How did the Dormant Seeding turn out???

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by Smallaxe, May 4, 2014.

  1. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Not very well,for me...
    Seed was placed on the surface of the thin and bare areas just before the first permanent snow storm last Fall...
    We quickly went below 0 degrees F. and stayed there for the winter...
    Once it warmed up the snow melted away,,, the seed is still on the surface...

    Since there has been no freeze/thaw cycle after the snow left, the soil never puckered and planted the seed into the surface... this process is the heart and soul of dormant seeding process...

    On the plus side of this weather pattern, the grass stayed green all winter...

    I have 2 options at this point to help the seed germinate once the temps are in place, as I see it:
    1) spread compost over the exposed seed, or
    2) use a seed stitcher/garden weasel type tool to work the exposed seed areas...

    Has any one else have a report from their efforts of Dormant Seeding??? :)
  2. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,812

    My results showed that seeding late in the year can result in germination and growth of the seed in spring. I used Pennington Smart Seed, Sun and Shade which is about 65 percent perennial ryegrass. I used plots that were 16 inches square on bare garden soil. Seed was sown in November 22, 2013. The first plot was raked up and the soil loosened and the seed was worked into the soil before planting. The second plot was seeded on top, but not loosened, nor worked in. The third plot was seed on top of 4 inches of snow on December 28, 2013.

    The first sprouts were visible and about 1/2 inch tall on April 10, 2014. The Growing Degree Days(Base 40) had accumulated to 50. By May 4 the worked up-in-fall plot had the most grass sprouts, not-worked up was second, the third was seed on top of snow, (unfortunately some perennial flowers arose from the snow-covered plot in spring.).

    The plots were repurposed to see if crabgrass control applied very early, when sprouts were about 2 inches tall would have a detrimental effect. Thus far, by May 4, neither Barricade nor Dimension had any effect.



  3. Cadzilla

    Cadzilla LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 903

    I would never take anyones money for dormant seeding but beyond that one of the most important things you must accomplish with seeding is good seed to soil contact. "On the surface" is not that.

    The farmers don't just toss their seeds into the field, and neither should you.

    Incorporate your seed with soil or save your time and don't bother seeding.

    Your seeding failed for many reasons but one of them is the way you installed....your seed.

    Also....if your area was like mine here in Mi. your soil may not have ever really frozen which means your seed sat under that snow and rotted for 4 months.
  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    For those unfamiliar with Dormant seeding and the way that the Freeze/Thaw cycle in the cold Midwest Fall/Spring, it should be noted that last Spring worked out great...
    Dormant Seeding is not instant result and farmers in the Midwest often planted ryes and grasses in the Spring when the freeze/thaw cycle was drawing the seed into the soil...
    The seed that is currently sitting at the surface is bound tightly to the surface soil in the bare and thin spots, so much so that I was able to blow leaves, twigs and other debris off the forest lawns w/out disturbing the seed...
    The seed goes "Dormant" under snow and prepares for germination when the conditions are correct,,, they do not rot...
  5. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Riggle,,, we had little chance for germination here in Wisco last Fall after your Nov. 22nd date...
    Do you believe that the seed may have germinated before it was covered in snow for the winter, in your area?
    Or did you actually warm up enough by April 10 for germination to happen then??
  6. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,812

    There was no sign of germination in the fall--nor in very early spring--before April 10th.

    Perhaps the early stages of germination--or just the absorption of water happened earlier.
  7. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Another great experiment Riggle...

    I'm surprised you guys got such an early Spring since the lake was frozen over, and offered no protection this winter...
    Our grass is growing a little bit but really hasn't broken dormancy yet..

    I'm glad your experiment showed that the surface seed germinated, because because that was 80% of my dormant seeding last Fall... :)
  8. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Even though the rain was cold last week it was a lot of rain...
    The germination of my dormant seed has begun... Many of the spots throughout the 2.5 A. woods are showing some signs of germination and now we have some 70 degree temps and the promise of warm rains...

    In the sense of cost efficiency,,, after the final leaf cleanup, last Fall, I merely walked around the 2.5 acre woods and tossed small handfulls of seed on any barespots that I found... took maybe a half hour and less than 5 lbs of seed... Not too Expensive,,, when we consider germination is taking place even in a 'bad year' for dormant seeding... This seed is way ahead of anything that people are sowing now, that soil temps approach 50 degrees... :)

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