Germinating Pre-soaked Seed

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by Smallaxe, Oct 2, 2013.

  1. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,794

    Start Friday--football on Saturday--sow seed Sunday. I think it would work fine to add seed 48 hours in advance to a tank or hydroseeder tank to speed germination; (cold weather or bad conditions, it might be needed). I am sure you would want to bubble air through the slurry. And you would want mild agitation (maybe no air needed if good agitation). Seed contains chemicals that prevent premature seed germination. The chemicals are leached out by soaking the seed in water, and must be removed with aeration or by changing the water. How warm should the water be? How much air? How often to change water--if at all? Can it start 72 hours early? 96?
    What works best? Rye? Blue? Fescue? Bermuda?
    Naturally, you would add the wood fiber mulch just before applying the mixture.

    I am sure this has been done and tested many times by the hydroseed people.
    What about it, Turbo?

    Good question--will customers pay more for pre-germination of the seed? Quick green, is it worth all the extra trouble to you as the contractor?
  2. ReddensLawnCare

    ReddensLawnCare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,651

    Based upon axes results thus far, I do not see a significant increase in germ. I seeded ten yards 7 days ago followed by a topdressing of compost and all the seedlings are 1/2". No rain and only watering 3 times a week per utilities code
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  3. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    We are a bit colder already than NC, and our ability to soak the ground is diminished, even 3 times a week,,, so getting germination within a reasonable time frame before the ground dries out again is what I'm shooting for...
    Riggle, if you are talking about hydroseeding and aerating the slurry with a particular temperature control, you could go all the way and have it germinated when you apply it to the ground... I wonder if there is a cheap machine that would spray the slurry evenly???
  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Yesterday was Day 6,,, and we have germination... :)

    I decided to water again yesterday because with several days of dessicating winds the ground was dusty dry again... I noticed in the sunny area there was heavy germination... Back in the deeper shade,,, only sprigs here and there... one spot is still nothing at all....

    Well worth the effort in that we can be establishing this area before any possible late Fall drought kills it...
    The dry seed that was put down with compost right after Labor Day took 3 weeks to germinate, under similar circumstances... So I'm pleased with the results... :)
  5. foreplease

    foreplease LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,062

    I am a big fan of using a light covering of PennMulch for repairs. Have you tried it? I do not use it for spot repairs on athletic fields unless the field will not be in use for 2-4 weeks. PennMulch combined with presoaked seed really establishes quickly.

    Congrats on your success so far.
  6. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Not sure which mulch,,, is PennMulch,,, but if it is that shredded cardboard junk then I hate it... compost is my favorite mulch and it actively feeds the seedlings rather than tie up nutrients from the seedlings... The shoots are bright green and actively growing,,, but I could imagine that if they were losing nutrients to the digestion process of the mulchthey would not be so vigorous...
    The cardboard based mulches I've seen are also quite hydrophobic which is the reason that I also don't like sphagnum...
  7. foreplease

    foreplease LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,062

    PennMulch is billed as a seed accelerator, contains small amounts of NPK, conserves (helps retain) water, reduces erosion. Putting it down too heavily causes more problems than it solves.
  8. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    That PennMulch link only brought up a penpal ad that I couldn't close with a "google" thing behind it...

    if it is not that shredded cardboard stuff then it is probably not a problem,,, but would it actually be superior to compost dollar for dollar???

    Anyways I'm happy that I got germination and learned also just how important , sunlight and warmth,, was to the process... I'll be back over there today to see if that heavily shaded area has germinated yet... :)

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