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Winter seed and pre-germination

RigglePLC

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Grand Rapids MI
I pre-germinated some generic turf type tall fescue and annual rye. I added the seed to a bucket of water.
After 24 hours the seed was strained through cheese cloth to remove the water and was laid out to dry.
Samples were planted on October 26, along with non-pregerminated seed as an untreated control. Temperature was 45 F.
Small plots will be seeded in the coming winter months, for comparison.
True, this is almost the same as previous experiments in years past. I had extra time.
 

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KerbDMK

LawnSite Bronze Member
Location
Minneapolis, MN
Okay, I’m being a little bit picky here, but only to open up the possibility of more experimentation. I believe “pre-germinating” means soaking for several days until the seed casings begin to crack and gemination is actually beginning. This experiment sounds more like a “pre-soaking” experiment which is a good experiment in itself, but experimentation could also include any amount of the number of days of soaking to germination.

This quick little article describes using an air pump for oxygenation during longer periods of soaking. I’m sure there are many other articles on the subject. I look forward to seeing your results.

https://www.hunker.com/12318636/how-to-pre-germinate-grass-seed
 
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RigglePLC

RigglePLC

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Grand Rapids MI
Good idea. I did not have an air pump--nor did I change the water--this time.
Rain and about 45 F here. Seed for future tests is slowly drying out, looks like it will need 48 hours to dry in my basement, at about 65 degrees.
Here is a discussion and test from years ago.
 

KerbDMK

LawnSite Bronze Member
Location
Minneapolis, MN
As mentioned in the linked thread, hydroseeding would be a great application for this, but the scale of the operation might be ridiculously large. I like the idea of mixing pre-soaked seed with peat moss to facilitate drying and spreading of the seed, but could you use a conventional spreader? I’ve heard that some homeowners have tried pre-germinating on renovations. Even that seems like it would be a rather large project to me.
 
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RigglePLC

RigglePLC

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Grand Rapids MI
As a pre-germination method--I have heard that hydroseeders sometimes soak the seed overnight in the big main tank--sometimes with mild agitation or air bubbling through the solution. Warm water if cool conditions or cold soil temps persist outdoors.
Sometimes with secret additives or surfactants.
 
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RigglePLC

RigglePLC

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Grand Rapids MI
After two days annual ryegrass that was pre-germinated (soaked over night, then dried), sprouted. Twenty seeds were planted in potting soil indoors. Pictures here:

After four days indoors the non-pre-germinated annual rye sprouted. The tallest sprout reached a height of one-half inch.
It appears then, that pre-soaking the seed 24 hours speeds up the germination in the soil by about two days. Germination occurred in two days, not four days.

The outdoor test was sown on October 26. I did not bother to dry the seed--a teaspoon was just planted wet, by hand. Outdoor test weather was about 60 F during the day an 40's at night.

So far there has been no germination from the tall fescue--neither untreated control nor pre-germinated, (pre-soaked), neither indoors or out.
 
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RigglePLC

RigglePLC

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Grand Rapids MI
Five days after the seed was sown in potting soil indoors, the tallest sprout of pre-soaked annual rye was about 3.5 inches tall. UTC (untreated) annual rye was about 3 inches tall. Both treatments had a germination rate of about 65 percent.
The tallest sprout of pre-soaked tall fescue was about a half-inch tall. The UTC (untreated) tall fescue was barely visible at less than a quarter-inch.
 
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RigglePLC

RigglePLC

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Grand Rapids MI
After 9 days the pre-soaked annual rye planted indoors was about 6.5 inches tall as the maximum. With the UTC non-soaked annual rye the tallest blade reached about 6 inches.
With the tall fescue, both the pre-soaked and untreated reached about 3 inches tall as a maximum. Pre-soaked germinated first.
Both seed types had about 65 percent germination.
After the rapid germination--the new grass placed near a window--did not have enough light for good growth.
Germination in 48 hours as with the annual rye, would probably result in greater customer satisfaction. This, if included as a percentage with your regular seed mixture.
The technique is to--add seed to water for 24 hours. Filter out water and dry on a window screen. The dried seed can be retained for a few months. Add to your mixture as needed.

If you do not want to take the extra step of drying the seed to make it spreadable--you can scoop the liquid seed suspension out of a bucket and throw it on the soil.
Maybe someone has devised an efficient method to apply the pre-germinated seed without drying it first.
 
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KerbDMK

LawnSite Bronze Member
Location
Minneapolis, MN
That was an interesting experiment. Can you please provide us with a link to your source of this information:
The dried seed can be retained for a few months.
Here's a link to a very recent article on the subject of pre-germination of KBG and PRG that you may be interested in reading.


Thanks in advance.
 
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