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pregermination, seed soaking

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by RigglePLC, Mar 24, 2014.

  1. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,218

    The first results are in. I soaked seed in water to pre-germinate it for intervals of 24, 48, 72, and 96 hours. Water was poured off and new water added at 24 hour intervals. Then the seed was dried for 24 hours. Starting inside at 68 degrees, I planted grass seed (Pennington Smart Seed, mainly perennial rye) in small containers in topsoil. I began on March 20, 2014.

    On March 25th the seed which had been soaked for 96 hours germinated first, on day 5. It reached about a quarter inch tall.

    Not so different from my 2012 results.

    Photos soon.
  2. sildoc

    sildoc LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,925

    Few questions here. Are you doing this for overseeding? Or what application? What are your results on the other intervals? Temps at which your seeding (ground and air). Have you tried other seed other than Pennington? Percentage of germination. OOOOOOHHHH have many questions on this. What were your 2012 results?
    Looking to see if I can get quicker germination of Rye early in the year when soil and air temps are lower.
    Thanks in advance.
  3. Snyder's Lawn Inc

    Snyder's Lawn Inc LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,541

    I always had good luck pre soaking 12 hr + when I hydro seed I can knock off a day or 2 by doing this with right ground temps This always with turf fescue
  4. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,218

    I am not doing this test with any particular application in mind--over seed or new seed, as you wish. So far--it appears that 96 hour soak caused the fastest germination. 24, 48 and 72 hours soak germinated about 24 hours later, and the non-soaked seed about a day later. The containers are small plastic cups inside, so the temp was a constant 68 degrees, (66 at night) both soil and air. I did not try to determine the percent germination--as this was a seed mixture that also contained bluegrass and fine fescue (much slower to come up). I did not try any other seed this year. My tests two years ago used Scotts "High Traffic" seed. I could not find the posts describing those tests at the moment. Here are some older posts discussing the idea.
  5. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,218

    Here is the post and photos on the test from 2011.

    Hopefully, I can try this when conditions outside are highly favorable to seed germination. Moist soil at a temp of about 85 degrees following the 96 hour pre-soak or pre-germination would probably be the fastest. Fresh seed with a top-quality perennial rye would be ideal.

    Under my conditions--about half of the seed floated at first--but later 95 percent sank to the bottom of the water container--this made changing the water every 24 hours easy--just poured it off--seed stayed in the bucket.

    I plan to have photos when the new grass is taller--about at 7 days old.
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2014
  6. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,218

    Where are you Smallaxe?
    Here are the photos. The Pennington Smart Seed, Sun and Shade (about 65 percent perennial rye), was soaked in a large volume of water which was changed at 24 hour intervals. A sample was drawn out and dried at 24, 48, 72, and 96 hours. Untreated control and treated seed were planted in topsoil in small plastic pots, held at about 68 degrees.

    Seed soaked for 96 hours sprouted about 24 hours earlier.

    Photos taken at 5 days after planting. The tallest sprout was about 2.5 inches tall.

    Properly treated, new seed can be 2.5 inches tall at 5 days.




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