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Dormant Seeding already Germinating at high percentage.

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by Smallaxe, May 15, 2014.

  1. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    I was concerned that the freeze/thaw cycle being absent this Spring that the seed on the surface of bare spot would not germinate... But with the warm rains this Spring a lot of these areas are greening up, with decent germination rates after all...

    These lawns are w/out irrigation so it the best shot of getting growth when the Late Summer seeding failed...

    We have finally started mowing lawns now and when the irrigation is turned on I plan to add pre-germinated AR mixed with compost for a Summer cover in areas that seem barren...

    Does anyone else use AR, for a dependable Summer cover in the lawns that do not have dependable irrigation???
  2. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,206

    Glad to see you are having some success from the dormant seeding.
    AR--annual rye--not sure--wouldn't perennial rye do just as well, germinate just as quickly, look better, and cost not much more?
    Especially look for the cultivars at the seed companies that claim "quick germination", and look for varieties that have a low seeds-per-pound count--that means the seeds are large and therefore germinate quickly, (especially if pre-germinated and the soil is warm). I think Blazer IV is a favorite for fast start around here.
    Let us know of your results.

    A neighbor's spring seeding on a bare soil new lawn is doing OK. Maximum height is about 3 inches--but very thin so far. Its been rainy, so probably no sprinkling so far. Cold today 46. Photos later.
  3. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    I tried per-germinated perennial mix last Fall, during our prime seeding period after Labor Day, before the irrigation was shut off and it did not want to 'take off' then... In fact I thought it was lost because it was pre-germinated yet never grew, until this Spring...
    AR is a reliable grower that will get a quick hold in the soil with less chance of die back during the Summer Heat...
    I looks odd before mowing, but is better than dirt or weeds... :)
  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    With a fairly wet Spring just about all the Dormant Seeding is doing well and should be stable enough to survive the possible heat as well as any of the older plants...

    However, with the extended winterkill in areas that have always been healthy we seem to have issues with chickweed/henbit taking over...
    I doesn't make sense to try and kill it now because grass won't effectively take its place now anyways... shade and no irrigation is the situation,,, so what would you do??? :)
  5. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,206

    Good question--I am not sure what I would do about the chickweed and henbit. Both are winter annuals--so--in theory--they should die when the temp hits about 85. If the weather is dry and the fertility level favors rapid growth of the grass--a short cut should encourage the chick and hen to fade out, as you let the new grass get longer. A shot of herbicide wouldn't hurt anything really.
    You can always seed it with the understanding that on average, it will take three times to hit a lucky stretch of weather. Is there likely to be a crabgrass problem?
  6. americanlawn

    americanlawn LawnSite Fanatic
    from midwest
    Posts: 5,859

    We are now spraying weeds in areas that were dormant seeded last fall, as well as areas that were seeded in early May 2014. We use Chaser Turf ester herbicide because it does not contain dicamba. It does not harm new grass or prohibit germination.

    For lawns that were seeded in late fall 2013, and lawns that were seeded in early May, we are not applying any sort of preemergent herbicide. The oxalis, knotweed, etc that appears in the seeded areas >> we're spraying them. Usually using a backpack sprayer with flat fan nozzle (using Chaser ester).

    pic 1) Dormant seeded December 3rd, 2013
    pic 2) Seeded May 6, 2014
    pic 3) Seeded May 7, 2014

    All 3 properties were seeded with a 4-way blend of turf-type (dwarf) tall fescues

    p.s. Those little white things in the photos ain't weeds --- they're fallen petals from flowering trees. :laugh:



  7. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,895

    Larry - you are only using TTTF blends for overseeding now, right?
    I am thinking of using more and more TTTF for overseeding, and less KBG.
  8. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    Interestingly,,, the idea of Spring Seeding and/or Heat of Summer Seeding is some advice I just got from a website telling us all about Poa Supina(the shade grass)...

    In planting the SEED:
    We can plant in the Spring AFTER the soil temp hits 55, up until a minimum of 12 weeks(3 months) before First Frost... In reality our AFF can be Sept. 19th as it was back in the 70s and looks like is coming around again...
    We had our first Zone 3 winters in about 45 years now and many of our Z4 plants died or were severely taken down a notch or 2...

    So according to the website, my window of opportunity to establish Poa Supina closes just before the Hottest and Driest part of the year...
    We seed in August when the ground is nice and warm and the cool-season grass germinates quickly,,, then does OK in Frost... I've experienced that FROST applies to cool season grasses when the air temps hit the mid-teens, while the ground is still warm...
    As the soil itself starts to freeze, then comes dormant seeding... :)
  9. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,206

    Seed sprouts quick in warm soil. 12 weeks before frost--that is unworkable. You are right, Smallaxe.

    Actually, in my experience you can seed grass seed in the fall in spite of frost--it won't hurt a thing. Germination and growth are just very slow (or zero) during the part of the day that is below about 45. Growth resumes in the spring. Germination and growth began in my town about when the soil temp reached 55 degrees f--which is about the date of "greenup", or April 15 in my town. The early sprouts were a quarter inch tall, about April 20 in 2014.
  10. americanlawn

    americanlawn LawnSite Fanatic
    from midwest
    Posts: 5,859

    Every once in a while we will seed with "Blue Ribbon" (4-way Kentucky bluegrass). And very rarely we seed with fine fescue. Main reason is to exactly match "certain" lawns.

    But I'm guessing over 98% of our seeding jobs = a 4-way blend of TTTF (turf-type tall fescue). It's the "new wave" in grass seed. ISU seeded over 100 TTTF cultivars in test plots at their research farm 2 years ago. ISU's 2 top turfgrass experts even have TTTF in their home lawns.


    TTTT was initially suggested to me by a good friend in KS. (grassman). Followed up shortly after that by Iowa State University. Now I swear by it, and most customers are very pleased with it.


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