How long does it take for grass seed to germinate
FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
What is endophyte?
- Depending on mixture, you should expect initial growth for most varieties to begin in 7 days provided adequate moisture is available, soil is warm enough and conditions allow for germination.
- Kentucky Bluegrass will take up to 30 days to germinate.
- The more ryegrass in the mix the faster the grass will establish.
- The more bluegrass in the mix the slower the grass will establish.
- First mowing should take place when the lawn is thick and the grass blades reach 3" in height.
Endophyte is a naturally occurring fungus that grows symbiotically in the grass plant. It produces compounds that prevent insects from feeding on the leaves and stems of the plant. Many Perennial Ryegrasses and Tall Fescues available commercially are high endophyte. The lawn seed package will usually state whether it contains any high endophyte species. Endophytic grasses are safe in lawns, however the grass clippings should not be fed to livestock, as it will make them sick. If you have a pet that occasionally feeds on grass that is fine. The problem only occurs with animals whose staple diet is grazing grass.
Should I seed or lay sod?
Before you start, you may question whether to use seed or sod. Both options have advantages, which need to be weighed.
Cost - Seeding a lawn is a fraction of the cost compared to sod.
Customization - Seeding allows you to use different blends for different areas on your property (sun, shade, etc.). Personal satisfaction is another factor. Seeing a lawn germinate from seed and fill into a lush stand of turf gives the same sense of accomplishment one feels from raising vegetables in a garden or preparing a spectacular meal from scratch.
It takes 8-12 weeks for a new lawn to fully establish. During this time you want little to no traffic on it. You'll also need to keep the ground moist through most of this period. It is also susceptible to invasion by weeds during this establishment time.
Sod is an instant lawn. One day bare ground, the next day a fully-grown lawn. It's hard to beat that. Most sod growers are experienced, professional turfgrass managers. They produce a high quality product and use improved varieties that aren't readily available in the retail market.
Cost is the biggest factor here. For many people, sod isn't in their budget.
When is the best time to seed?
Can I seed in the Spring?
- Best time to seed is late summer – early fall.
- The exact timing will vary from location to location and from year to year.
- The hot days of summer should be past before seeding.
- Fall seeding allows two establishment periods (fall and spring) before the grass must go through a hot, dry summer.
- Soil temperatures are warm to promote fast germination and the nights are cool.
- Increased morning dew helps keep seeds moist.
- Reduced pressure from competitive weeds.
Yes, apply seed in Spring when soil temperature reaches 15°C (60°F) - Ideally mid May to mid June. If you have spread grass seed in the early spring, it will not germinate until the soil temperature reaches about 15°C (about 59°F).
What can I do about weeds in my lawn?
The best defense against lawn weeds is a thick healthy lawn. If you choose to use a pest control product always read the label and follow all directions and precautions.
If weeds are a problem, dig them out by hand. Ensure you remove the entire root.
*Grass seed germination is not compatible with weed control products used on lawns. They cannot be applied within 6 weeks of each other. As a general rule - seed in the spring and weed in the fall or weed in the spring and seed in the fall.
What can I do about lawn insects?
Here is some information about the common lawn insect pests. The best defense against insect damage is a thick healthy lawn. If you choose to use a pest control product always read the label and follow all directions and precautions.
Grubs feed on the roots of the grass. Damage is identified as dead grass that can be lifted like a piece of carpet. Grub damage is usually first noticed in mid- to late August; damage will first occur in the sunniest, driest locations of the lawn and can spread very quickly during dry conditions. To check for grubs, cut and turn over a 1 ft square section of grass at the edge of a brown area. Grubs will be found within the top couple cm of soil. The grubs are milky white with a brown head and a darker tail. They will be curled up in a "C" shape and may be up to 1.7 cm (3/4 inch) long. 5 or more grubs in a square foot can cause damage to the lawn and treatment should be considered.
Chinch Bugs can cause severe damage to lawns. The Chinch Bug sucks the juices out of the blades of grass causing the lawn to turn yellowish brown, dry up and die. The damage will first be noticed in dry sunny areas and spread out in irregular patches. They attack the grass in mid to late summer usually during dry conditions. To check for Chinch Bugs, remove both ends of a large can and press it 3-5 cm into the ground at the edge of a brown patch. Fill the can with water and keep it filled for 10 minutes. Chinch Bugs will float to the surface. They are black to brown insects with white on their wings, approximately 3-5 mm (1/8 ") long. Grass seed varieties that contain endophyte can help reduce damage caused by Chinch Bugs.
Ants are more of a nuisance than a serious lawn pest. Anthills and their tunneling can damage your lawn by smothering the grass and drying out the soil. Ants in your lawn left unchecked will find their way into the house. Long-term control of ants can only be achieved by destroying the nests (ant-hills).
Sod Webworm, the larvae of Lawn Moths feed on the blades of grass, chewing them off at ground level. Damage will appear as irregular brown patches scattered in the driest area of the lawn. If left unchecked these patches become larger and the entire lawn can be destroyed. Dead grass will pull away in clumps. The larva are dirty white in colour with a dark brown head and rows of dark spots on their back. They live in silky tubes near the roots. The adults are small light coloured moths that fly up from the lawn in the evening when they are disturbed. Damage usually appears in late August and September. Grass seed varieties that contain endophyte can help reduce damage caused by Sod webworms.
The adult Crane Fly looks like a large mosquito. The larvae, called leatherjackets, feed on the grass in the fall and spring. The worst damage is done in March and April. By mid June leather jackets stop feeding and move deeper into the soil to pupate. Leatherjackets are found just under the surface of the soil. Cut and roll back the sod to check for leatherjackets. The regions hardest hit with leatherjacket damage are Southern ON, BC and Nova Scotia.
What is the best choice for erosion control?
On steep slopes, where erosion is likely to be a problem, select a ground cover that will root firmly to hold the soil in place. From the mid US to northern Canada, one of the best species for erosion control is crown vetch. It is best grown in sunny, well drained areas. It is very winter and drought hardy. It is also a legume like clover so it will fix its own nitrogen. Crown vetch blooms prolifically with pinkish purple flowers. Once established, the site will explode into colour each summer.
The main drawback to crown vetch is that it is very slow to establish. In the first year, you barely be able to see any. In the second year it will start to show. However once it is established, it will be very aggressive and over the next few years will likely colonize the entire area that you planted.
Because of its slow start, crown vetch is best seeded with a cover grass. A mix of ryegrass (perennial or annual) and creeping red fescue works well. These grasses will hold the ground while the vetch first establishes and then eventually takes over.
Think Green call Fairgreen Sod Farms at 905-640-9090, 10378 Hwy 48 Markham Ontario
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