1. Ask the Expert: Fertilization Strategies for Success: Dec. 12, 2017
    Learn how to do more with less when it comes to your fertilization services. Join the live Ask the Expert event hosted by Koch Turf & Ornamental: Dec. 12, 12-2 p.m. ET in the Fertilizer Application forum .

Dormant Seeding Question

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by jweiner, Oct 10, 2009.

  1. jweiner

    jweiner LawnSite Member
    Messages: 142

    We live in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area. I have heard of dormant seeding before, but I have a question about it. The temperatures are starting to get colder around here with highs in the lower 50s and lows in the lower 40s. Is it acceptable to hydroseed a lawn now with a 40%- 50% Bluegrass mix. Will these seeds sprout in the spring? Or, is it a better idea to wait until the spring?
  2. anotherturfgeek

    anotherturfgeek LawnSite Member
    Messages: 200

    I would wait till next year. Grass seed % of sprouting is best at temps above 50 degrees.
    Some people do seed now but most are spending other peoples money.
  3. mdlwn1

    mdlwn1 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,443

    i would think the Bluegrass would be a total waste right now
  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    The concept behind dormant seeding is that, you want to sow it in dormancy - then - when it is ready to break dormancy it sprouts. And it sprouts in its own time so you don't have to care for it like you do in the growing season.

    The first one I heard about being done - was seeded on the Marine Corps Birthday, Nov. 10. The ground is usually chilled deep enough by then - that the seed will only lay there, going through its dormant processes, like a hibernating bear.
    [Soaking them in water, as with hydroseeding, has a tendency to get the seed going. Bad time to grow!!!]

    What they did was work up and clean the soil in the fall, then lay down the dry seed down, b4 winter. The following spring they had a bountiful lawn and everyone was happy. We are North of you a ways, but most winters have snow cover enough to melt through the seed, setting it at the correct depth for germination. [The freeze/thaw cycle plants the seed, so you don't have to.]

    Typically what I do is over seed at the beginning of a substantial snow storm on frozen ground, or toss it out in the spring as soon as the snow is gone. I like to just toss the seed into an area of dead crabgrass bodies, because they make great 'cover' for the real grass.

    My first success with it was, in the spring on wet soggy ground that is nonirrigated and barely fertilized, that recieved enough sun for a good crop of crabgrass. That stuff got off to a good start and the crabgrass was choked out the first year.
  5. bigslick7878

    bigslick7878 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 809

    Ideal time to do this is right before the first snowfall, especially if you are in a climate where the snow will not melt. The snow will protect the seed over the winter and provide it with plenty of moisture and it will come up in the spring when the weather breaks.
  6. david shumaker

    david shumaker LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 721

    I've thrown down seed in my yard before a snowfall in late winter and it came up great in the spring. It hasn't snowed much here in the past few years.
  7. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    We have already had our first snowfall. Seed in the soil now may still germinate. It chances of success are very slim in an average winter scenario.

    Don't dormant seed too early...
  8. Turboguy

    Turboguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,972

    I would suggest trying to wait a couple of weeks. The danger is that if the seed germinates and the grass is in the 1/2" spike stage of growth it would likely be killed by the hard freezes it would go through in the winter. If it could get a little bigger this year then it would be strong enough to make it through the winter. If it doesn't germinate at all then it would be fine and come up in the spring and actually will come up pretty good usually. If it were me I would wait until any reasonable chance of it germinating this fall is past.
  9. dougsmith726

    dougsmith726 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    We wound up dormant seeding last year not because we wanted to but because of construction delays. It was a strip over a pipeline about 7000 feet long and from 8 to 30 feet wide. It was late in October early November. It worked out well for us but I think it was more luck than anything else. It got cold and stayed cold. Seems to me like hydroseeding is a waste of water, just put the seed down. Turns out our part was the only thing that worked as the contractor back filled the pipeline with the wrong material and the whole thing sunk 12 ", but grass still grew. If we ever get out of this financial muddle and they get enough money to redo it right we are supposed to get to do the whole thing over again and bill them again.

Share This Page