolerant grass species that were rigorously tested during trials.


Johnsons Lawn Seed is also introducing Quick Lawn with Accelerator-treated seed, designed to meet the needs of gardeners who need to get new lawns underway fast. Johnsons’ unique Accelerator seed treatment, suitable for sowing a new lawn or for overseeding, results in rapid germination, thanks to its unique seed treatment that contains a wetting agent which helps moisture to penetrate the surface of a grass seed quickly and spur it into growth. This smart technology directs a blend of biostimulants in the coating (seaweed extract, humic acids, amino acids, micronutrients and root developers) into the seed, helping to get new grass off to a flying start. The result is 38% more grass evident within the first seven days, compared to non-coated seed.


During its 200-year history, Johnsons Lawn Seed has demonstrated a proven track record of developing unique lawn seed products that offer the highest levels of performance for gardeners. Luxury Lawn, Shady Place and After Moss offer solutions for almost every garden situation, ensuring that a lush, green sward is easily achievable even in difficult conditions. Lawn Thickener Lawn Seed with Seedbooster is perfect for thickening tired lawns quickly, resulting in fast germination and establishment, with 30% more grass, while a clever seed coating harmlessly deters birds from feasting on newly sown seed.


Timeline of success: How Johnsons led the way in grass seed innovation

1820 – Young entrepreneur William Wade Johnsons establishes the business.

1850 – William’s son Alfred develops a plant research and breeding arm of the company.

1930 – The company creates a global export department.

1947 – Johnsons grass breeding programme sees the company supply sports venues worldwide with the world’s most advanced grass seed.

1968 – The firm embraces mechanisation and, as a result, is the first company in the UK to supply boxed lawn seed.

1970 – Johnsons starts to supply major DIY stores with boxed lawn seed.

2001 – Johnsons is bought by DLF Seeds, which currently invests €14million  into research and development every year.

2004 – The company’s Quick Lawn is the first UK lawn seed mix to be coated with beneficial bacteria.

2012 – A landmark year, as Johnsons hits a milestone, producing more than three million cartons in 12 months.

2015 – Johnsons becomes the first company to use advanced tetraploid amenity ryegrasses in lawn mixtures.

2018 – Following extensive research and development, Johnsons launches Super Smart Lawn Feed, a pioneering 100% organic lawn fertiliser that uses beneficial bacteria to feed lawns, micronutrients to encourage greener grass and mycorrhizae to increase root growth.

2019 – Johnsons reveals that it is launching Tuffgrass with Dog Patch Resistance, finally solving the problem of dog urine causing damage to gardeners’ lawns.

2020 – Champagne corks pop as Johnsons Lawn Seed celebrates its 200th anniversary.


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