8 days, and grass seed hasn't germinated yet

peter17319(6)October 14, 2008

I live in central PA. I overseeded my small lawn on Sunday, October 5th. Since then, I've been watering in the morning and early evening (5-10 minutes at a time), trying my best to keep it moist. But now, 8 days later, and there's no sign of germination. Am I screwed, or does it really take this long in October?

It's been cool at night, but it's been getting into the 60's and 70's during the day. I don't remember what the exact seed blend is, but it's a mix of Bluegrass, rye, and fescue. And the lawn has a mix of sunny and shady spots, but they're all acting the same.

Also -- does fertilizer have a major impact on grass seed germination, or does that not really come into play until the seed starts to grow? In other words, should I be fertilizing right now, or is it best to wait?

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Rye will germinate in a few days, fescue in a week or two and KBG in 3 weeks if conditions are optimal.

You put seed down when it has started to cool, so the rye will probably not germinate for a week or so, the fescue for 2 weeks or so, and the KBG is probably going to have conditions just close enough to good that it will try to germinate but die.

For best results, you want to seed 6 weeks before your average first frost date. If you miss that, your options are dormant seeding (waiting until it is too cold for seeds to germinate before spreading them) or spring seeding.

In answer to your question, sorry, but I think you timed it wrong.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2008 at 2:17AM
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Eight days, and a month too late to plant and you want to see grass growing? Wish you were right for your sake but it ain't going to happen. I live in western Pa., Pittsburgh and the very best day of the year to plant grass is Sept 15 and not much later. At this time watch what nature is doing with anything that grows. Dropping seeds at this time. If you were getting any grass growth in this short a time it would be worthless and not last one season. If you planted KBG it won't make a concerted effort to grow for 28 to 30 days.BTW BPgreen, your being a little optimistic with your germination dates don't you think? Don't think I am being arguementative with you but I am just disagreeing. Those grass seeds you mentioned will grow quickly but not that quick and is the reason I say they would be worthless even if they grew. One way to tell a little about how fast a seed will germinate is by the size of the seed, if your inexperienced and don't know how to tell, look at the size of the seed and if possible compare them to a KBG seed.The bigger the seed the worse the grass will be, smaller the seed the longer it takes to germinate but the better the lawn will be. Peter be patient and if you planted a good seed like KBG it won't come up now this year but it will be up and running next spring soon as the night time temps stay above 50 degrees.If you planted some cheap box store rye grass you would be better off if it doesn't come up. If you want a nice lawn next summer overseed heavy or as much as you can afford right now. Won't come up now but will in the spring. Winter won't affect the seed a bit and you won't lose a seed.No need to water any longer this fall. Come next spring overseed again and fertilize and you will have a great lawn in a couple more seasons. Grass seed has enough energy to take care of itself till it sprouts and grows a bit but then you need to fertilize. Untill you develop a fine turf fertilizeing is the best thing that can happen to your lawn Ask any guy who grows grass on a sod farm how often they fertilize. He will tell you every 2 weeks. You should too untill you develop a fine turf, like bpgreen has, I saw it, then you need to develop a permanent fertilization schedule which will cut down on how often you fertilize. Good luck. Lawndivot12

    Bookmark   October 15, 2008 at 7:00PM
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On numerous occasions, I have seen city crews seed in October--not because it was ideal but because that's when road projects were completed. I didn't think it were possible that success could be had but time and again, some green was to be had by November, apparently strong enough to survive winter--and by end of spring the following year, look quite respectable.

No, October seedings are far from ideal, but you can still get some success.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2008 at 7:27PM
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you're completly S.O.L. with those seeds....just kidding, I'd guess you won't see much this fall, but you'll see some growth next april/may.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2008 at 9:03PM
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There are a lot of conditions that can effect germination time. The temps you mentioned are ideal for germination. I was late this fall too and overseeded fine fescue and bluegrass mixture at the end of Sept. I topdressed some of the seed I planted in compost and it germinated in 6 days. The part of the yard I just used straw took a few extra days and didn't come in nearly as uniform. My thought is that the compost holds the right amount of moisture next to the seed compared to straw. I should also mentioned I freeze primed my seed, not sure if that helped any. Hope temps hold for you. Good luck...

    Bookmark   October 15, 2008 at 11:27PM
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"BTW BPgreen, your being a little optimistic with your germination dates don't you think?"

No. The germination times I listed are based on many different guides I've read. The times I've seen are highly uniform and are what I repeated.

8 days is probably too short to expect a lot of germination, especially this late in the year, but if there is a lot of rye in the mix, it could happen. If there's a lot of KBG, I wouldn't expect significant germination until at least 2-3 weeks.

I don't think I buy into the theory about seed size determining germination time. Grama seeds are so small, they're like dust, and they germinated in less than a week. Wheatgrass seeds are appropriately named (they're the size of wheat) and usually take at least 3-4 weeks to germinate. I had faster germination this year because I soaked them, but they still took longer than the grama.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2008 at 1:31AM
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Don't think I said seed size determmines germination time. I said something like this. If your not experienced about seeds you can usually tell good grass because the seeds are small. Larger seeds are usually not the most desireable grasses. Also I never said he wouldn't get any germination, just not what he would like to get depending on the time of year and the weather. You were close on the germination times for the grasses but I factor in the weather etc and he will be disappointed. Our first expected frost is October 21st every year and we already had a few frosts so far. Not the best conditions for seed germination no matter what the day time weather is like. Nighttime temps are what counts.The seed company's give you optimistic germination times to sell seeds, they will be right if everything is ideal. The guy that he said the road crews he sees seeding in October with success, he never said where he saw this, like in what state or zone. You are in Florida or Arizona aren't you BP? You guys can still seed, this gentleman is in central Pa and I am in western Pa and I am here to tell you it is too late to plant grass here with much success.I make a living doing this. Didn't want to say that but couldn't resist. Thanks guys. Lawndivot

    Bookmark   October 16, 2008 at 2:24AM
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gryd(Trumbull, CT Z6)

I've seeded here in Connecticut with good success in early October. I think Peter will be okay for the most part. I agree he should have started earlier but I wouldn't count out his seeding project just yet.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2008 at 5:04AM
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"Don't think I said seed size determmines germination time. "

Maybe I misinterpreted this:

"One way to tell a little about how fast a seed will germinate is by the size of the seed"

"I factor in the weather etc and he will be disappointed."

If you reread my post, you'll see that I said those times are for ideal conditions. I then said that the seeds went down after it had started to cool so only the rye and fescue would have a chance.

"You are in Florida or Arizona aren't you BP? You guys can still seed"

Nope. Utah. We've already had snow. Long past time to safely seed except for dormant seeding. We've got a very short window for fall seeding. It was in the upper 90s at the end of August and it snowed in early October. I managed to get pretty good germination from my wheatgrass, but I soaked it first to speed things up.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2008 at 11:14AM
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rcnaylor(z7 Tex)

Of course, all prognostications above are based on weather norms. Mother Nature can throw curves both early and late. Its down. Might be lucky year for late plantings.

So, my advice: treat it like it is going to do great and hope for the best until and unless the weather proves otherwise. It might be a waste of additional time and resources, but, you never know until you know when it comes to the weather.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2008 at 11:49AM
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mikeg75(6b SE PA (South Phila))

Anyone know how I'd fare with more Tall Fescue overseeding on some bare spots that didn't take in my first/second overseedings. I'm 5 blocks from the Delaware river in S. Philly and it's still pretty warm here. I looked at the farmer's almanac website and they predict higher than normal temps for the next five weeks, and then colder than normal starting in Dec. I'm new to this area and don't know how soon the first frost will be.

Here is a link that might be useful: Farmer's Almanac Web Site (weather forecast)

    Bookmark   October 25, 2008 at 3:02PM
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Tall fescue germinates relatively quickly, so it might make it. But if you've seeded twice and the grass isn't growing there, you might want to make sure there isn't something wrong with those areas before seeding again.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2008 at 3:08PM
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mikeg75(6b SE PA (South Phila))

Thanks for the quick follow up! I'm going to try to get it down before it rains again this evening.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2008 at 3:20PM
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turf_toes(SE Pennsylvania KBG)

Dude, I live in PA too. As far south as you can go without going into Maryland. You are WAY too late to expect to get much germination now.

Some of your rye may come up. But you're not going to get much of the other stuff to germinate this year. Some of the seed will probably survive the winter. So make sure you don't use a pre-emergent in the spring (or use Scotts Step 1 fertilizer which has a pre-emergent.)

    Bookmark   October 25, 2008 at 7:52PM
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Turf toes
Thank you Turf Toes. The gentleman from Connecticut who said he has had success seeding in early October doesn't mention what early is and he never mentioned that he already experienced a frost for the fall season. This poster planted too late and already had a frost. He isn't going to lose the seed but he will need to wait till next spring as long as he listens to the gentleman who, wisely said don't use a pre emergent. Lawndivot 12

    Bookmark   November 1, 2008 at 1:51AM
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rcnaylor(z7 Tex)

So, Peter, by now you should pretty much know what kind of germ you got.

What's the word?

    Bookmark   November 1, 2008 at 7:29AM
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mikeg75(6b SE PA (South Phila))

1 relatively warm week has passed since my last patch seed job with Scotts Tall Fescue patch repair and no germination as of yet. I'm watching eagerly hoping to fill in the remaining bare areas. I will report back in 1 week.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2008 at 5:33PM
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mikeg75(6b SE PA (South Phila))

So I planted Scott's Tall Fescue patch master on Mon. 10/27/08 and 13 days later, 11/9/08, I'm seeing lots of germination. We've had a nice warm stretch and lots of light rain. Here are two pics from this morning:

    Bookmark   November 9, 2008 at 10:17AM
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