Watering

Cool season grasses like Kentucky Bluegrass, Fescue & Rye
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rtdad
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Watering

Post by rtdad » Thu Aug 15, 2019 10:13 am

Watering frequently after over seeding can be life-consuming for those of us without irrigation. Sprinklers, hand watering, continuously keeping the seed moist.

Must one continue frequent watering until germination?
I'm currently watering almost every 2 hours.
Whats the schedule like from here?

Thanks! :thumbup:

saidtheblueknight
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Re: Watering

Post by saidtheblueknight » Thu Aug 15, 2019 10:19 am

It's best to do it up until 15-20 days...but every 2 hours seems excessive, but the norm for seeding in early August. In Mass it's going to be 90+ for several days, so you would have been better off waiting a few weeks.
Last edited by saidtheblueknight on Thu Aug 15, 2019 10:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

Khy
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Re: Watering

Post by Khy » Thu Aug 15, 2019 10:23 am

If you let the seed dry out, you'll kill a lot of it. An average bag of fescue is like 85-90% germination if you keep letting it get wet, dry out, get wet, dry out over and over again, you're going to drop that germination rate down substantially.

So yeah, you're going to want to keep up the watering every few hours to keep that seed moist (not wet). As you get into September and temps cool and most of the seed has begun to germinate then you can start to scale back the watering. But with the heat we've bene having in the NE you're going to be keeping up with the watering.

And, I hope this goes without saying but just in case... you really shouldn't have to worry about watering it after like 6pm. By then the sun is setting and once night hits the seed isn't going to dry out overnight. Especially not that we're now in morning dew season. Normally my water schedule during an over seed is like 10am -> 6pm at 2 hour intervals if temps were above 80 and I went to more like 2.5-3 hours if we were in the 70s.

Thick n Dense
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Re: Watering

Post by Thick n Dense » Thu Aug 15, 2019 12:16 pm

Utilize Soil Moist directly on seeds and peat moss.

Germination in 6 days last year...

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ryeguy
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Re: Watering

Post by ryeguy » Thu Aug 15, 2019 1:09 pm

Every 2 hours is too often, try every 3-4. Top dressing with peat moss will help germination, help moisture retention, and give you a visual indicator of when it is dry (since it turns a darker color when moist). Consider getting a sprinkler timer to automate watering, it attaches to your hose and can be programmed.

I successfully germinated seed last year by watering at 8am, 12pm, 4pm, 10:30pm. Some people only water 2-3 times a day and have success.

rtdad
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Re: Watering

Post by rtdad » Thu Aug 15, 2019 4:22 pm

ryeguy wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 1:09 pm
Every 2 hours is too often, try every 3-4. Top dressing with peat moss will help germination, help moisture retention, and give you a visual indicator of when it is dry (since it turns a darker color when moist). Consider getting a sprinkler timer to automate watering, it attaches to your hose and can be programmed.

I successfully germinated seed last year by watering at 8am, 12pm, 4pm, 10:30pm. Some people only water 2-3 times a day and have success.


But it has been drying out after 2hrs in direct sunlight with these summer temps.. The goal is to keep the seed moist all day, no?

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ryeguy
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Re: Watering

Post by ryeguy » Thu Aug 15, 2019 11:52 pm

That is the goal, but it seems there is some wiggle room. Either grass seed takes longer to dry out than people think (maybe it's dry to the touch but holding water internally?) or grass seed actually can dry out to some degree before dying off. Like I said, most people aren't watering every 2 hours and are still having success, so there has to be more to it than that.

Khy
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Re: Watering

Post by Khy » Fri Aug 16, 2019 7:16 am

ryeguy wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 11:52 pm
That is the goal, but it seems there is some wiggle room. Either grass seed takes longer to dry out than people think (maybe it's dry to the touch but holding water internally?) or grass seed actually can dry out to some degree before dying off. Like I said, most people aren't watering every 2 hours and are still having success, so there has to be more to it than that.
Sure, you can definitely 'push' the limits. At the end of the day, plenty of people grow grass without any irrigation at all just relying on the one or two days of a week where they get rain and they still get germination. That said, those are also the same people who go online and post a one star review saying:
This seed sucked, it grew in super patchy and then most of the new grass died off shortly after that!
It's one of those things where there is a best practice and a minimum requirement. Best practice would be to water 5-6 minutes every 2 hours when there's direct sun to keep the seed from ever drying out. That is going to give you the best rate of germination. The minimum recommendation would be every 3-4 hours at 5-10 minutes and the bare minimum would be try to get water on it once a day for 10-15 minutes. And then there's the "hope nature helps me out and is a bro!" method.

This also adds to what you 'need' when you're doing a reno/overseed etc. if you know you have no source of irrigation and you're seeding a large area so it's not even possible to hand water the area so you're simply relying on weather? You might want to use a seed coating or use something like peat moss. Where as if you know you can water every 3-4 hours you may be able to get away without anything like that and instead just simply raking the ground lightly to get the seed slightly under some soil. And even further if you know you have a programmable timer that you can just hit it every 2 hours with a light spritz, you may not even have to rake, you might just be able to leave it on top of the soil and just let nature do it's thing and be fine as the constant moisture will allow the top layer to be loose enough that the seed can find it's way down that couple mm's into the soil on it's own.

Do you have to water every 2 hours? No, is it best practice if it's 85-90 and sunny out? Yes.
Last edited by Khy on Fri Aug 16, 2019 7:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

rtdad
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Re: Watering

Post by rtdad » Fri Aug 16, 2019 8:28 am

Thanks for the feedback!

This weekend I'm working and temps are going to be high 80s / low 90s up here with no rain so the wife is my loyal backup...

Goal is to water at:
8am
11am
2pm
5pm

Which I should be able to take care of 2 of these. Fingers crossed!

After 2 - 3 weeks I think it's a good idea to cut back to twice a day, except I'll probably spot seed at this point.

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