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Pasture Seeding

(post by Jason) In most temperate parts of the world we get two shots at overseeding or reseeding pastures, spring and fall. Of the two I much prefer springtime. The truth about grass seed is that until it germinates and starts to grow unless it is completely underwater it is almost impossible to put too much water on it. In this part of the world adequate water trumps ideal temperature for grass seed germination every single time. Spring time soils typically vary between wet and moist. Around here they are almost never dry. Cool season grasses prefer cool, continually moist (not wet, moist) conditions and warm season grasses prefer warm, continually moist conditions for excellent germination. We get weeks and months of these sorts of conditions in the spring and because of this spring is a very forgiving time to try and grow grass.

Unfortunately we often need to re-establish some plots of cool season grass in the fall. Fall typically presents conditions that are far from ideal in terms of establishing grass seed. Soils tend to be hot and very dry until well into October. As soil moisture conditions improve in October and November soil temperatures decline precipitously until by the end of November they become marginal for even cool season grasses to grow.

In addition to luck the keys to growing grass in Tennessee in the fall revolve around timing the seeding correctly and ensuring excellent seed to soil contact. If you plant into very dry soil there is almost no chance of getting reasonable seed to soil contact and the seed you planted will almost certainly fail to grow and/or will get washed away during the first good gullywasher to come along. Similarly wet soil will seldom remain wet for long in the fall so if you broadcast seed without incorporation the chances are good the seed will go through enough wet/dry cycles that it will die.

When I have to overseed in the fall I try HARD to pick near-perfect soil conditions in which to sow my grass seed. I have literally left meals sitting on the table and company standing in slack jawed amazement to go plant grass when perfect soil conditions presented themselves. I will go over my seeding as many times as I feel is necessary with as many tools as necessary to achieve good seed to soil contact. Tools may involve cultivators, harrows, chains, rollers and/or cultipackers depending on the condition of the soil below and the grass above the ground.

Yesterday presented me with excellent soil and weather conditions for overseeding pastures, at least until the wind got up yesterday afternoon. (Once again) I apologize to Melissa and our visitors for leaving them standing, but when it’s time to plant seeds everything else has to wait.

Jason spreading grass seed

Flyer had a pretty view for breakfast

Norman did as well (look hard and you can see Norman)


Cuff Links

Ritchie and Rip

Chance and Leo

Hemi, Thomas and Apollo thought it was fascinating to watch Jason get ready to spread grass seed . . .

. . . Levendi, Moe and Homer did as well. I really wondered if they thought the bags of grass seed were bags of feed.

Duesy and Bruno grazing peacefully . . .

. . . and having a moment of snark (Hesse and Remmy are hiding in the background)

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