Wet Spring Making Reseeded Yards Germinate Slower...

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by Rick13, Jun 12, 2013.

  1. Rick13

    Rick13 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 408

    This wet Spring in Northern IL is making reseeding yards germinate slower than normal....we haven't had much sun at all this month or last month. A lot of rainy days and a ton of clouds. Temps in 55 to 74 degrees with no sun. The Bluegrass usually takes a little more than 3 weeks to germinate....and it seems a lot longer this year because the lack of sun.

    The weather is going to get better next week.....a lot of sun....and not as much rain!!!

    I'm thinking of spreading some Milorganite fertilizer to help speed up the germination rate.

    Anyone else having slower germination times this Spring????
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Actually the abundant rains help to increase germination more than the sun does... How would Milorganite,,, or anything else for that matter,,, speed germination???
    I would look to the SEEDBED if I suspectted things are not going according to schedule... What is your seedbed composed of? and how was it prepared?,,, are the 2 critical questions that we must ask ourselves, if we are to ever advance our success rate...

    Seed buried in the top 1/4" of loose, airy topsoil is the ideal seedbed... how far is your prep work off that standard???
  3. Rick13

    Rick13 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 408

    The Milorganite would help as a starter fertilizer.

    The seed was at 1/4" deep. Not sure if the customer has been watering since we've had a lot of rain.

    I'm going out there today to take a look. And then I will send them pictures of their yard before I did the work.

    The customer had a larger lawn care company mess up his yard the last two years and this Spring it looked pretty bad. They were charging the customer over $125.00 per application....and these were their results.

    THIS PICTURE IS BEFORE I RESEEDED THEIR YARD. I will post a picture of after the work later today or tonight.

    2013-05-07 09.11.59 SMALL.jpg
  4. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,794

    Bluegrass is just slow--worse yet--the low temps--it would be faster at 85 degrees. Bluegrass is best used as sod--unless you have control of irrigation. And no doubt your customer did not water on days when it did not rain. It looks to me like he did not water last year. Probably all that you can see out there, is perennial ryegrass. For best results...sell a spring seeding together with a fall seeding. Slit seeder penetrates the thatch. Take precautions so you get paid--take the check on the spot if you can.

    Perhaps this is a good spot for tall fescue sod--if not there already. Tall fescue of the lateral spread type (Titanium LS) mixed with 10 percent bluegrass would give it the ability to repair itself after a hot spell. It is difficult to get new seed to germinate on top of old thick thatch--what type of soil preparation did you use? Did you omit crabgrass control?
    What seed mixture?
    Bluegrass is just so slow...

    I don't think fert has much to do with germination of seed...just stimulates growth afterwards.
  5. Rick13

    Rick13 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 408

    Here are the pictures today 6-13-2013. It's been about 5 weeks.

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  6. Rick13

    Rick13 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 408

    And Here's Before on 5-07-2013

    I'm glad that I took pictures of the yard "Before" I started to work in this yard.

    Is the yard "perfect"....no. But it takes time and the yard is going in the right direction now.

    Come Fall, I will have to spot seed a few leftover spots in their yard.....but it's a huge improvement to where their yard was from the last large lawn care company.

    2013-05-07 09.10.44small.jpg

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  7. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Looks much better alright... :)

    A point of clarification though,,, the term 'Starter Fertilizer' refers to its content of P to supposedly help get the seedlings off to a good start... it does nothing for germination itself... germination relies only on water, temp, air and sometimes light... grass seed is one of those species that utilize light as a trigger,,, I believe...
  8. Rick13

    Rick13 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 408

    Thanks Smallaxe!

    Once the customer same their "Before and Now" pictures....they were sorry for calling me out to take a look at their yard.

    This Spring we haven't had too many sunny days, and I think next week will help their yard.

    I explained to them that who knows how "hot and or dry" this Summer will be...and their yard might go dormant during the Summer. But come Fall time, their yard will come back to life, and their I might need to Spot Seed a few areas. Then next Spring we will really be able to see how well their reseeding with organic compost job turned out. It takes about a year to see the full results with going organic.

    They said they understand....but like most people...they demand results right away....or they think it must not be working.

    Well I told them that I would be back in the Fall to core aerate and Milorganite their yard again. Then spot seed if needed.

    So its a wait and see....but I'm sure they will call me in another week or two wanting me to come out and look at their yard again. :hammerhead:
  9. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    You are going organic and reseeded with compost... good job so far and getting the grass to fill in before the weeds was indeed fortunate... spot seeding in the Fall(August) has become a regular plan for me then again in areas still not excellent,,, get a spot dormant seeding...
    Dormant seeding doesn't require any cover or bed prep...
  10. Rick13

    Rick13 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 408

    My Plan of Attack for this Fall in My Bare Spot would be as followed:

    1. Scratch up the surface ground area about 3 inches deep with a small rake (the type with 3 fingers)....just trying to loosen up the soil a bit.

    2. Place Organic Compost in bare spot and mix current loosen soil with new organic compost together.

    3. Then Hand spread seed over bare spot.

    3. Rake seed and ground/organic compost soil together to buried seed into the ground.

    4. Take a shovel of organic compost and spread over the bare spot area. Covering any leftover seed that might be exposed.

    4. Then wet down the area....giving the bare spot a good soaking.

    It sounds like a lot of work....but it would go really quick...and I don't mind doing a little more work for better results.

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