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View Full Version : Cool temps hindering germination?


GWhunter
05-12-2010, 02:11 PM
Last week I had my lawn hydro seeded with 50% perenial rye,25%fecsue and 25% kbb. I've been watering twice a day when it hasn't rained. We've had several cold days with lows in the high 30's at night. So I'm not seeing any rye pop yet and I'm thinking the temps are the issue. Will the seed just lay dormant until the temps are better? I'm getting super impatient since this lawn is a long time coming with lots of setbacks(thanks hotshot).

Matt:dizzy:

GrassStitcher
05-12-2010, 02:51 PM
Cool temps will slow germination, I don't think they went dormant as much as they are just slow to progress, but don't worry once the soil temp warms they will pop. I would continue to keep moist, don't let it dry out.

ChiTownAmateur
05-12-2010, 03:42 PM
I looked at the weather history for Maine, the furthest north in New England. The last few days did have very cold lows which could bring the soil temp down, but before that it appears highs were in the 60's and 70's, thus the soil should be germinating seeds even if a bit slow.

Rye grass should be coming up within 7-10 days, and although the cold lows the last few nights will slow things down it shouldn't be stopped completely.

Get down at the ground level and look very closely and see if you see any sprouts. If you dont' see them by Sunday, call your company on Monday and ask them to come out and take a look...the rye should be sprouting at least a little by then.

Don't panic, don't get upset, just deal with it and don't worry. At worst you'll have a 10 day delay in the process if they need to rework it . Most likely you are a day or two away from germination though so wait at least 3-4 more days first.

GWhunter
05-12-2010, 06:42 PM
I had it sprayed last Wednesday later in the day. I watered the next am and then in the evening everyday except when it rained. We had lows of 38 at night for two nights straight and the last two days never got out of the mid 50's. I've been looking closely but see no activity. I'm sure it's just the cool temps.

Matt

mdlwn1
05-12-2010, 06:46 PM
Slow germination has been the norm this year. Im in south eastern NY. With the exception of a few days..it's been REALLY cold for germination.

GWhunter
05-12-2010, 06:50 PM
Guys thanks, your replies really put me a ease. I had expected the prg to pop in 5-7 days but had also expected seasonal temps to be here. I guess I'll just need to pray to the gods for the proper temps. Should I cut back on watering till it warms up?:confused:

Matt

mdlwn1
05-12-2010, 06:54 PM
If you really need to know whats up...check to see how deep the seed is...more than 1/4 inch and it could take seemingly forever in these temps..especially if you dont have strong sun hitting it. Fescue and Blue could take a month or more in those temps.

ChiTownAmateur
05-12-2010, 07:32 PM
You should be watering just enough to keep it nicely moist...not soaked and muddy, not dry and crumbly. How that translates into how much you should water is completely dependent upon the weather.

If it's sunny all day and warm...you need more. If it's cool and cloudy, there is almost no evaporation. it's quite possible you could water just once a day or sprinkle it twice.

although it's very possible to put down too much water, the risk at this stage is too little. follow the instructions they gave you to a T.

GWhunter
05-26-2010, 09:56 PM
So update time and a few questions if you guys don't mind. First the grass did germinate after about two weeks. I had wanted to plant in the fall but needed to get this done. It'll be three weeks tomorrow since the lawn was seeded. It looks good in some spots and thin in others. I'm watering daily and we've been having some record heat. Is it time to apply starter fert and over seed? I'm noticin that the area's that are in shade are much more thick and lush. I'm of course starting to see some weeds as is typical with new lawns this time of year. So can you guys point me in the right direction? I want to get this lawn as thick as possible and healthy before the summer heat really sets in.

Matt

bigslick7878
05-27-2010, 12:29 AM
So update time and a few questions if you guys don't mind. First the grass did germinate after about two weeks. I had wanted to plant in the fall but needed to get this done. It'll be three weeks tomorrow since the lawn was seeded. It looks good in some spots and thin in others. I'm watering daily and we've been having some record heat. Is it time to apply starter fert and over seed? I'm noticin that the area's that are in shade are much more thick and lush. I'm of course starting to see some weeds as is typical with new lawns this time of year. So can you guys point me in the right direction? I want to get this lawn as thick as possible and healthy before the summer heat really sets in.

Matt

Little more seed won't hurt.

The areas in the shade are thick and lush because they are getting enough sun but the shade is holding the moisture better.

RigglePLC
05-27-2010, 11:00 AM
Better grass in the shade is typical--but it is an indication that the sun may have dried out in the other areas at some time in the past. Don't worry about more seed till fall,(and do not sow lower-quality seed over the top). Yes--you are correct; it is time for more fertilizer. Too late for starter fertilizer--go with a Turfbuilder or higher quality--say about a 25-0-5. The faster it grows the sooner it fills-in and covers the soil 100 percent. Golf courses usually feed new seed every three weeks. The sooner it fills in--the sooner they can open for play--and the sooner they can start making payments on their loan. Read the fine print on the label. Use a fertilizer high in slow release nitrogen. 50 percent of nitrogen as slow release is excellent. 30 percent of nitrogen as slow release is adequate. Cut back if it grows too fast. Stop watering for a few hours so it is dry enough to mow--mow it--then water. Mowing at two inches is important--because all you have is ryegrass now--you want to give the slow-germinating bluegrass a chance to get some sunlight. Also cutting the grass causes it to spread sideways for more thickness. Don't worry about the weeds. Most are killed by mowing and the rest you are going to spray about 6 to 8 weeks after seeding. Keep the water coming. A battery-operated sprinkler timer is a big time saver. If you get a lot of weeds or crabgrass call in a professional. An experienced small company is your best bet.

GWhunter
05-27-2010, 09:49 PM
I was thinking of using more improved variety KBB and was thinking tall fescue would be another good choice. So you think I'm only seeing rye right now and the KBB hasn't even germinated yet? I'd love to use a time but I need to move the sprinklers a few times due to the shape of my yard. It isn't tall enough to cut yet. I has some torrential rains just after it was sprayed and it washed away a small amount of seed and mulch. But I threw down more mix in place of the wash out.

Matt

ChiTownAmateur
05-28-2010, 11:16 AM
bluegrasses are typically 21-28 days for germination. They begin coming up a bit earlier, sometimes in 10-14 days but the majority will come up in the 21-28 timeframe. it's programmed....it will come up but you have to keep watering

GWhunter
05-28-2010, 11:50 AM
SO keep up on the watering daily and add a turf builder without any weed killers and just wait? I thought the KBB would have started to go by now. So the sunny area's certainly dry out faster than the shade, should I water them more or is it going to evap faster no matter how much I water?

Matt

ChiTownAmateur
05-28-2010, 02:11 PM
adapt the watering to the area's sun/shade. shadier spots should get less, sun areas more. more in the sun until it isn't drying out, less in the shade until it almost is

keep watering for a few more weeks, no weed killers during the next 4 weeks

kbg may start in 2 weeks but most will start coming up in 3 and the vast majority will come up in 4 in good conditions like now. every seed is programmed to absorb a certain amount of water before germination occurs and kbg takes the longest

GWhunter
05-28-2010, 02:35 PM
Ok, I just picked ujp some Scotts TB w/o weed control. It's 32-0-4 and a different type of sprinkler. I bought three tripod units that came highy recommended on here and I'm not too impressed with the results. The shoot plenty far but really don't get the coverage even across they're entire boradcast area. I've gone back to more of a soaking type and hope for better results.

Matt

RigglePLC
05-28-2010, 07:02 PM
The tripod units cover more ground...so...you have the run them longer. Double time is probably about right. Judge your water put down with coffee mugs placed on the ground. You are trying to put down enough to cover about two quarters in the bottom of the cup each day.

GWhunter
05-28-2010, 09:50 PM
The tripod units cover more ground...so...you have the run them longer. Double time is probably about right. Judge your water put down with coffee mugs placed on the ground. You are trying to put down enough to cover about two quarters in the bottom of the cup each day.

This is the theory but not reality. If they run too long they overwater the area around the sprinkler and fathest away and underwater everywhere in between. I picked up a turbine type today an it's working alot better.

Matt

bx24
05-28-2010, 10:03 PM
Just water it till you see standing water..I did this on KB, FF etc and in 14 days there was grass...The temps in NewEngland right now are great for grass growing (weeds aside)..

Heck I had Hunter I-25 going and went down to Hunter PGP with #8 for 20 minutes 3 times a day.

GWhunter
06-07-2010, 11:52 PM
Ok, well the KBB did eventually start to come in. As with all spring lawns I've got some broad leaf weeds going crazy. I know that a thick lawn will choke out the weeds but what can I apply now to minimize them? Will Drive work or how about the spot treatments? I'm going to mow tomorrow which will help but I'd like to also kill the plant not just slow it. I have a few spots that didn't come in thick but don't want to overseed now since the temps are getting kind of high. I fertilized about 2 weeks ago with Scotts TB without weed control. When can I apply the next Scotts step with Weed control. I'm in my 5th week this coming Wednesday. It looked really good until this broad leaf weed went nuts. The one good thing about this weed is it's tall so I can mow it without cutting the grass. I also had one area that the hydro seed washed during a heavy rain. This area is now very thin an looks like mostly rye. But the mulch looks clumpy from the water running over it. Should I rake this area by hand an apply more of the seed mix? Thanks

Matt

RigglePLC
06-08-2010, 11:17 AM
Glad to see you have mowable grass, (and weeds). Did the fertilizer help? If so, go ahead with another application about 4 weeks from the first ap. Drive may work--but it does not kill all types of weeds. Best to mow (killing the tall weeds) and wait until about 8 weeks after seeding to do your first weed control spray. Fine to rake up the mulch and reseed thin spots a week after the weed spray--if weather is hot--seed germinates quick--but moisture evaporates quick; keep it wet. Plan on additional weed control late August and again in October.

ChiTownAmateur
06-08-2010, 12:26 PM
It's getting too late to seed any further. Let what you have grow to maturity by watering properly and slowly changing the watering so that the new grass is used to 1-2x weekly waterings like established grass.

Wait until the 2nd week of July -- make sure it is a relatively cool period (or wait another week or so) and apply your weed killer.

The KBG will spread over the following 6 weeks or so until you are ready to overseed in Fall. Overseeding then will be easy and simple, temps are ideal, grass germinates fast and those areas that need filling in will fill beautifully. if all goes well then next spring you'll already have what you need and can weed and feed early and keep a beautiful lawn all year by following good maintenance practices.

IMO there are two reasons a homeowner can have a poor lawn:
#1 reason = neglect. People who don't care or make an effort.
#2 reason = eager amateurs like us do TOO MUCH.

You could patch fill areas and they would have a fair chance of making it to the Fall. But doing so then creates the issue where you have some places that cannot get the weed killer, need special watering etc. It gets to be a lot of work for results that you can get over a longer period of time with a bit more patience. I'm in the same boat, got a beautiful new front lawn but not 100% filled in. Gotta be patient!

GWhunter
06-08-2010, 09:24 PM
Well, I mowed today and can't believe how thick it is in some spot. It seems all the area's that get shade are flourishing. I have two problem areas one gets no shade at all an the other is the channel that water funnels due to the slight pitch of the yard. It looks like the seed washed after the rains we had in the beginning of may. I decided to over seed the bad area's today since they're just to thin to fight off the weeds. I'll hit it next week with just plain fert and wait till later in the season to apply weed an feed. I'm still going to overseed heavy in the fall. But I'm thinking a more sun loving grass in the area's that don't get any shade. I hand picked a 20x20 area that mowing didn't help. I'll continue to water frequently till the thin area's are filled. With the current temps the KBB should germ fast. What fert formula should I apply next week? I don't really understand the numbering system. Also what's a good full sun grass. I believe I read tall fescue is a good one but I may be wrong.

Matt

bigslick7878
06-09-2010, 03:30 AM
Well, I mowed today and can't believe how thick it is in some spot. It seems all the area's that get shade are flourishing. I have two problem areas one gets no shade at all an the other is the channel that water funnels due to the slight pitch of the yard. It looks like the seed washed after the rains we had in the beginning of may. I decided to over seed the bad area's today since they're just to thin to fight off the weeds. I'll hit it next week with just plain fert and wait till later in the season to apply weed an feed. I'm still going to overseed heavy in the fall. But I'm thinking a more sun loving grass in the area's that don't get any shade. I hand picked a 20x20 area that mowing didn't help. I'll continue to water frequently till the thin area's are filled. With the current temps the KBB should germ fast. What fert formula should I apply next week? I don't really understand the numbering system. Also what's a good full sun grass. I believe I read tall fescue is a good one but I may be wrong.

Matt

Turf type tall fescue is good for sun, but it really does not have anything to do with the seed it is how fast the seed dries out in the sunny areas.

Dry seed=seed that won't germinate.

If you are going to seed more you literally will have to water 4 times a day to keep it moist this time of year. It can be done though, especially with as far north as you are.

If you are not seeing any signs of crabgrass you should be fine.

Water water water and more water.

Also if it is bare soil now you need to put some Penn Mulch on top and lay it on thick, that will help a tremendous amount to keep the seed covered and wet.

If you can put starter fertilizer in the area that is thin, and regular fertilizer in the other areas. A basic Scott's Turf Builder will be fine and again it needs water afterwards and a good amount of it.

ChiTownAmateur
06-09-2010, 05:14 PM
As Slick is telling you the problem is not the grass it is the watering.

KBG is ideal for full sun in the north and nothing is better IN THE NORTH.

Reseeding a KBG now faces two almost impossible to overcome issues:
1) Soil temp can reach 90 degrees this time of year in the first few inches of bare soil, how can you keep it wet constantly when it's that warm potentially?
2) Once it germinates, if it does, the roots are shallow and have no time to dig deeper before the heat of mid-summer overwhelms it

You need to take the time you have now to harden your existing plot of grass and plan to overseed the areas again in Fall, and patch a bit where the water flows. Trying to make this work now will be a ton of work and the results will likely not be what you want.

just my 2c

GWhunter
06-09-2010, 05:34 PM
I should have clarified I only seeded the sections that washed out not the others. It is going to be a huge pain to keep it wet but I'm going to put a timer on it since it's a small area(15x12). I will hit it next week with more turf builder and plan to overseed heavy in the fall. I'm not against add kbb again but this area will be high traffic and better suited for a durable fescue. I buy only high quality seed from a seed far that supplies the big hydro seeding outfits. I still have about 30lbs of seed from this batch. A few spot almost look like the grass got burned. They were the slowest germinating area's.
Is it possible the fertilizer burned it? If so I'll use the starter next time in these area's and the regular for the established area's. I really appreciate the responses I've gotten. They've all been super helpful.

Matt

ChiTownAmateur
06-09-2010, 07:14 PM
my final comment is that you are someone who seems to really want to have a great lawn and that will happen it's just a matter of time and effort

my recommendation is that you do more research and talk to the seed farm more about grass types and your situation BEFORE seeding!

fescues are typically for shadier areas, and are generally less hardy than kbg. they are lower maintenance grasses and also look much less impressive than a quality kbg. most importantly, in a high traffic area kbg is the grass that will spread the fastest and fill in bare areas. tall turf type fescue is considered a lower maintenance -- but also a lower quality grass. Once your KBG grows in and matures, you won't have to overseed every year to fill bare spots...you will just overseed to keep some fresh grass growing into the stand each fall when you choose. the kbg will fill in the rest for you if it's mature and healthy!

I'm making these suggestions, along with rule #2 from post 22 in this thread for a simple reason -- i went through a simliar season last year where i did an awful lot of stuff and much of it was not done properly or at the proper time. you have windows to do certain things at certain times, and when the window closes you cannot artificially keep that window open to do more...that is one of my key learnings from last year

i've got plenty left to learn myself and some of what i say sometimes may not be 100% right, but i'm trying and trying to share what i have learned with others who are kind enough to do the same

RigglePLC
06-09-2010, 07:21 PM
Matt, the slow germinating areas, were likely the sunniest--driest areas. No likely the fertilizer burned it unless it also burned the grass in the green thick areas. Stay with the Turfbuilder. 25-0-5 would be 25 percent nitrogen, zero phosphorus, 5 percent potassium. Phosphorus can contaminate surface water and most lawns do not need it. Not legal in some states, except for new seed--where it is helpful. Nitrogen is the main source of green and growth. Look for a fert high in slow-release nitrogen--it is better and longer lasting. Potassium is an important part of every cell--sandy soil tends to be low in potassium.
Turf Type Tall Fescue grass is sturdy, but it may have a wider leaf blade, and it is not as nice as Kentucky bluegrass.

GWhunter
06-20-2010, 06:38 PM
Guys I can't express my appreciation for your helpful replies. As Chitown suggested I am being a bit too overzelous with the results. I've realized that the direct sun area's that have been much less productive have only germ'd the rye. I've got sporatic spots of kbb. So I feel that I didn't apply enough water to these area's an that caused the KBB no not go. I also feel that one of my problem area's (that had the washout early on) needs to be areated now and I'll continue to fertilize and water till fall. Then I'll areate again and overseed the entire lawn. I've got the weeds at a manageable level and will deal with them by choking them out with a thick heavy grass. I'm going to post a few pics so you guys can comment further.

Matt:walking: