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Seed germination

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by Gabby, Apr 16, 2013.

  1. Gabby

    Gabby LawnSite Member
    Messages: 140

    I had some low spots in my lawn so I got a load of topsoil and filled them all in. Raked everything out nice and seeded with Johnathan Green Sun & Shade raked it all in and then added Scotts starter fertilizer. Watering everyday for 9 days now. No sign of germination what so ever. Seed bag said 10-14 days to germinate. It has been cold here in New York at night. I know it is one more day to be in the 10-14 day period but I was hoping to see a seed or two popping up in there somewhere. Should I be getting worried or is this pretty much normal? Thanks.
  2. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,723

    I say normal--because it is still cold. Can you find weather records of the period. Average temps.
    Heating degree-days?
    My indoor seed has sprouted. My outdoor seed has not. We had the first day of 60 degree weather yesterday April 15th. It has been cold here also. If Black Beauty contains any perennial rye--it should sprout first.

    It is always a good idea to plant a pinch of seed inside in a coffee mug--just to be sure the seed is good. (Sometimes the seed bag was stored outside or was carried over from old stock.) No drainage is needed as you will only grow it for a short time in the container. Put it on your desk.

    My area shows growing degree days of only 44, New York state only about the same, depending on where you live.
  3. Gabby

    Gabby LawnSite Member
    Messages: 140

    So today is day 10. Yesterday afternoon we got a decent shower so I did not water. Sure enough after 10 days I see some germination. So I got worried for nothing I guess. So how many days before it is ready to mow? :)
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  4. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,280

    Your process is going to be SLLOOWWW. Its really still too cold to seed, at least here anyway. I have a few seed jobs I am going to wait a couple weeks on yet.
  5. Landscape Poet

    Landscape Poet LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,638

    If you take the time to learn the elements that seed need to germinate, I am sure you will figure out that you are missing one of the elements and that is why you have not seen any signs of germination.
  6. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,723

    how about looking up the growing degree days in your town, now that your seed has germinated? That will give all of us an idea when the earliest seed will appear. If we judge by the growing degree days we can predict how soon newly seeded grass should germinate and appear above ground. What kind of seed did you plant? am assuming it had some perennial ryegrass--and that would normally be the first to germinate.
    The number of heating degree days would also be helpful--the less you need to heat your house--the sooner grass will appear.
    It looks like you had 113 heating degree days in the last week.
    Looks like we had 154 for the last 7 days. Colder here. And colder than normal, about 20 percent more HDD than normal

    My outside grass experiment grown in potting soil in a shallow pan was planted about 3 weeks ago--no germination yet.
    Does anyone else have new grass coming up and information on "heating degree days" in your town or GDD (growing degree days) for your area?

    Dam--heavy rain here again!

    Your first mowing depends on temp, fertility, and moisture level--I would say in about 3 weeks. You should mow fairly early as cutting off the tall grass helps it spread sideways. Cutting the tall ryegrass also allows more light to reach the lower and slower growing Kentucky bluegrass.
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2013
  7. Gabby

    Gabby LawnSite Member
    Messages: 140

    It takes a temperature of 60 degrees for seed to germinate, is that correct? I put in the date when I planted the seed (4/6/13) and the date I saw germination (4/17/13) there were only 2 GDD's of 60 degrees but my seed germinated in 10 days. I planted Johnathan Green sun and shade (KBG, Rye and Fescue)

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  8. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,723

    Not always easy to find. Seed germination depends on the type of seed and the total heat during the day.
    I found that Grand Rapids and Elmira NY both had only 9 growing degree days for the 2013 season up to April 17. Since the growing Degree Days take into account the low and the high--it is a good indicator of what stage the various crops will attain. Somehow I have no germination in my experimental outdoor seeding (perennial rye) so far.

    Here we have blue flowers on our wild violet weeds. Also bloom on veronica filiformis weeds. (Speedwell).
    We are nearing the first mowing. Dandelions have not bloomed yet.
  9. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    It is soil temperature at sowing depth that is important for germination, among other things. Using a GDD with a base 50 for cool season grasses is probably a little off and should be taken into account. If you are interested in this kind of stuff, see this white paper where a base 32 is used for fescue.

    Also you use the total number of GDD for the year with respect to the base, the base being the temperature at which the plant is actively growing and which varies for different plant types/crops.

  10. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,143

    Last edited: Apr 22, 2013

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