Regular Watering For Seed in the Fall

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by Smallaxe, Oct 3, 2012.

  1. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    I have had a number of different seeding situations this season,,, some of them were less than textbook perfect as far as how they were irrigated...
    Nevertheless, I've gotten germination at a proper density with a handheld hose averaging once every other day or two...

    This was a narrow strip that no sprinkler can possibly fit,,, so while I'm in the neighborhood I pick up the hose and spray down the oddly shaped spot by hand... for a normal, full service client, of course... after a couple of weeks of this routine I noticed yesterday that the seed had popped, and the last water it had gotten was, 2-3 days earlier...

    (This is a shaded area, with medium light soil and was sprinkled over with compost at seeding time...)

    My question to everyone out there is:
    What pleasant surprises/accomplishments have you observed in seeding,,, that was NOT done by following the standard advice of: "watering 2-3 times per/day and be careful to not let the soil dry out in between times"???

    I think it would be helpful for everyone else to hear, from others, that seeding can be done successfully outside of ideal conditions... :)
  2. humble1

    humble1 LawnSite Silver Member
    from MA
    Messages: 2,519

    Most of my lawns are irrigated, but the ones not irrigated I try to get in before the rain. we areaeeing decent results II tell people there is a quaranteed germination rate, that is it is viable seed. Once the seed gets moist germination starts, if it dries out the seed dies off its up to them to water.
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  3. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    This is the main idea, entrenched in the psyche of LCOs everywhere,,, that is totally false... Irrigation is an unnatural phenomena that 'nature' has done w/out since the Beginning... not trying to be difficult or confrontational, but this is an important point for people to know IF we're ever going to learn how grass seed works...

    So the question remains: Has anyone had pleasant surprises as to grass germinating under unexpected circumstances??? :)
  4. green_man

    green_man LawnSite Member
    from nj
    Messages: 26

    In the trailer crevices, in the overseeder hopper forgotten from last year, in a leftover bag in the garage...

    Not trying to be a wise guy at all, rather to your point about irrigation. I always preach "if you let it dry out at all, it'll die", but these places are certainly not irrigated and excepting the trailer, covered. In fact, bag and hopper have no soil, so I guess 'seed to soil contact' goes out the window, too.
  5. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,296

    This is a good thread.

    For the slice seed jobs I do, I advise I do the job in the highest quality manner possible with new, quality grass seed blends. Germination and stand success depend on the customer. If they are able to water frequently, a greater % germination will occur. If the seed gets little to no water (i.e. customer does nothing but wait for rainfall), then they can expect lesser results. Its really on them after I do the job and advise them how to water if it doesn't rain.

    That is why you NEVER guarantee seed jobs. Really, its good money for us but the customer controls the final result to some degree, puts their skin in the game.
  6. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Good point about seed to soil contact... seed to moisture contact is more the truth...

    I would not necessarily agree that lesser irrigation means lesser germination... the example, that I put forth had as good germination as any other that recieved a daily watering...
    May take longer, but is it true?, that seed in a proper seedbed will eventually germinate as well as anything, even when left upto rain alone???

    Someone out there must have had that kind of success, w/out any irrigation at all... :)
  7. DirtRoad

    DirtRoad LawnSite Member
    Messages: 49

    I have been trying to research this myself. My personal property has a 3 acre lawn and i would like to overseed but watering impossible. Would be devistating to put down hundreds of dollars worth of seed and get zero results.
  8. brown thumb

    brown thumb LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    I will say one thing...working with cool season turf grass seeds/dormancy properties is a walk in the park compared to getting a full blown diverse prairie established from seed.:dizzy:

    I will say on my own personal land here in Iowa I see warm season, native grasses thriving on extremely poor hard pan/gravel soils out by the road ditch. Mosey on over to a nice shady area with black soil and the cool season turf is fit as a fiddle.

    The battle is won if you can seed into habitats that will support the species you have chosen to plant. The seeding is a synthetic way of recreating the natural seed rain of you want to seed at a time when the species you are planting rains seed naturally IMO....and it's not a quick one time deal in nature. Perhaps we should experiment with three light seedings spread out through several months and compare that to a one time seeding. There may be something beneficial happening with long-term turf health with different establishment timing/ what was the question:dizzy:
  9. greenstar lawn

    greenstar lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 648

    Smallaxe, about 3 weeks ago I had a few patches in my lawn that needed to be re seeded. The three patches I did I dug out the bad grass and put in compost. I then reseeded one section with Scotts kbg with Scotts starter, the other 2 patches i used a kbg blend from the local elevator with triple 12. I am watering once a day on the Scotts and one of the patches from the local elevator and the other patch is am not watering. Believe it or not I already have germination in the patch that I am not watering.
    The weather in se mich has been upper 60's for the high and upper 40's at night. Very little rain as well.
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  10. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,813

    Check the seed package for varieties. If the seed contains perennial or annual rye it will appear sooner, of course. In fact, under ideal conditions, (85 and moist) Scotts perennial rye in my hands has been a quarter-inch tall after 96 hours.

    Seed germination can probably withstand wet and dry--HOWEVER--once the grass is a quarter inch tall I suspect that a few hours of dryness will kill it.

    Perhaps I can try this as an experiment. In flower pots.

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