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seed water absorbant coating

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by RigglePLC, Apr 9, 2013.

  1. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,207

    In containers, indoors at 67 degrees, I planted seed with water absorbant coating "Scotts Perennial Rye", and compared it to seed without the coating "Pennington Smart Seed, with Myco-Advantage".

    I compared plenty of water on the soil, with no added water, (but both were started out saturated).

    The test containers did not dry out as fast as I expected; seed in unwatered "No wat" containers germinated only slightly less than containers which were well-watered.

    Coated seed attained a height only 7 percent more after 9 days, (2.6 inches).
    The maximum difference was 73 percent more height of the coated well-watered seed(Scotts), upper right. This can be compared to uncoated, unwatered seed, lower left.

  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    So is the watercoated seed more easily germinated(in the real world),,, if the irrigation is set correctly???
  3. locallawncare.ca

    locallawncare.ca LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ontario
    Posts: 756

    Not the dramatic results I would have expected, but very very interesting, I've thought about using that seed this year for over-seeding jobs, I hate seeding a place and knowing they won't water and then get calls about the seed not growing even when I put down 10lbs/1000 sq.ft. which is alot of seed. Maybe just use a half and half mix of this seed and then bulk seed.
  4. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,207

    There was only a tiny difference between coated and uncoated seed. This test didn't work well, as the "no water" containers did not dry out much after the test started. Not enough hot sun and drying winds, I guess. I plan to try again with much less water to start on day one--maybe just a teaspoon of water, about a tenth of an inch.)Then compare coated and uncoated.

    Everybody who seeds hates that problem--customers who do not water (or not much) and lie about it--then want you to fix it. Make sure you have it in writing--no guarantee whatsoever. Always save a sample of seed with the original seed label. Seed can be tested at an independent seed laboratory by your lawyer, (to prove that it is as good as the label claims). Always plant some in a coffee mug in your office so you can show the customer what was supposed to happen. Read their water meter so you know how much water they used.
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2013
  5. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,207

  6. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    The idea of starting out "drier" is not a valid test with your no water, control...

    when seeding occurs during irrigation season,,, I ALWAYS soak the ground initially,
    That is the ONLY thing to do,,,
    in order to get the seeding to go forward...

    your test supports that theory...
    the question that remains is just how dry can it get beofre germination is stopped... :)
  7. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,207

    You are correct, Axe. A good soaking on day one appears to be enough to get the seed started. At then end of the test these "no water" pots weighed about 50 grams. Well-watered pots, (near saturation) weighed about 90 grams.

    I started a repeat test...only this time...I used only a teaspoon (10ml) of rain water on top of the seed, as the beginning. I weighed these pots, soil and water together--about 45 grams.
    The pots watered for comparison weighed about 65 grams to start. (April 10, 2013). The test includes coated and uncoated seed. Stay tuned.
  8. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,207

    I added about 5 ml of water to the "low-water"pots on April 14, bringing them up to 50 grams. No sign of germination in the "low water" pots.
    On April 15, at 5 days after planting, germination was evident in the well-watered pots. The grass was tallest in the uncoated well-watered pot, 17 mm,(measured at the tallest leaf blade), (about a half-inch).
  9. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,207

    Pardon me for disagreeing with myself. I started a new test April 10, coated and uncoated seed; water and low-water regime. Photo below. Coated seed was Scotts perennial ryegrass coated with Zeba water retaining coating. The uncoated seed was Pennington "Smart Seed", which also contained some perennial ryegrass.
    Height of tallest seedling, Uncoated-well-watered was 54 mm. Coated-well-watered was 35 mm. The soil was kept moist and the pots weighed an average of 62 grams.

    Tallest low-water-no-coat seedling was 30 mm. Coated-low-water was 17 mm. The low water pots weighed an average of 42 grams.

    In this test...under low-water conditions, the seed with the water absorbant coating did not germinate as well as uncoated seed. And clearly plentiful water resulted in good germination and growth, whether or not the seed was coated.

    Your opinion and comments welcome.

  10. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,308

    How did you measure the water? Was the soil allowed to drain to field capacity? Did you measure soil moisture content initially and over time? Replicates?

    Also, I would expect a coated seed to have a longer time to emergence than an uncoated seed. Not sure what relevance the height measurement has given this likelihood.
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2013

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