Best Time to Plant Pasture Grass Seed
For most perennial grasses, planting should be conducted when seedlings will be provided with the longest available period of ideal growing conditions. For warm season grasses, the preferred planting period runs from March 15th through May 1st. For cooler season grasses, the ideal planting time lasts from August 15th to September 15th. While planting periods will vary from one community to another, planting should be timed so that the grass seed is able to germinate once the preferred growing season starts.
For even the best grass seed, the seeding rates will be 8 to 15 pounds per acre. Factors that can affect seedling growth include low temperatures, weeds with an aggressive growth pattern, and dry weather or drought. Local precipitation patterns can be used as a guide to determine when seeds should be planted. In climates with heavy fall rains and late first frosts, fall plantings are often successful without the needs for the sower to water the land themselves. However, fall plantings need to be conducted early enough to allows for 60 to 90 days before the first frost appears.
Although the specific planting instructions will vary according to the manufacturer, some general considerations will need to be taken into account when you are sowing seed. For example, most seeds will need to be planted at a quarter inch depth. Seeds that are planted deeper than ½ inch in the ground will have trouble emerging. For best results, fields should be lightly dragged after seed has been broadcast to ensure proper soil contact. Most experts recommend sticking to mixes with only one to three types of species in it. Mixtures that have a large number of seed varieties often lose the most palatable species, because animals prefer to graze on them.
Under ideal conditions, most seed grass will begin to germinate within 7 to 10 days of planting, but it can take as long as 14 to 18 days for seedlings to start to emerge. Under ideal conditions, full coverage of your field will be reached in 6 to 10 weeks after seeding. If you are planting earlier or later in the spring or fall season, more time may be required for establishment. Maturation periods are determined by access to adequate moisture that will support new grass growth.
Your acreage will be ready for its first mowing 3 to 4 weeks after seeding (or when the majority of the grass has filled in). Because you want to avoid scalping your turf, each mowing should not remove more than 1/3rd of the leaf’s blade. If you plan to graze, rather than mow, your land, first grazing should not be allowed until 10 to 12 weeks after the grass has been sowed. The reason for the extended wait is to give the plants enough time to grow in size and develop a strong root system. In doing so, it will prevent the grass from being yanked out of the ground while your livestock munches on it 🙂