Pre-germination, apply wet?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by RigglePLC, Oct 16, 2018.

  1. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,622

    I wanted to test methods of applying pre-germinated grass seed without the extra steps of drying the seed. I soaked an ounce of perennial rye in 2 gals of water, indoors at 65 degrees, for 22 hours.
    I tried to apply the "seed slurry" with a small hand sprayer. I removed the nozzle from the wand. I found that I had to also remove the internal "pick-up" filter. The seed settled out quickly--agitation was needed.
    I tried removing the internal pick up tube, and then holding the sprayer upside down. But still almost no seed appeared in the stream coming from the wand. I suspect that the hand valve was too small internally. Perhaps a quarter-inch ball valve would work.
    I found that the seed slurry could be siphoned from the large container to the ground or to a smaller container with half-inch vinyl tubing or hose.
    I prepared two 3 by 3 foot plots, and applied the seed slurry as a liquid to the soil using a watering can with a half-inch opening,(left in the photo). Frequent agitation was needed as the seed tended to settle out. The seed sometimes appeared in a narrow band about an inch wide. I planted an ounce of the dry ordinary non-pre-germinated perennial rye adjacent to the wet-applied seed.(Right in the photo). The seed was not raked-in. Temperature was 52 and cool weather was expected.
    As an afterthought, I added some seed slurry to a 32 ounce water bottle and applied it by hand on an extra plot. I could shake the bottle and use my fingers to regulate the flow.
    I planted a small sample indoors in paper cups with drainage. One was planted wet, and one planted dry (non-pregerminated).



    Last edited: Oct 16, 2018
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  2. OP

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,622

    Frost here; it was 29 F early morning on October 18.
    Indoors, at 66 degrees, the pre-germinated seed suspended in water was applied to soil in a small cup. This was perennial rye. The first sprouts became visible on the fifth day. The tallest was about 3/8 inch or about a centimeter.
    The untreated seed in a second cup was about a quarter inch tall, as the tallest.
    Big news? NO. The pre-treated seed may have a head start of about one day.
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  3. OP

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,622

    Pre-germinated perennial rye seed sown October 16, directly poured out using the soaking water, solution and not dried at all, sprouted after about a month on November 15, 2018. This, in spite of cool conditions, a few frost events, and about 3 inches of snow that mostly melted. The tallest attained a height of about 3/4 inch, (left side).

    The same rye seed not soaked in water, not pre-germinated, sprouted a couple days later--the tallest attained a height of about 1/4 inch, (right side).
    It is not actually necessary to dry the seed after pre-germination soaking.
    In a practical sense, germination can be speeded up, but only provided suitable application methods are available. Dried seed is more easily applied, even though an extra 24 hours step is required.

    The question remains--what if the seed were soaked longer--such as 48 hours, before sowing? What if the water temperature were higher--perhaps at 80 or 85 F. during the soaking cycle?



    Last edited: Nov 19, 2018
  4. That Guy Gary

    That Guy Gary LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,413

    If you soak it longer than 24 hrs I'd suggest putting a fish tank air stone in if you can, or place it between damp paper towels. Let it breathe a little.

    I'm curious about soaking kbg for 2-3 weeks, now that's a seed that could really benefit from a jump start.

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