Early seed test

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by RigglePLC, Apr 2, 2014.

  1. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,793

    I planted some seed in topsoil in containers outside; it was 44 degrees, 28 that night. The following morning the soil temp was 40 F. I also planted some seed that had been soaked in water for 96 hours and then dried. The GDD (Gowing Degree Days, Base 32) had accumulated to 53 by March 31. The seed was Pennington Sun and Shade from a Home Depot in Michigan, high in perennial rye, but also includes blue and fine fescue.

    Results in a couple of weeks. Maybe.

    I intend to compare the above with a seeding made last fall and last December on top of 4 inches of snow in a bare soil garden area.

    Last edited: Apr 2, 2014
  2. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,793

    No sprouts in containers, so far.

    However, in my garden the first grass seed sprouts arose on April 10th, 2014. The maximum height was about one-half inch. Pennington seed which was about 65 percent perennial rye was used. The seed was planted on bare garden soil November 22, 2014. The high temperature today was about 58 and the low was 34 degrees F. Soil temp 51 F. Weather was colder than normal for this Michigan area.

    By April 9, accumulated Growing Degree Days (GDD) Base 22 were 394, Base 32 were 147, Base 40 were 34,
    GDD Base 50 were 0.
    Base 40 is the easiest to look up online for comparison in your area:


    According to Greencast the soil temps were about 35 to 40, but perhaps the discrepancy is because this data is taken from a greater depth:


    It appears from this data, that early April is about the earliest grass seed can sprout in west Michigan. Naturally, for earliest possible results seed would have to be planted in fall or about 2 weeks ahead of the earliest sprouting date.
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2014
  3. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,793

    Naturally I wanted to get photos. I tried as best I could to get enough contrast to see a new perennial ryegrass sprout and get sharp focus.

    True, its only about a half inch tall. This seed was planted about November 22 last fall. There are several other small sprouts.
    Seed sowed was Pennington "Sun and Shade".
    Temperature today is 58 F.

    S3500007 (2).jpg
  4. frotis

    frotis LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 396

    Did you dormant seed in the fall, if so has any germinated yet?
  5. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,793

    The above picture which shows a tiny sprout in front of a white spoon used as a marker, was dormant seeded November 22, 2013. The first grass sprout arose about April 10th, 2014.
    A maple tree seed has sprouted in the foreground.
    There might be a second grass leaf blade arising just the left of the arrow. Both sprouts are slightly taller now, (April 13)--about 3/4 of an inch.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2014
  6. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,793

    Earliest seed germination and sprouting in Michigan, April 15. This Pennington seed was planted April 1, 2014; it is high in perennial ryegrass. It was planted outside in potting soil. The tallest sprout is about 3/8 inch tall. It is visible in front of the penny for contrast and size scale. Thus far only the seed soaked for 96 hours and then dried has sprouted. The 96 hour soak in water for pre germination, and drying was completed about two weeks before planting. The highest temperature this April was 71 degrees. The temperature at the time of the photograph had fallen to 28 and rose again to 35 and 2 inches of snow had fallen.
    So far there is no sprouting in the larger container(not soaked), nor in the small container, where the seed was not pre-germinated. Sowing seed April first is very early, but clearly it is possible. It is about the earliest one can expect results, except for where the seed was dormant seeded in the fall.

    Growing Degree Days by April 14 are listed here :
    Base 22 549
    Base 32 252
    Base 40 99
    Base 50 20

    Growing Degree Days for your area could be found here:

    S3500005 (2).jpg
  7. ProStreetCamaro

    ProStreetCamaro LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,289

    I found something absolutely shocking this spring. Over the winter we remodeled our sunroom into an office. Had to dig a deep trench just outside the house to run ethernet and power to the office. When they moved the soil back into the trench I threw in rye and also a tall fescue/hybrid blue mix. Winter was incredibly cold and lasted forever here. Still getting down to freezing some nights. The rye came up in MARCH. March was super cold. We just started cutting last week. I could not believe my eyes the rye germinated when the soil had to still be in the upper 30's!
  8. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,793

    In Michigan by April 20 Growing Degree Days(Base 40) had accumulated to 127. GDD(Base 32) was at 311. Pennington seed high in perennial rye had germinated on bare soil seeded November 22, 2013, and also a week later on seed applied over the top of snow in early December 2013.

    Containers, planted outdoors on April 1, 2014 resulted in the first sprouts on April 13. This was from the seed that had been soaked for pre-germination for 96 hours and then dried.

    The non-soaked seed sprouted with small, but visible sprouts on April 20 in the paper cup and large pan container. Penny included for scale and photographic contrast for the tiny sprouts.




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