Dormant Seeding: A Pictorial

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by Smallaxe, Dec 6, 2012.

  1. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    We had our snow last Wednesday/Thursday and finally stopped on Friday,,, did the cleanup and been sick and in the house ever since...
    The ground was well frozen, before the snow and there was ice forming under it(periods of rain occurred during the storm), but I expect that,,, in many places the ground is thawing out in that actual snow cover remains around 8" deep...

    The grasses that germinated before the ground froze are certainly well protected and moisturized... the seed that was sitting on the surface should not have moved around much, rather a continual connection to soil particles should be building as the moisture melts out of the snow and soaks into the thawing ground...

    Our air tempuratures out in the natural world(away from heat islands) have not been above 25 degrees since the snow came...

    Will the grass in your cups remain under the snow for the duration or will the snow likely be gone in a couple of weeks???
    Did you ever check to see what the roots looked like at 1/8th inch green growth???

    I saw your storm on the national map and I'm glad we're on the outside edge of it... :)
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Here we have an indoor seed bed from a couple of different charcoal mixes...
    The first picture actually has seed floating in standing water becuz these peat pots are currently frozen solid...
    My ambition for these photos , is to observe the freeze/thaw effect when the weather starts to warm a bit...
    This porch area can be 10 -15 degrees warmer than the outside temps, so it might be a while before we see what happens with the seed, when the process starts...


  3. grassman177

    grassman177 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,795

    i really like your thread, if i was a facebook user, then i would "like" lol
  4. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,813

    Good plan, Ax; this should be interesting. So this seed was planted this week? And kept outside in a semi-protected location.

    My plastic cups planted with perennial rye and plunged into the soil on November 17, 2012, remained snow free for most of December, and managed to grow to about a half inch tall. Now it has snowed and turned cold--a low of 4 degrees expected.
  5. SmartLawnCare

    SmartLawnCare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 17

    Nice thread! I am concerned about Perennial Rye/Tall Fescue seeding done October 22 (NE Ohio). We've had a mild winter and last week one of my tech's said he saw new grass coming up all over about 1" high. Now we are going to have true winter weather. Will the new grass make it? I doubt it. Should we go over it with more seed? Had about 1" of snow today, temps between 10-20 for the week.

    PS My dad would always put grass seed in the freezer before he planted it and it worked!
  6. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,813

    I think the new ryegrass will be mostly OK; the gradual cooling off is better than sudden cold; a bit of snow will protect it to some degree.
    Let us know what happens, OK?

    In fact--good question--how much will snow protect it? What is you soil temperature? Is the soil temp higher under the snow? Under thick turf? Does any warmth come up from the deeper layers of earth?
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2013
  7. cpllawncare

    cpllawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,659

    I'm going to take it from reading this thread that seeding with tall fescue now will yield good results come March April? I'm in the deep south.
  8. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Regular Perennial Cool-Season grasses should not be subject to winterkill even if newly germinated... What does happenis that when the snow is gone and the days warm up and the nites continue to freeze the 'green leaves' do dry up and turn brown...

    That is true of even the mature grasses... the baby grasses should survive the same way, if they've already germinated... as long as there is still adequate moisture in the frozen soil as it thaws...
    That, however is ONLY my belief and can not say for sure that baby grasses germinated in early Winter will survive to the end of Spring...

    One thing I have noticed when germinating seed in my garden years back was that when the grass was 1" tall, the root I pulled up was about 4" long...
  9. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Fescue should germinate and grow, once the 'soil temps' are around 50 degrees...

    What I'm hoping to observe first hand is the seed planting itself and germinating quickly as the freeze/thaw cycle begins... does the soil in your part of the world, ever freeze solid??? :)
  10. Crimson Lawn

    Crimson Lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 318

    Good Thread.
    We have been dormant seeding here for few years with good results.

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