No Fescue Germination after 10 days

AxbourneMarch 18, 2013

Last Saturday on March 8, I used a seeder to seed my front lawn with Vigoro RTF tall Fescue. I used 20 lbs on
5400 sqft. I covered any bare areas with peat moss and began watering 3 times a day for 15-20 minutes at a time. I have not seen any germination now going on 10 days.

I am wondering if I did anything wrong or if its just too cold. Our daytime temps are between 50 and 65 with nighttime temps being 30-40. I also over seeded late last fall and didn't see any germination, but I chalked it up to seeding to late as there was frost the next week. (I just moved into my house and it was the only time I had.)

There is no weedkiller of any kind on my lawn and I mowed to the Lowest setting before seeding. I also aerated last fall.

If the temps are still too cold will the seed wait until it warms up even if I am watering or have I done something wrong?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tiemco

Sounds like it's a bit too cool to see normal germination times, or any germination for that matter. Seeds will only germinate when the temps allow it. Your seed will germinate when it gets warmer. I suspect this is what happened to you last year as well. Some of those seeds might actually germinate this spring as long as the process wasn't started last year.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 12:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Axbourne

Thanks for the quick reply, I thought this might be the problem. I checked with my extension office for the best time to seed and they said it was now. I thought cool season grass would germinate and grow before weeds would but maybe I was wrong.

Should I continue to mow or wait until after the seeds germinate?

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 1:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tiemco

The best time to seed in North Carolina is fall, always. Maybe historically this is the best time to seed in spring, but it sounds like the weather has been below average for your area. Never underestimate the ability of weeds to germinate and grow.

Mowing might move the seeds around in weird patterns, and if you bag you run the risk of sucking up a lot of seed.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 3:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
krnuttle

If you look at the average temperature profile for North Carolina, especially in the east, The temperature has been running significantly below normal. The figure I heard was 10 degrees below normal.

I suspect the county agent was talking in generalities not specific for this year.

I planted Scotts Southern Blend of tall Fescue in early September. It took a good 10 days for it to Germinate and it was considerably warmer that it has been this last week.

You know global warming and all that.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 6:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
bgtimber75

For us in MD at least I think we're trending 10 full degrees below last years temps for March.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 9:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Axbourne

yes it has been very cold, I checked the Weather and waited for a streak of temps in the 60's. We hit 10-15 days in the in the mid 50's-low 60's. However at night it would drop to 25-35. I was not sure what the night temperature needed to be so I planted thinking it would be better to be safe than sorry.

Honestly, I have read so much about how fescue will die in the summer if you plant it in the spring, but I had no choice this year.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 8:50AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
auteck

You can't look at air temperatures only, soil temperatures as just as important. I checked the soil temperatures this morning and we're in the low 30's on the Western part of the state, low 40's Central, and upper 40's on the East.

Those soil temperatures are way too cold for seed to germinate, you need 55 min - which is when crabgrass germinates as well.

April is usually favorable for Spring seeding in Central NC. The seed you put down is not dead, it will germinate once the soil warms up.

Be prepare to water a lot during the Summer and use fungicides (at least 3 times 30 days apart) in order to avoid fungal diseases.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 11:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Axbourne

auteck, thanks for the post, I was afraid of that. Should I continue to water it or wait for the soil to warm up? we are getting another cold front as I type this.

Also I had a patch of weeds that I raked and pulled up by hand. I can see clover starting to come up where it is. Should i continue to rake and pull it up or let the seed germinate?

Lastly, where did you check the soil temps at? I cant seem to find a site that tells me.

Thanks.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 9:41AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Axbourne

auteck, thanks for the post, I was afraid of that. Should I continue to water it or wait for the soil to warm up? we are getting another cold front as I type this.

Also I had a patch of weeds that I raked and pulled up by hand. I can see clover starting to come up where it is. Should i continue to rake and pull it up or let the seed germinate?

Lastly, where did you check the soil temps at? I cant seem to find a site that tells me.

Thanks.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 9:44AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
krnuttle

auteck

Can I use my volt/ohm meter with a temperature probe to measure the soil temperature.

Stick the probe into the soil wait a couple minutes until the temperature stabilizes and take a reading

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 1:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
auteck

Don't have much time to respond right now, but I'll post the link to the website for the soil temperatures below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Soil Temperature for NC

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 9:28AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jmilazzo1983(7)

Glad to hear someone else is in the same boat. We planted a fescue blend that same weekend and nothing so far (in Raleigh NC). We were starting from scratch with a bare yard: limed, fertilized, tilled & leveled and added peat moss before planting the seed. We still have nothing, except for a little bit of clover. Read its much better to plant in the fall, but we bought our house last fall and it was too late to plant that year.

We were wondering if we needed to reseed? Did this cold spell kill everything, or is it just waiting for warmer weather? Having a big family reunion in our backyard April 13th. Was hoping for a nice lawn before that, but looks like that isn't happening!

I can't believe these temps...wasn't it in the 80s last March?!

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 9:49AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
auteck

Last March was exceptionally warm in most of the US and NC was no exception. Way above normal average temperatures so you can use that as a reference for planting grass.

Temperatures this year even though are below normal at times, are much closer to an average early Spring - this should be your reference.

Your seed isn't dead because of the recent cold spell, it will germinate once the air and soil temperatures warm up (mid to upper 50's min).

You will not have a nice stand of grass by April, you'll have to wait until the end of May beginning of June. Then be prepare to water your lawn and apply fungicides for the rest of the summer or your new lawn will die.

In your case, the best would have been to use Perennial Ryegrass instead of Fescue.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 2:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jmilazzo1983(7)

Thanks Auteck (sorry Axbourne didn't mean to steal your thread!). Would you suggest we lay some PRG seed down along with the Fescue at this point? Or is hoping for grass mid April a lost cause and we just need to wait it out until May/June?

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 2:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
gsweater

Hang in there. I planted my TTTF (Spyder LS, Titanium LS, and Firecracker LS) the same weekend and I see shoots of green this morning! It has been anywhere from high 40s to high 50s for the last couple weeks and some nights in the 30s. Honestly surprised it came up when it did.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2013 at 1:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jpbova

I'm in Raleigh and I'm right with you. I planted last weekend.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2013 at 2:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
auteck

It is a lost cause at this point. PRG needs the same soil and air temperatures to germinate, but once those are reached, it will germinate and get established faster than any other grass. The problem right now is the air temperatures, it is still too cold for seed to germinate.

Nice lawn by mid April around here needs to be planted in the Fall as you know.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 10:11AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Axbourne

auteck,

I overseeded late last fall, as soon as i bought my house. However I did not see any germination and there was frost 2 weeks after seeding.

I have heard of dormant seeding. Do you think there is any chance the grass was establishing roots but not growing a blade? Also will that seed be better off than what I seeded this spring?

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 3:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
turfboy

Sounds like you need to wait a little like others said. As for the watering, only water in the am. By watering during the day and at night you are promoting disease. You do not want water to be on the plant for long periods of time. Those seedlings don't need to be battling disease.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 4:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
auteck

Dormant seeding can work very well if timed properly. Best done in the Fall after air and soil temperatures are too cold for seed to germinate, then some time in late Winter to very early Spring, the seeds will germinate without you having to water everyday. They still need moisture, so either by mother nature or by irrigation.

Dormant seeding sometimes is the only way to get grass to germinate and grow in areas with no irrigation, or where you know customers are not going to water the seeds at all.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 8:50AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Re-seeding tall fescue in winter
My tall fescue lawn has become really sparse. So I'm...
LeonidasBigalowIV
What order do I restore my lawn?
I live in the CA Bay Area and have a fescue lawn. ...
Brent Villalobos
Some suggested low maintenance grasses
Zone 5B, S.W. Nebraska Hot summers, typically dry....
deviantnic
I need lawn renovation help in Zone 7/8
I want to renovate my 24,000 sq ft lawn. The problem...
tless195
What type of grass grows best is very shady areas in South East Texas?
I live in South East Texas and have many trees and...
dcloteaux1350
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™