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Grass seed germination

12 years ago

During the recent (2 weeks ago) warm spell, I decided to use Round Up to kill large areas of creeping bentgrass that were over taking my primarily KGB lawn. I waited 10 days to reseed after raking off the dead grass, adding lawn soil where necessary, and seeded with a high end perrenial rye and KGB blend. I covered the areas with a light coating of peat and have watered daily. Of course the weather took a cool turn with daytime temps between 48-55 but frequent cold nights. No sign of the rye germinating and I know the KGB needs warmer temps and more time, but I'm afraid nothing will happen because I used Scotts Step 1 for Seeding...the warm temps had my forsythia blooming and I was afraid I'd miss my opportunity to prevent crabgrass if I didn't do it then. Is it the cold nights or the crabgrass control that's preventing germination? The rest of the lawn looks great, so it's driving me nuts not to see any progress from the seed. Am I doomed to start over? Thanks!

Comments (6)

  • ZoysiaSod
    12 years ago

    Unfortunately, it sounds like the crabgrass preventer stopped your rye and bluegrass seeds from germinating like it stopped the crabgrass seeds from germinating.

    It's also possible the sudden turn to colder weather played a part. "1 Step" is an expensive product because, percentage-wise, you get much more mulch in the bottle than seed. Even at Walmart, "1 Step" works out to be roughly $20 per pound of seed, and the "EZ Seed" product is roughly $22 per pound of seed. The label on the bottle will show the percentage of seed contained in the bottle :-) If I recall correctly, you get far under a pound of seed in the 3 pound bottle of "1 Step." The same is true for the 3.75 pound bottle of "EZ Seed."

    Umm, you mentioned "Scotts 1 Step," but I think the "1 Step" product is from Pennington. "EZ Seed" is the name Scotts gives their product. Both products are loaded with mulch and, if I remember right, a little fertilizer (maybe it was 1 percent nitrogen). I guess their logic for charging extra is the "convenience" of the products--all in one.

    The two companies can be nasty about their advertising too. A week ago I saw on CNBC a tv commercial for Scotts "EZ Seed" that showed a homeowner using Pennington "1 Step" on his lawn. (The words "1 Step" were clearly visible on the bottle in this Scotts TV commercial). The homeowner's friend chastized him for using the product, saying the product was mostly [quote] "ground up paper." I'm not kidding. "Ground up paper" are the actual words used in the Scotts commercial to refer to the Pennington "1 Seed" product. It surprised me that the companies would be so mean to each other on national TV.

    Both these products must be high-margin products for their companies, hence the extreme competition. Good luck with your rye and bluegrass!

  • ZoysiaSod
    12 years ago

    You know I keep thinking about the mean commercial I saw. I guess it shouldn't surprise me because people can be unnecessarily mean to each other. We really haven't advanced far beyond the cave, I guess.

  • tiemco
    12 years ago

    The first thing you need to do is ignore ZoysiaSod's post. Scott's Step 1 for Seeding is starter fertilizer and Tupersan. Tupersan is a preemergent that doesn't affect turfgrass germination, so it's not the Step 1. I suspect the problem is related to the cooler temps, especially at night, we are experiencing in the Northeast (and especially where you live in Rochester). Turfgrass germination is dependant on soil temperature, generally you want it above 50, but 55 is a better threshold temperature. Even at the threshold temps turfgrass is slow to germinate. The early warm up we had caused a temporary soil temperature spike that caused the Forsythia to bloom, but if you were to actually take a soil temperature now you would probably find it to be much lower than it was during that March heat wave. Another problem that you might be having is your watering. Even though you are watering daily, humidity levels are very low, and once a day watering might not be enough to keep the seeds sufficiently moist. Most watering schedules for seeding require watering 2-4 times a day. The watering durations are short usually 5-10 minutes, enough to keep the seeds moist.

  • garycinchicago
    12 years ago

    >"but I'm afraid nothing will happen because I used Scotts Step 1 for Seeding."

    I'll talk about your question and not TV shows.

    I assume you mean Step One,'Starter Fertilizer for Seeding'.
    Take a close look at the bag's label. Look for Siduron (trade-name for Tupersan) as the active ingredient.

    If yes, then you are fine. Then you only need soil temperatures (not air) to be constant above 55 degrees and constant moisture for the seeds to germinate.

    FWIW - Tupersan only has a 30 day residual and only prevents a handful of troublesome weeds. 30 days puts you in the heart of crabgrass season. You will need to follow up with additional pre-emergence protection for the season. I've included a chart which shows when herbicides can safely be applied to new seeding.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Herbicide Delays after Seeding

  • ZoysiaSod
    12 years ago

    I stand corrected. Thanks Tiemco.

    I guess I was confused because Pennington sells a seed product called "1 Step," but thanks to our expert Tiemco, I now know Scotts sells a fertilizer and preemergent called "Step 1."

    "1 Step"
    "Step 1"

    Two very similarly named products from 2 different companies [chuckle].

    Here's a picture of the "1 Step" seeding bottle I thought the original poster was referring to:


    Clicking the bottle will take you to Pennington's site.

    The question about Pennington "1 Step" and Scotts "EZ Seed" often comes up here, so I hope describing the TV commercial I saw will help someone else here.

  • suesheldon
    Original Author
    12 years ago

    Thanks for your responses and for understanding that I hadn't planted a Soviet spy network...(KGB)KBG! Since the Step 1 Crabgrass Control isn't the culprit, I'm going to increase the watering frequency as suggested. Not going to break 50 degrees til the end of this week, so looking for a sign of green fuzz prior to that is probably futile. This project is now in the "watched pot never boils" category but on the plus side, there's no errant seed sprouting in the sidewalk cracks either...I've always been able to get grass to pop in 7-10 days so this has been really frustrating. The warm spell threw everything out of whack, including expectations that I'd have my "golf course" back to normal by April 9.