Seed Moisture - Watering Times >>

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by platinum, Sep 17, 2009.

  1. platinum

    platinum LawnSite Member
    Messages: 170

    What are the recommended watering times to keep new seed moist until germination?

    Sunrise is ~7:00pm and sunset is around ~8:00pm. Temp is in the upper 70's

    Right now I am watering at 4:00am, 1:00pm, and 7:00pm for 15 min each cycle.

    Is there a better schedule I should follow to get better use of my water?
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2009
  2. ricsin1

    ricsin1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 81

    i have the same question............ i always thought that EARLY AM - around 5am is the best time......... I was going to go out and buy (2) of those electronic timers 'cuz there was no way i could get up at 6am just to water some grass!!!! but my lawn care service guy told me he likes to water at NIGHT........ he is currently overeeding fescue in his lawn and he said he waters around 8pm for 30 minutes -- that way the seed stay moist for a longer period of time....... he said if you water at 6am by the time its 12 noon all that water has evaportated so your seeds were only moist for 6 hours............. if you do it in the evening - lets say 6-7 pm than you seeds stay moist all the evening and overnight as well before the morning/afternoon starts to dry the soil......... it seems like it makes sense ???

    let me know what you find out...
    I've heard just once in the early morning ( 6am ) --- then i've almost heard the multiple times per day liek you are doing -- and now I just heard from my lawn service guy that he does his PERSONAL LAWN at 8pm ....

    Im planning on overseeding my lawn on Oct 1 so Im trying to get as much info as possible now....
  3. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Seed is different than grass. I water 10am and 2pm until it germinates then about noon or so once a day.

    Obviously you make regional adjustments and account for rain and clouds.
  4. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    At temps in the 70's in a typical clay-loam and assuming your seed is covered, you can probably get away with twice a day, 11AM and 4PM .... for 3-5 minutes per run (assuming sprays with decent uniformity)
  5. Turboguy

    Turboguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,970

    I think there is potential for the 7 pm watering to cause disease problems in your lawn and suggest you drop that one.

    I would go with 5 am, 10 am and 3-4 pm and nothing later. Once the grass is about an inch high I would cut back to two watering's. Probably about 6 am and 1 pm. You want to be careful that you don't water to the point where you get runoff or pooling. It sounds like you are doing your best to insure a great lawn and and I am sure you will get great results.
  6. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    And depending on your watering system, 15 minutes at this point is probably a waste of water. All you need to do is make sure thew very top layer stays conSISTantly moist. As the grass starts germinating, as stated above, cut back on your watering frequencies but lengthen the time slightly. The reason for this, is that as the new plants sprout, AND as root system start to develop, they have a tendency to retain a bit of moisture in the soil. the reason for the longer watering times, is to get the water just a little deeper to reach the root system. As it matures, less frequency needed, but longer times. Whatever you do, KEEP the soil AMP. Do NOT let the new plants go dry. If they dry out and die, that's it...they're gone and wil never come back.
  7. platinum

    platinum LawnSite Member
    Messages: 170

    Thanks for the input. This is what I have observed in the 3 days at the schedule above.

    • 4am watering - stays moist until about 1pm
    • 1pm watering - stays moist until about 5pm
    • 7pm watering - stays moist until about 9am
    With that being said, I am going to change the schedule to the following and see if I have better results. 7am, 1pm, 5pm. Also I am going to switch from 15 min watering to 10. I notice that the seed/soil gets fairly soaked in 15min.

    I will report back in a few days...
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2009
  8. ALC-GregH

    ALC-GregH LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Messages: 7,051

    Runner is spot on. The seed needs to stay moist not wet as you only need the first inch or so to stay moist. Once rooting starts it needs more water to soak deeper. Platinum, it sounds like you laying down too much water. Once the seed germinates, step up the amount of water.
  9. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    Still too much water IMO.

    If the soil does dry out before sun down, which is unlikely in a clay-loam and daily irrigation at those temps, water will generally move to the surface during the night making an early morning watering pointless. You need to keep the seed moist .... and assuming the seed is in contact with the soil (which it better be), then this is what you should be concerned with, the top 1/4" of soil.

    How are you determining if there is enough water? Did you top dress?
  10. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,457

    Water around here does not move upward through the soil--gravity pulls it downward. I think you are on the right path, Platinum. What kind of grass? What are temps? For bluegrass and ryegrass--strive for day temps of about 80 and night temps above 45.
    What is drainage situation? Avoid pooling or puddles of standing water, particularly in hot weather--such conditions are an invitation to pythium disease which can kill large areas in only 24 hours. Other diseases can be a problem in warm humid weather if the grass blades remain wet overnight. You don't want red thread, gray leaf spot, dollarspot, and you will probably get rust in any case. I hope you used top quality seed--it would be more disease resistant.

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