View Full Version : SPRING SEEDING (SUB 32F TEMPS)

Strawbridge Lawn
02-01-2001, 08:37 PM
Did a search, but kind of have a more specific question.
I realize it is unwise to seed or sod when the ground is froze, but at what point in the spring (the earliest time)
can I apply seed based on freezing temps?. Will temps below 28-32F hurt seed? Average last freeze here is about March 17th. There is a push in this region for seeding as early as feasible because the hot summers take their toll.

02-02-2001, 01:01 AM
be very subject to birds however.Also if the
wrong conditions last to long seed can rot.

02-02-2001, 01:27 AM
Setting yourself up for failure. I would not seed any lawn unless it had irrigation and then the customer would sign an agreement understanding the chances for failure. I always ask new customers to wait until fall or find someone else to be pissed at during the late summer.

Strawbridge Lawn
02-02-2001, 10:27 AM
Kirby: You are right and I am aware of the risks for our climates are very similar, thank you. I will be estimating it today. I don't think their is irrigation, and even with it, it is difficult with a month or so of 90+ temps as you well know. This is a home in a development that had only their front lawns dressed with sod by the builders. All the back yards are top soil. The Homeowners will want some covering for the summer (kids and all), and many cannot afford approx 4K-5K sqr ft of sod. There are 100+ homes or so with this scenerio. So my intent is to get something started, and place mucho emphasis on what the summer heat will do to it because of insifficient root structure/depth. I will strongly recommed a more thorough re-do in the fall with aeration and re-seeding to get the establishment process on the right cycle.
Any other suggestions. Thanks for the help

02-02-2001, 11:01 AM
Gary, you can seed anytime: seed in July, seed will germinate, cast seed out in Jan. on top of snow, when snow melts and it warms up, it will germinate. Seeds in nature have to survive through all kinds of weather to reach their germination time. But the real concern is SURVIVAL of your newly germinated seed. Seeding on frozen ground is questionable, because a good seeding needs to achieve seed/soil contact - most grass seed should ideally be planted 1/32" deep. Seeding just after thaw is also chancey - the ground will be too wet to get good seedbed, and excess moisture can rot slowly germinating seed types.

For best chances of success, would be best to wait until ground is thawed, and drained a bit. Being a new site, you will also need to be careful of erosion before new turf establishes. Unless you wish to do erosion repairs, mulching the new planting would be in order.

Strawbridge Lawn
02-02-2001, 11:18 AM
Thanks Jim, During the past few weeks the ground has thawed. There was a minimal freeze here in Dec-Early Jan.
I note that most lab germination rates are in very warm and hmid conditions so I am expecting much slower germination.
Prob 3 weeks or so using rebel 3 in our current climate.
Is there an optimum average ground temp for germinationa? I have heard some say 50F or higher. Again thank you.

02-02-2001, 02:04 PM
Gary, to get information specific to your exact area, use your state cooperative extension service. Address is http://www.ext.vt.edu/ . Of special interest to you would be the "Resources" and "Local Offices" sections. Found this under Resources -> Landscape & Nursery -> Lawns: Establishing Lawns in Virginia (http://www.ext.vt.edu/pubs/envirohort/426-718/426-718.html#L2)

While this document doesn't treat spring seeding, checking with your local extension agent may get you the detail you seek, or a referral to an extension turfgrass specialist at Va Tech.

Strawbridge Lawn
02-02-2001, 02:17 PM
Thanks Grounds. I did that and they actually pointed me more toward NC State because the coastal plain region actually extends north into the Hampton Roads/Norfolk area of Virginia and is more representative. It is a feature that many overlook here in SE VA, and has laid fire to many an ill-timed fescue lawn in July. I learned this first as a Navy meteorologist for 20 years. I have assembled my biz bible with as much info from both the Va Tech COOP, and NC state as possible. Also got a huge binder from the VDA reps here in Va Beach. It was the instructional binder used for the 2000 Trade show. Thank You for recommending those links.

Strawbridge Lawn and Landscape

02-02-2001, 02:42 PM
OK, Gary, just never forget that those guys are there. I have never had any questions that I could not get answered in detail by our extension guys and gals. They usually are teachers at the land grant univ, and good teachers are at their best when they help people learn.

As far as germination, one of my earliest teachers liked to tell about the grass sprouting in the walk-in refrigerator in his lab. While temperature is some ingredient of germination, the prime factor is wetting and drying of the seed. In most grass seed, germination is achieved by the seed hull absorbing water, then drying - and swelling in the process. When it swells enough, the hull cracks = germination. So if the seeded areas can be irrigated, you can dramatically increase the oncome of germination. But must remember not to overwater and cause rotting. With bluegrass, most labels and books state 14 to 21 days for germination - but if I have irrigation, can get complete coverage with bluegrass in 6-7 days (in Aug - Sept seedings). Good luck.

02-02-2001, 05:19 PM
------ ---