Seed test-cool weather-soaked

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by RigglePLC, Apr 10, 2011.

  1. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,675

    Brb...Be right back.
    Checked soil temp in wife's flower garden bare soil, about half day sun. Ok its 52 degrees F at 2 inches deep. Heavy rain a few hours ago.
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    52 degrees is just about what is always said for cool season grass germination. 2" is about all that matters to the grasses.

    I was working up a shaded area yesterday that we want to try some more grass. The ice puddle disappeared last week and the sun can never really warm the soil, so I'd be surprised if it is even 40 degrees yet.
    Is there a thermometer that is sold at a local hardware store that would work for soil temps?
  3. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,675

    I got my "soil thermometer" at the local auto parts store. Metal thermometer used for air conditioning work.
  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    I'll have to give it a try... thanks...

    in fact thanks for the entire experiment.. :)
  5. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,675

    Results from tests on seed, Scotts "High Traffic" (high in perennial rye like "Silver Dollar"), planted outside on April 8 in containers. Also some planted in February in tub on top of snow. Almost all grass sprouts were about the same size, about 2 inches high, with the only exception being untreated seed planted in a garden on April 8, slower sprouting.

    Untreated control sprouted in 17 days
    24 hour presoak and dried 9
    72 hour presoak and dried 15
    Untreated, planted in garden 18
    Planted on top of snow in container in February, a few days in advance of others

    Photo on May 3, 2011. White coffee mug is 24 hour soak, purple mug 72 hour soak, red cup untreated, garden planted is in front of white cup for photo contrast. Large white container--snow planting.



  6. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,675

    From this data it appears that the seed planted on top of snow had an advantage for early germination. The April seed soaked 24 hours and dried arose 8 days sooner than the untreated control--giving it a substantial advantage under cold soil conditions. However, all treatments were at about the same height after 25 days.
    Clearly it is possible to successfully plant grass very early, even at 45 degrees soil temperature, and with frost likely. And it appears that pre-soaking for 24 hours and drying also adds an advantage. The germinating seed is probably ryegrass.
    However from a practical point of view the grass height is still limited by the cold, attaining in this trial, about 2 inches after 25 days.
    Late winter sowing of ryegrass blends may be practical where a busy schedule requires the use of all available dates, or where the customer or management demands the earliest possible grass.
  7. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    I noticed a while back that newly germinated seed would reach a certain height of green growth, then stay that way for a while... This was during warm weather and adequate moisture in one of my garden plots...
    I figured out, that once the top at reached 'critical mass' it would simply photosynthesize materials necessary to grow root.

    It makes sense, that deep roots are important for the survival of the seedling, and must be attended to first... :)

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