How to Overseed Pasture

How to Overseed Pasture

The best time to seed is in spring and fall. Avoid seeding in the heat of summer or when in danger of frost. Consistent soil temperatures should be about 8-10°C (or when daytime temperatures reach 15-20° C).

Prepare field for seeding. Perform tillage and weed control before seeding.* If tillage is performed, be sure the resulting seed bed is fine and firm, free of ruts and ridges, without being compacted. Have the soil tested to determine fertilizer and lime requirements, which may be applied before or at the time of seeding.

Broadcast or drill a specially formulated forage seed mix at the recommended seeding rate. If broadcasting, be sure the seed makes firm contact with the soil. A chain harrow can be used, ensuring the seed isn’t buried more than ¼ inch. Some species may germinate within 10 days, whereas other species may require 4 weeks to germinate.

Keep the area moist through establishment and in dry seasons. Irrigate as needed, and if irrigation is not available, seed should be applied before anticipated rainfall. 

Grass takes a year to become fully established and it is advisable to restrict grazing in the first season. Grazing should start when plants reach 8-12 inches and the pasture should not be grazed shorter than 3 inches.

It is recommended to have the soil tested on an annual basis and fertilizer and lime applied as needed. Depending on field conditions, annual weed control and overseeding may also be necessary.

*Always follow the directions on the chemical labels.

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