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VO Landscape Design
12-03-2011, 11:40 PM
Our city has replaced the hi-way out front of our house. They just put down dormant grass seed. What is the process for dormant seed, won't grow until next spring, does it need to be watered, what kind of germination % can be expected? The whole process has been a pain in the a$$ to say the least. I will have to redo it in the spring. They cut into our hill in the front for the sidewalk and used a bucket to level it off. So it is a big clumpy mess. I plan on redoing it all in the spring, just curious what the rest of the neighborhood will look like. Might have a chance to pick up some renovation of the mess in the Spring.
VO

Smallaxe
12-04-2011, 07:22 AM
If you're going to do it, I'd do it now if its not too late , then put down the seed I would like to see there...

RigglePLC
12-04-2011, 11:14 AM
Good questions VO,
I planted seed in February purposely on top of snow last winter (outside in a container). I also planted some seed on soil in my garden at the same time. Naturally nothing happened until the soil temps warmed up. The seed planted in my garden came up on April 8th. I cannot find the exact date of emergence for the seed sown on top of snow, but it was slightly later. I am planning to try this again in 2012. In fact, seed I planted Oct 29 emerged about 30 days later.

So...don't expect anything to happen until spring, and and only when the soil warms up to about 50. I see no advantage to planting in the early winter as "dormant seeding". In my opinion, you will have plenty of time to plant in early spring. Suppose you planted about March 15, (if there is no snow)--you would be planting about 22 days before expected emergence.

Of course, there is always the argument that freezing and thawing makes little ridges or cracks and that action plants the seed down into the soil. Based on what evidence? We need a side by side comparison.

And there is the idea that moisture from rain and snow can be absorbed into the seed and begin the germination process--even at temperatures just above freezing. I don't know.
Let us know what happens, VO.

Does anyone have experience in these matters? Hydroseeders experience? Lacking that--strong opinion?

RigglePLC
12-04-2011, 11:29 AM
VO,
here is the average soil temp data from Iowa for the last nine years.
Probably you can get an idea of when your soil will hit 50, (around April 11th). Then you have to find out if your grass type will germinate at 50.

A third question remains unanswered--how much seed, in percent germination --will be lost over the winter to birds, rot or some other cause.

Could be a lot of work--count out a hundred seeds--plant on one sqft in December. Count out a hundred seeds and plant on one sqft in mid-March. Count the number of grass blades that sprout. Compare and discuss.

Smallaxe
12-04-2011, 12:27 PM
Good questions VO,
I planted seed in February purposely on top of snow last winter (outside in a container). I also planted some seed on soil in my garden at the same time. Naturally nothing happened until the soil temps warmed up. The seed planted in my garden came up on April 8th. I cannot find the exact date of emergence for the seed sown on top of snow, but it was slightly later. I am planning to try this again in 2012. In fact, seed I planted Oct 29 emerged about 30 days later.

So...don't expect anything to happen until spring, and and only when the soil warms up to about 50. I see no advantage to planting in the early winter as "dormant seeding". In my opinion, you will have plenty of time to plant in early spring. Suppose you planted about March 15, (if there is no snow)--you would be planting about 22 days before expected emergence.

Of course, there is always the argument that freezing and thawing makes little ridges or cracks and that action plants the seed down into the soil. Based on what evidence? We need a side by side comparison.

And there is the idea that moisture from rain and snow can be absorbed into the seed and begin the germination process--even at temperatures just above freezing. I don't know.
Let us know what happens, VO.

Does anyone have experience in these matters? Hydroseeders experience? Lacking that--strong opinion?

Winter conditions get the seed ready to pop at the earliest possible moment, is the theory... One could put seed on frozen open ground and see what happens by Spring. One could add to the little experiment putting fresh dry seed in part of the plot and see which section pops first...

I also plant in the Spring and the advantage there is, if you work the soil it warms up quicker... for areas that I'm not going to put time into with soil prep, dormant seeding is the way to go... broadcast on top and let nature take its course.

I wonder how nature was able to reseed damaged areas without our help? :)

fl-landscapes
12-04-2011, 12:53 PM
Winter conditions get the seed ready to pop at the earliest possible moment, is the theory... One could put seed on frozen open ground and see what happens by Spring. One could add to the little experiment putting fresh dry seed in part of the plot and see which section pops first...

I also plant in the Spring and the advantage there is, if you work the soil it warms up quicker... for areas that I'm not going to put time into with soil prep, dormant seeding is the way to go... broadcast on top and let nature take its course.

I wonder how nature was able to reseed damaged areas without our help? :)

Nature fills bare damaged spots with weeds usually. Nature certainly wouldn't give most customers the lawn they want and what they pay us to provide. Nature takes care of a lot of things, providing a mono stand asthetically pleasing turf area ain't one of them.
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Smallaxe
12-04-2011, 01:05 PM
Nature fills bare damaged spots with weeds usually. Nature certainly wouldn't give most customers the lawn they want and what they pay us to provide. Nature takes care of a lot of things, providing a mono stand asthetically pleasing turf area ain't one of them.
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I was talking about reseeding... nature broadcasts on the surface and generally germinates in dead composted grass from the previous winter... on bare soil it usu. waits until it is buried deep enough...
The prairies were not absolutely monoculture, but they definately had their visual effect... :)

fl-landscapes
12-04-2011, 01:47 PM
I was talking about reseeding... nature broadcasts on the surface and generally germinates in dead composted grass from the previous winter... on bare soil it usu. waits until it is buried deep enough...
The prairies were not absolutely monoculture, but they definately had their visual effect... :)

I get your point, and agree. But percent of germination is increased dramatically with a little prep.
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VO Landscape Design
12-07-2011, 11:43 PM
I get your point, and agree. But percent of germination is increased dramatically with a little prep.
Posted via Mobile Device

There "prep" is scraping the soil throwing down seed and piling on the straw. It is along the 4 lane main street through town. Wind, dirt, salt and general crap will be deposited during the winter. Don't have very high hopes for grass.
VO

Smallaxe
12-08-2011, 07:37 AM
I get your point, and agree. But percent of germination is increased dramatically with a little prep.
Posted via Mobile Device

In some cases perhaps, but I don't really like to mess up too much surface if I don't have too, particularily if there is an old layer of decaying debri sitting atop the soil. Disturbing the protective layer sometimes makes it disappear.

Already our ground has frozen after being saturated with rain/snow and has subsequently thawed at the surface under snow cover. We've already seen the "Bubbling" of the soil surface that occurs during those thawing events. Seed has already disappeared into those holes, and that ground is loose, moist and still has its protective layer.

I don't know what we could do to make it a more perfect planting environment... :)

Smallaxe
12-08-2011, 07:58 AM
There "prep" is scraping the soil throwing down seed and piling on the straw. It is along the 4 lane main street through town. Wind, dirt, salt and general crap will be deposited during the winter. Don't have very high hopes for grass.
VO

I agree... sounds like the city throwing away taxpayers' money again... :)

RigglePLC
12-09-2011, 07:18 PM
Vo,
I got good results by seeding very heavily. No soil prep and it came up beautiful, and with soil prep and double fertilizer, it was even better. If germinination is not going to be one hundred percent and you want thick grass soon...triple the recommended seed rate.

And--you now have a chance this spring to use a superior cultivar of seed. The construction company may not have used the best seed. But you should be able to find out what seed was used, as it may be listed in the bid specifications.

RigglePLC
12-29-2011, 03:36 PM
And today I checked my new seed planted late in fall. I used Scotts "Classic", their cheap blend. Its about 30 percent perennial rye. Seed planted October 29 after a few frosts is up to about 2 inches high. Looks OK after several hard freezes and a few light snows. Seed planted November 7 is up about a half inch tall. Same weather, low temp was 32 this morning, and it is 41 now. The question is: will this young grass survive OK? (or be damaged by cold or snow?) There is no sign of germination of the seed planted December 5 and later. Stay tuned for the results of seed to be planted in January, Feb and March. The seed is planted in small cups which were plunged into the soil and partly buried.

In a separate test, seed planted in December on bare garden soil (without raking or preparation)--shows no sign of germination.

Smallaxe
12-30-2011, 10:10 AM
You have the bottoms of those cups removed don't you??? :)

RigglePLC
12-30-2011, 11:08 AM
Axe,
Actually the bottoms of the cups are not removed, however I drilled a hole in each one for proper drainage. We will see. Rain and 36 degrees here.

Turboguy
12-31-2011, 07:38 AM
Good questions VO,
Does anyone have experience in these matters? Hydroseeders experience? Lacking that--strong opinion?

I have done some dormant seeding using hydroseeding. As a mater of fact I was out seeding a week ago, hydroseeding a new Dollar General store. That is in Western PA in temp barely above freezing.

Generally it works well, not quite as good as seeding in the spring but the grass will come up in the spring. Sometimes it needs a little touch up particularly on a hillside (my job at Dollar General had a very steep hillside in the back which I dormant seeded with Crown Vetch and Rye)

I saw the question in the original post do you water it. No, dont water it. You are not going to get it up and it won't do any good.

Another thing I didn't see mentioned is fertilizer. I always use fertilizer in the in season jobs I do. Do Not use ferilizer when dormant seeding. The will be absolutely zero of it when the grass needs it and you will have the fertilzer will run off which is not what you want.

The biggest risk I have seen with dormant seeding is doing it too early. A warm streak could cause the grass to germinate and if it gets hard freezes right after it germinates it could kill it.

Smallaxe
12-31-2011, 08:18 AM
... The biggest risk I have seen with dormant seeding is doing it too early. A warm streak could cause the grass to germinate and if it gets hard freezes right after it germinates it could kill it.

That is a very valid point and one which is hard to quantify... I started a project that had to wait until after the leaf fall was complete. Once it was we began prepping and seeding for the Dormant Seeding scenario, but we were less than 1/4 done when equipment failure delayed the project.

After that point we recieved more rain and warm weather and the ground just wasn't freezing... So several weeks later we finished up and the ground froze up and went dormant as it should. I didn't see any germination in the first section but that doesn't mean it didn't happen.

It will be interesting to see what happened there, come Spring... :)

RigglePLC
12-31-2011, 09:33 PM
Define "hard freeze" . We have had several temps of 25 degrees and we had a low of 18 on Dec 10th. The mature grass is still mostly green--only slightly off color. And the new grass I planted October 29 and November 7 looks just fine, although now on the 31st of December, it is growing slowly or not at all. The question is: how tall must the new grass be to survive the winter--or how short to be killed by the cold and snow?

I planted new grass outside in containers on December 31, today, to represent January planting as we expect heavy snow tomorrow. I plan to plant a bit of the same seed each month until April, planting on top of snow as needed.

Does anybody care to predict the results?

To the original poster:
"Goalkeeper" perennial rye has a reputation for fast germination, and high quality.
http://www.simplot.com/turf/jacklin/products.cfm?content=products&app=5&zn=1&map=1&prodid=75

Smallaxe
01-01-2012, 11:37 AM
I think when we're looking at survivability, the thing would be the depth of the root, rather than the height of the blade... as long as the root was able to develop and the crown able to harden off sufficiently, it should be OK...

RigglePLC
01-01-2012, 07:56 PM
Shucks--cannot grow Crabgrass! I planned on a few experiments so the crabgrass seed I got from my daughter's lawn in Maryland--should grow inside--shouldn't it? Well we keep it a bit cool in my house, about 66. So far no germination. I am keeping it near my desk lamp, but so far nothing.

Smallaxe
01-02-2012, 07:39 AM
Shucks--cannot grow Crabgrass! I planned on a few experiments so the crabgrass seed I got from my daughter's lawn in Maryland--should grow inside--shouldn't it? Well we keep it a bit cool in my house, about 66. So far no germination. I am keeping it near my desk lamp, but so far nothing.

Usually we get CG when the sun is beating down and baking the soil, but then there is competition out in the field... I thought that maybe there are a need for light and even a burst of intense warmth for a spell just to get it moving, and here I found this:
"Crabgrass seeds need light for germination, so keeping your lawn healthy and dense is one way to prevent crabgrass from getting a toehold. To remove mature crabgrass requires the use of herbicides twice during the growing season."
Read more: When Does Crabgrass Seed Germinate? | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/facts_7466933_crabgrass-seed-germinate_.html#ixzz1iIrseWMi

So you may want to place in direct sunlight in a southern window for an afternoon...

I also discovered in another site that getting CG to germinate means getting it to break dormancy, becuz they want it for pastureland... One way they do that is 'dormant seeding' so they get a quicker more uniform germination, once the conditions are right...

RigglePLC
01-02-2012, 11:01 AM
Axe,
So I moved the crabgrass seed in planted in a cup to my laarge west window. It hangs on a suction cup against the glass. Good light--at least when the sun comes out. But now the temperature is 64 in that spot.
Temperature was about 74 on the shelf above my desk lamp--when the light is on--which is a lot.

Perhaps this is large crabgrass as it originated in southern Maryland. Collected 6 weeks ago.

If I am trying to grow crabgrass, seems like it ought to be easier than this.

Maybe I need some more hardy locally grown crabgrass seed.

I would like to test some Drive, and maybe some Dimension. Maybe some wetting agent. Or sticker.

RigglePLC
01-02-2012, 11:27 AM
Heat is important for crabgrass emergence.
http://viette.indigofiles.com/CrabgrassControl.pdf
This said one source said crab needed 73 degrees and another lab found 62 to 65.
Univ of Maryland found:
Using GDD base 50 degrees:
200 GDD 25 percent germinated
600 GDD 75 percent
1100 Gdd 100 percent

We will see. But now I find out our auto-setback thermostat cuts us back to 62 at night. Its no wonder I am wearing two sweatshirts and long underwear. Pardon me while I go blow my nose.

RigglePLC
01-02-2012, 08:04 PM
http://www.farmseeds.com/grasses/crabgrass/germination-facts.htm

Actually new crabgrass seed appears to have a dormancy period that lasts from a few weeks to a year. Germination may be poor at first and much greater later on.

Smallaxe
01-03-2012, 09:07 AM
Heat is important for crabgrass emergence.
http://viette.indigofiles.com/CrabgrassControl.pdf
This said one source said crab needed 73 degrees and another lab found 62 to 65.
Univ of Maryland found:
Using GDD base 50 degrees:
200 GDD 25 percent germinated
600 GDD 75 percent
1100 Gdd 100 percent

We will see. But now I find out our auto-setback thermostat cuts us back to 62 at night. Its no wonder I am wearing two sweatshirts and long underwear. Pardon me while I go blow my nose.

It is good to remember as well that 'forced air' heating systems seldom warms the furniture to air temperature... note this sentence here in your article:
"...It has also been reported that minimum temperatures of 55° to 58° F. at daybreak in the upper inch of soil for 4-5 days will encourage the initiation of crabgrass germination. ..."

CG comes out when it is really hot around here and most houses in the winter in the Midwest are cooler than ideal for seed germination... You may need a heating pad for your flat of CG... :)

We hit -6 this morning at sunrise... what did you end up with on that side of the lake???