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Spring Seeding

Spring seedings have more available moisture and produce higher yields in the seeding year. Early planting maximized the chances of vigorous regrowth and development before the onset of hot, dry weather. Seed forage grasses in the spring as early as the ground can be prepared for planting. Grass seedings after May 1 in southern NY or May 15 in northern NY will have an increased risk of failure. A firm seedbed and accurate control of seed placement are essential.

Minimum or no-till establishment minimizes soil losses and has lower fuel and labor requirements, particularly if the labor includes stone removal. A large roller can be used post-seeding to reduce the impact of stones on subsequent harvesting operations. Companion crops can be sown with the grasses to help control weed pressure and provide some early summer forage. They may set back the establishment of the grasses, however, particularly for grasses with weak seedlings such as reed canarygrass. Red clover has been used as a companion crop with reed canarygrass, providing forage the first two years while the grass becomes established. Even with low clover seeding rates, this practice can set back establishment of reed canarygrass up to a year.