Dormant Seeding

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by precator, Mar 3, 2013.

  1. precator

    precator LawnSite Member
    Posts: 70

    we are supposed to get a 1 - 2 inches of snow on wed, this will probably be one of the last snowfalls of the year? Is this a good time to dormant seed? It will be in the high 40's 2 days after though. Also if it is a good time, should I worry about crabgrass control? Should I get that Scotts Starter Fertilizer that supposedly prevents crabgrass?
     
  2. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,785

    What kind of grass? Experts disagree. Some say no. But some say seed falls to ground in nature and sprouts next spring with no problem when soil temps rise to adequate levels. I suspect this is about 45 degrees...for perennial rye.
    I did some experiments last year in containers covered with snow, sowing seed into the snow--it grew.
    I am doing similar experiments this year--sowing seeds every month of the year, in containers. Also I am doing same experiments on a vacant lot near me. One square yard planted in each month of the year. February's seed was sowed on 6 inches of snow. No results yet--its 18 degrees here. The real question is what percent germination do you expect? When the grass sprouts in spring, seed planted in early March may be no faster than seed planted in late March. Seed must first absorb water for about 48 hours; this can happen even in cold weather. My opinion is that you can go ahead. When it is cold, sprouting and germination will be very slow, but no slower than seed planted later--it all depends on the weather. It will be helpful if you prepare the soil by aeration or power-raking, naturally. If the preparation is less than perfect...extra seed(double rate) will be helpful.
    Also you can get a slight head start by pre-germination of the seed in warm water inside (you need aeration or agitation). See my old threads.
    http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=245020&highlight=pre-germination

    Do not apply Scotts or any other kind of crabgrass control as it will prevent germination of the seed. You can apply it after the new grass has been mowed twice, (once if you want to accept the risk of injuring the new grass).
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2013
  3. precator

    precator LawnSite Member
    Posts: 70

    It is Tall Fescue. I am located in Northern Maryland.
     
  4. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,785

  5. MikeT

    MikeT LawnSite Member
    Posts: 45

    The pre-m in Scotts starter fertilizer plus crabgrass control is mesotrione, aka Tenacity. The Tenacity label says seed safe except for straight fine fescue. The Scotts label says pre-m crab control for six weeks. In cool season zones the pre-m may not be around when needed if applied early March. It may be better to use Tupersan or Drive at a later date.
     
  6. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,785

    Not sure. I think the northern version of Scotts Halts for crabgrass may be different. Pendi.
    If you choose Scotts crabgrass control for use with new seed, its a special active ingredient, Tupersan. Costs about double. Maybe there is a different active ingredient in the south...
    anybody know?
     
  7. crgstvrs

    crgstvrs LawnSite Member
    Posts: 66

    the Scotts starter fertilizer with mesotrione is new for 2013. It is suppose to prevent crabgrass for 6 weeks I will see when I over seed.
     
  8. precator

    precator LawnSite Member
    Posts: 70

    If I am dormant seeding, do I put the starter fertilizer down at the same time? I plan on dormant seeding tonight, we are getting a snowfall in Northern Maryland of a couple of inches..
     
  9. crgstvrs

    crgstvrs LawnSite Member
    Posts: 66

    I was able to squeeze my dormant seeding in tonight. I did put down starter fertilizer at the same time. Hoping that the small snow expected tomorrow helps improve the seed to soil contact. I aerated 4x(probably overkill) put tttf down at 6lbs. per 1k, starter fertilizer, and briefly raked over entire lawn. I have my fingers crossed after wed. we are expecting 9 days of 55- 71 degree weather.
     
  10. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,785

    Good luck. Sounds like a good plan.

    This brings up a discussion we had last year. Would it have been better to sow the seed first--then aerate--because then more of the seed would have been buried under the soil.
    And...will this result in germination mostly being at the bottom of the aeration holes...or germination mostly under or on top of the cores and loose soil brought up by the aeration and raking? Both?
    Anytime the soil preparation or conditions are less than the best, I suggest a higher rate of seed per thousand sqft.
    Got photos of the soil and preparation? I would love to see the before and after. Did you save some of the seed so you can plant it inside...to make sure germination is good. You may need a sample as proof to show the judge if he sues you.
     

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