pre-soak seed

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by RigglePLC, Mar 20, 2012.

  1. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,664

    Here it is Smallaxe,
    I couldn't find original thread, about pre-soaking seed. And it is too early to draw any real conclusions, but (I am so excited!) I planted grass seed March 17 in pots in potting soil inside and moved them outside for greater warmth--its been 75 or 80 at 2 pm for last few days, 50 to 60 at night.

    I am the only one that looks this close. I spotted a tiny sprout about 1/8 inch tall a few minutes ago. It is the Scotts "Classic" seed (high in ryegrass). The sprout is from the batch that was soaked 24 hours.

    Stay tuned. I am going to the Earth Service and Supply open house and pesticide training session tomorrow.
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    We've definately had seed germination weather, for the past couple weeks... :)

    I believe the ground is thawed, even in parts of the heavily forested lawns that I work at...

    Tell me what you think about this idea:
    I might mix the seed heavily in a small amount of compost, soak it thoroughly for 24 hrs, then spread it out to air dry... should work??

    What i'm thinking is that this would make it easier to handle when doing the smaller areas, such as dog spots... which it looks like a bumper crop this year...
  3. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,664

    I think you are on the right track, Axe. You may need to use a screen strainer to drain off the water without losing too much seed. Maybe you can place the drained residue on top of paper towels which are placed on top of screen to let the water out and the drying air to circulate.
    To early for results--only 4 days--but other treatments are beginning to some some tiny sprouts. It was 30 degrees above normal today, 87 degrees.
  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Thanks Riggle, I think you got me started on something, that I will actually work into a procedure, so it is ready to go on a moments notice... :)

    We didn't make 87 degrees today but I think we did hit close... now I'm hoping for that warm gulf rain to actually reach us before it get pushed too far south, even though the grass and the weeds are already actively growing...
    I want to spray broadleaf after the rain...
  5. Snyder's Lawn Inc

    Snyder's Lawn Inc LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,530

    I pre soak seed To hydro seed and the best results I got was 3 days it was spouting and 5th day the area was greener air temps was in the 70s at night Thinkg was June few yrs back
    Contactor ask how I did it I told him Everything came together the soil was right and had right temps
  6. t608

    t608 LawnSite Member
    from RI
    Messages: 91

    This sounds very interesting! At what scale are you guys going with this? I mean are you just doing this for spotting or sq footage.

    I'm thinking of trying this and what I came up with in my head was to soak the seed in buckets of water. After 24 hours fish the seed out with a fish net and spread the seed out to dry. Then plant. Heck I forgot a bag of grass seed outside once and the seeds grew grass.
  7. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,664

    Actually I used a small sample--about an ounce of seed in 3 gallons of water. Actually the seed sank. It was fairly easy to pour off 99 percent of the water. Maybe a strainer or screen would help to remove the last ounce of water, but not really needed.

    HOWEVER...the results were disappointing, using Scotts "Classic" seed. Pre-soaking pushed the seed ahead only by about one day faster, maybe less. On day 6, seed soaked for 24, 38, or 72 hours was 1-inch tall at the tallest blade; whereas the non-soaked seed was at about 7/10th of an inch tall.

    Scotts "High Traffic" seed soaked last year and compared with untreated, again showed only a tiny increase due to pre-soaking. This seed was slightly slower overall, perhaps due to the added year of aging.

    Both seeds mixtures were high in perennial ryegrass. I am sure I was only seeing the perennial rye part of the mixture at this early date.

    If speed is essential perhaps one could search for a perennial rye that has a large seed size and germinates extra fast. Seed companies would know this.
  8. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,664

    Following up on the above seed experiments with pre-soaking. After searching several seed company sites, I think that "Edge II" sounds like the fastest starting perennial ryegrass. It has a very low seed count per pound--only 270,000 seeds per pound--and that means it has very large, fat seeds, ( which lend themselves to quick germination). "Edge II" is described as "quick starting". Germination is in 4 to 6 days and mowing is at 22 days after planting. Also dark green and good disease resistance.

    Are you listening, Smallaxe?
    I think, it would be the seed of choice where quick results and high quality are needed.
    Probably ideal for dog spots and snowplow damage.

    I am not sure pre-soaking seed is worth the extra effort.
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2012
  9. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    I still have plans about putting some of these ideas into play... we've been using a strategy of soaking seed in spahgnum moss mix, in a covered pail, stirring daily, then putting down by the soggy handful once it starts to germinate... that's usually starting to greenup the next morning... but still, typically a week in the pail...

    The main benefit of that is a surer germination in the lawn itself... the pail is easily kept warm and properly soaked/aerated...

    The fact that you had soaked seeds for 72 hours, dried them out and when seeded into the ground they still germinated tells me one thing...
    *Freshly seed lawns, need not be kept perpetually wet until they germinate...
  10. t608

    t608 LawnSite Member
    from RI
    Messages: 91

    Where can I get this seed?

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