Here's the story, Help with the ending???

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by rjtlawncare, Mar 24, 2011.

  1. rjtlawncare

    rjtlawncare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 87

    I live here in beautiful Cincinnati Ohio. The next couple of days (Today, Friday, Sat., Sun., and Monday) we are going to have temps ranging from 26(lows) to 49(highs). There will be rain over the wekend and on moday. Tim the weather guy just said that it may be a mix rain/snow, but will not accumilate to any thing. The last couple days we had temps in the mid 70's, and rain (half inch maybe more), so the ground is warm and wet.

  2. ChiTownAmateur

    ChiTownAmateur LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 386

    The air temperature is not the critical factor in when to seed. The critical factors are 1) soil temperature and 2) frost potential.

    Most cool season grasses need a soil temperature of at least 50 degrees to germinate and germinate best closer to 65. So even though it may be 70 outside, if it's not 50+ in the ground, it doesn't matter. You would think (rightly so) that if it were 70 for a long period the ground would quickly warm up.

    Frost can kill a new grass seedling and so if you start to early and it freezes (like it is currently) you can lose some of the new seedlings to the frost. So start too early it takes a long time, and you can lose some of your seedlings. Start too late (say, May) and you won't have enough time for roots to take hold before hot weather stresses what would be a very shallow root system.

    Thus the "prime time" of spring in the midwest typically ranges from very late March to late-April. Current soil temperature range in Chicago is 41-49 degrees...close but not quite warm enough for germination. And frost is occuring every night for the next several days...meaning I wait.

    As eager as you may be to get it down does come up much faster when soil temperatures are higher. In fall it comes up very fast, which is part of why it is an ideal time to seed (weeds issues being the other main reason). Hold off a bit longer and you will get faster and easier results without having to rework it.
  3. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,670

    Chitown makes some good points. Soil temperature and moisture are the only things that count. Its going to to 12 degrees here at night--way below normal.
    But Cincinatti soil temps show up as 50 to 55. using the soil temp map.

    It might be a little slow to germinate to be sure. I don't think frost is a major concern. The indoor-grown seed up to a height of about 3 inches, that I planted outdoors last week looks fine.
  4. TurnerLawn&Landscape

    TurnerLawn&Landscape LawnSite Member
    Messages: 127

    I live in Northern Kentucky and have already done 2 seed jobs. One was 2200 sq feet and the other 1800 sq feet. I did these two weeks ago and im not too worried about the low temps that snuck back in! I would say you would be fine to go ahead and get it down! I dont know about you, but once my grass accounts start needing to be cut its hard to find the time for miscellaneous jobs. So if you have a lot of grass accts is always nice not having to spend time doing a seed job!
  5. rjtlawncare

    rjtlawncare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 87

    Thanks for the repies, very informative, great site for soil temps. I just hate it when mother nature creeps her little head in and gives us one last scare of that cold weather. Last update of temp we should be having good germination weather by the middle of next week, so LET THE FUN BEGIN.
  6. phillie

    phillie LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 861

    Heres the thing with the frost. If the seedlings are up and germinated they do have the potential to die off, but if your seed has not germinated yet it is still a livable seed. This is why people can dormant seed around xmas and have that seed last though piles of snow and come into spring just fine. Cincy is about an hour and a half from me and I am starting to seed next monday and feel very comfortable doing so.

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