Seed Smarter: Tips for a Successful Spring Seeding Project
Posted by Ben Pease, PhD on April 05, 2022
Whether seeding or overseeding this spring, many factors can impact the success of your projects. From site prep to irrigation, we’ve organized our top tips to help ensure a strong start.
Seeding versus Overseeding
Seeding typically refers to the establishment of new turfgrass on a site.
Overseeding refers to the broadcast application of cool-season seed over an existing area of cool-season turfgrass to improve stress tolerance and introduce new genetic material.
Top Tips for Spring Seeding
When establishing new turfgrass areas, site preparation is key for good seed-to-soil contact. Proper tilling and grading will ensure correct soil structure and drainage, allowing for effective growth of new seedlings. Site preparation for overseeding is minimal; confirm that pre-emergent herbicides have not been recently applied and perform an aerification to improve seed-to-soil contact.
A soil test should be utilized to determine nutrient needs of the site. Especially important is the use of a starter fertilizer containing phosphorus, which promotes root growth. This is true for both traditional seeding and overseeding.
With high phosphorus content and both quick and slow-release nitrogen, our 18-24-12 fertilizer is built to promote vigorous seedling establishment and root development.
Don’t forget about your soil. Carbon is just as essential as NPK for soil and plant health and including humate-based (carbon) products at seeding helps to build healthy soil, stimulate roots, and boost new seedling growth.
Humic DG™ CharX™
Containing a 50/50 blend of humic acid and biochar, carbon-rich Humic DG CharX builds healthy soil, stimulates roots, and boosts new seedling growth.
Proper weed control at seeding gives the desired turfgrass seedlings an advantage during the establishment timeframe. A starter fertilizer + herbicide combination will control broadleaf and grassy weeds during establishment of cool-season turfgrasses (except bentgrasses), which is important even during a fall seeding or overseeding.
21-22-4 Fertilizer with Mesotrione
21-22-4 Fertilizer with Mesotrione controls select grassy and broadleaf weeds while providing a high-quality starter fertilizer to promote seedling germination and rapid establishment.
Consistent irrigation and soil moisture management are important in all seeding situations. Once hydrated, seeds need continual access to water for optimal establishment. Use of a programmable irrigation system or training the customer to irrigate the site multiple times per day is an essential step in a successful seeding project.
Post-germination care seals the deal. Continue irrigation but reduce the amount as time progresses. Additional nitrogen fertility applications are important at 2-3 weeks after seeding. Include phosphorus if your soil test indicated a further need. New seedings should be cut to their desired end height-of-cut, never removing more than 1/3 of the tissue, while mowing should be withheld from overseeded sites for 2-3 weeks after seeding.
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Ben Pease, PhD is the Agronomist for The Andersons Turf & Specialty business, responsible for research, service, and technical support. Ben received both his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Wisconsin, and earned his doctorate degree from Iowa State University. Ben has also served as the Assistant Superintendent for Cherokee Country Club (Madison, WI) and Whistling Straits Golf Courses (Sheboygan, WI). To contact Ben, click here.
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