Starting the Dormant Seeding Now

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by Smallaxe, Nov 11, 2013.

  1. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,808

    My cold weather herbicide spray comparison using dandelions was started November 12. The temperature was 34 degrees, soil temperature 33.
    Speedzone was most effective and T-Zone was almost as effective. Surge, 3-way, and Quicksilver were less effective, after 10 days with temps mostly in the 30's to 40's.
    Glyphosate as Lesco Razorburn was slow, but browned the grass spot after 8 days.

    Cold weather seeding was up to about one-inch tall at 27 days. The plot where seed was raked in had the best germination.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2013
  2. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,808

    I took over part of my wife's garden for a grass seed crab test. I seeded two 1 sqft areas of bare soil November 21. Soil raked and seed raked in. Seed was Pennington, Smart Seed Sun and Shade. Plenty of perennial rye. Not sure what will happen--it is 29 degrees today.

    I think it is likely the seed will germinate next April...about the 8th...which would be about a week before greenup in Michigan, 3 weeks before the normal first mowing in my town, and about 5 weeks before the last frost in spring.

    I plan to treat one of the squares with Dimension crabgrass control to determine if it is possible to treat dormant seeded grass for crabgrass in the first year. Other ideas or tests are possible. Suggestions?

    Actually the squares are 16 inches wide--so--that they will exactly need 2 grams of crabgrass control, for ease of measurement.


  3. foreplease

    foreplease LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,062

    Good stuff, Riggle. Suggestion: could you (please) use GDDTracker for your ZIP code next Spring and correlate germination to accumulated GDD? This would make your findings portable from region to region and year to year within same regions. Only other factors would be moisture and day length?
  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    The concept behind Dormant Seeding it that with a Winter's supply of moisture in the ground, the seed will pop as soon as temps are correct for germination...

    Riggle, assuming that your dates are fairly close,,, WHEN do you plan to apply the Pre-M???
  5. foreplease

    foreplease LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,062

    Understood. I simply asked if he would use GDD to correlate when that occurs as it would then help others know when to expect it in other years and regions. The slight difference is I don't think the seed will pop as soon as temperatures are correct, rather it will be as soon as soil temperature has been warm enough for long enough.

    His results would only be valid for his seed variety on bare soil, but it would be a starting point.
  6. integrityman

    integrityman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,713

    Excellent posts Smallaxe and Riggle. I enjoy reading and applying your wealth of information.

    Im going to try some winter seeding. A lot of the oak leaves havent fallen yet. The temps in NW Ohio have started to plummet with the arctic fronts that recently came through. I will probably be putting down seed in December after I get the last of the oak leaves off the turf.

    Im a big fan of TTTF's and KBG blend varieties- mainly for residential properties.
  7. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,808

    Sure. I will try to get the GDD next year so you will know when to expect germination in any area of the country. The area is on the west side of my house semi-shady. Soil temperature was 28 yesterday. Air temp 25. Soil is "pimply" from freezing and thawing. I have not made definite plans as to when to apply crabgrass control...maybe when the tallest grass is at 4 inches. About the time when you would mow it for the first time. Perhaps about May first. Cold soil--cold weather--growth will be slow at first.
  8. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,808

    Actually last year, my first seed sprouted about May 2nd. Mainly perennial rye. And the growing degree days that had accumulated were 81. This was in the spring of 2013.

    So I guess I am being optimistic if I expect seed to germinate in the second week of April.
    On average, using base 50 degrees, about 50 Growing degree Days is reached sometime between April 1 and 9.

    Due to the influence of Lake Michigan we should be slightly warmer in the late fall and slightly cooler in the late spring...than nearby areas.
  9. americanlawn

    americanlawn LawnSite Fanatic
    from midwest
    Messages: 5,956

    I don't know about you guys, but I figure it is better to "get the seed in" during late fall rather than seeding in the spring. Every property also has different micro climates, and the sun does remarkable things regarding the warming of the soil. Anybody else ever dormant seed in December? We have, and it turned out great the following spring. Then there's Mother Nature >> might be 10 below or 50 degrees in December.
  10. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    I've had seed that didn't germinate until after Memorial Weekend, but that was planted in the Spring...
    No such thing as a typical Spring around here although I've only seen 1 early Spring drought in which the ground was already dusty a corn planting time... :)

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