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Do any fertilizer components accelerate or enhance germination?

Discussion in 'Fertilizer Application' started by CT John, Sep 27, 2005.

  1. CT John

    CT John LawnSite Member
    Messages: 90

    I was hoping you guys could help settle an argument. My contention is that they do absolutely nothing to aid or enhance the actual process of turfgrass seed germination. His is that they do. Specifically the potassium(potash) component. Is there any truth to this or any studies that have been conducted? Thanks for anything you could add.
  2. lawnservice

    lawnservice LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 589

    this argument is as old as time.

    I'm with you...they do nothing to enhance the actual process of turfgrass seed germination.

    remember grammer school when the teacher placed seeds on a napkin and kept it moist and there would be 80-90% germination? No potash, just water.
  3. GreenUtah

    GreenUtah LawnSite Senior Member
    from SLC, UT
    Messages: 866

    seeds should encompass all the energy required for germination, for every type plant. As he said, just add water, gravity and a structure to root to. What the plant needs after that point to grow in an area that is nonnative to it and in an unnatural manner, that's where the hand of man comes in.
  4. br1dge

    br1dge LawnSite Member
    Messages: 49

    We may be splitting hairs. Germination in its truest definition of "birth," or Germination as it is sometimes used to refer to getting a stand of grass in. A "starter" fertilizer with high Phosophorous wont help the plant come out of the seedshell any faster, but once it does, it will provide the nutrient base to explode in growth immediately. A lawn with little or no Phosphorous compared to one with it used in correct amounts will be a SIGNIFICANT difference after 2 weeks (on turfgrasses such as Rye or Fescue)

  5. Mscotrid

    Mscotrid LawnSite Bronze Member
    from USA
    Messages: 1,456

    You can pre-germinate the seed to decrease th actual in ground germination time. It's been used on sports turf for years. Does not effect the overall health of the plant just allows the seed to germinate quicker..
  6. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    We ARE sp[litting hairs, here. Actually, the germination process includes the taking of new roots to the soil. This IS enhanced by phosphorus - very much so.
    Also, this doen;'t have to do with the fertilizer components as much, but if the seeds are sprayed with glyphostae (Roundup), this will increase the SPEED of germination incredibly
  7. coyoteman

    coyoteman LawnSite Member
    Messages: 89

    Could you explain how the glyphosate will speed up the germination?. And to what extent. Thanks.
  8. Mower For Less

    Mower For Less LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 823

    Pre-germinating seed in water WILL make a quicker stand in the ground, but it also increases the mortality rate of the seed. The process is primarily used as you say in athletic fields where a quick stand on grass is necessary, but it can be replaced frequently (i.e. every game). It is not an ideal solution for a non-athletic field turf due to the increased mortality rate, and difficulty of spreading the seed after soaking. You need to let it dry, but not dry out. It can be very tricky.

  9. CT John

    CT John LawnSite Member
    Messages: 90

    Thanks for the replies. I guess the bottom line then is a question of the definition of germination. We both agree that it is only the actual physical process of the seed coat bursting. Not the subsequent growth of the root and structure of the plant. But even after initial germination, my understanding is that the cotyledon contains everything that is needed to continue the plant's growth until the true leaves emerge. He insists that the nutrients from the fert, specifically a starter fert containing higher than normal levels of P and K, are absorbed through the seed coat with the water to accelerate the germination process.
  10. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    The glyphosate works on the seed shells and softens them up much like soaking them in water. However, only a little bit of glyphosate will have the same effect of alot of continuous soaking with water. Now, mind you, this is NOT a substitute for watering...it is just an accelerant for germination. I can't tell you what the exact differences are, because I'm sure that seed types, soil types, ph in the irrigation water, and several other factors would weigh in to the equation. I have seen plot studies having to do with this, but I have no read on exact numbers and percentages for different conditions.

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