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STEPS TO SELECTION |
WHEN TO PLANT |
SITE PREPARATION |
PREPARATIONS TO PLANT
YOUR SPORTS FIELD
(1) SOIL TESTS FIRST!
First step you should take is to obtain a soil test and
pH test on your site. If possible a soil analysis should
also be obtained. Your
Extension agent is a good source for help with these tests.
Before you can improve your soil or correct any problems, you HAVE
to know what you have to work with.
(2) SITE PREPARATION
Next you need to start preparing your site with a grade
and slope. Amendments such as organic matter, lime and/or
sulfur based on your soil tests can be added at this time. If
drainage tiles are required, this should be installed also.
Any irrigation system piping should also be installed.
Fertilizers can also be added at this stage. The soil in the
planting area should be tilled, harrowed or other-wise loosened to
a depth of 6-8 inches. This is the primary growth area for your
new grass. Deeper aeration (core aeration) should also occur
especially in compacted soils or heavy clay soils. Do not
compact your soils on site by driving on with equipment when it is
wet or damp. Rollers are NOT a good idea as they compact the
soil too much. Tractor or bulldozer treads usually provide
sufficient site packing.
(3) SEEDING METHODS
Once your site has the final grading and smoothing done
(complete before you plant as this is your ONE best chance for a
smooth surface), the next step is seeding. Generally rotary
broadcast seeders are the primary tool used to seed evenly.
Drop spreaders are also excellent tools. For best results
apply 1/2 of the seeds in one direction and another 1/2 in a
different direction (90 degrees to first). The seeds should
be raked (leaf rake) or dragged so that the soil covers the seed
slightly (1/8 inch). Then if desired a light rolling will
ensure good seed / soil contact. Use of a precision
seeder such as a Brillion or other type of turf seeder is the best
method for planting. Ryegrass seeds are the only seeds that
will germinate with less than perfect seed / soil contact.
Hydroseeding or mulching will allow faster seed germination,
especially with cool season grasses. Irrigation is generally
a requirement for best establishment. You want the soil to
stay MOIST, not wet. (wet is if you squeeze a ball of soil /
water runs out - you don't want it that wet.)
More "How-to info" at
More tips on planting Grass
Tips on overseeding Warms Season
Grasses with Ryegrass
- SEED TIPS
Some experts recommend that you "Pre-Germ"
(prehydration) your seeds in order to increase germination time.
This is somewhat similar to what happens when seeds are placed in
the water tank of a hydroseeder. Usually the seeds are
placed in a cloth bag and the bag is then submerged in warm water
for a period of 12 hours. During the time you will NEED to either
remove the bag every 10-15 minutes or pump air (fish tank
pump) into the water to keep the seed aerated. Some experts
recommend gibberellic acid also be used (consult with Extension on
this and follow label directions as a risk of damaging the seeds
If you intend to broadcast the seeds (and not hydroseed),
then the seeds must be dried out before they can be planted.
Place seeds on a concrete floor or other surface and spread out to
allow drying to occur. Stirring the seeds speeds up the
process. Plant pre-germinated seeds within 24 hours of
completing the process or sooner when possible. This is NOT
a required procedure but it is often used on Sports Field
applications to ensure fast germination for repair purposes.
Placing your seeds in a freezer or refrigerator prior
to planting is another method to help improve germination.
The object behind this is to mimic mother natures cycle and break
any dormancy in your seeds by making the seeds think that they
have gone through a cold winter and spring has arrived.
In Northern areas dormant seeding is often practiced.
This method is where the seeds are applied during late fall (after
any chance of germination has passed) or in the winter months.
At this time temperatures are cold enough that germination will
NOT occur. This method is usually better suited for existing
fields and NOT for trying to establish a new field on bare earth
areas. This method does have it's risks as the key is having
an IDEAL winter where the soil is not too wet and temperatures
warm up gradually and stay in a climbing range. There is
much more risk with this method, so most turf managers seed at 50%
or more of the average seed rates.
Dormant seeding can also be done in early / early spring
in Northern areas. This method relies on the seeds falling
into ground cracks that occur from the freeze / thaw
cycle of nature in the spring. Seeding over snow basically
uses the same idea, with the snow melt taking the seeds in the
thawed cracks. This method really should ONLY be used with
cool season grasses. It rarely works with warm season grass
seeds due to wide temperature ranges as spring arrives.
OVERSEEDING - WARM SEASON FIELDS
Millions of acres of Bermudagrass sports fields and lawns are
overseeded each year with both Annual and Perennial Ryegrasses.
This is generally done in early to mid fall. There are both
advantages and disadvantages to using the two types.
In general there is always a competition risk in
overseeding Bermuda grasses. Newly seeded fields should NOT
be overseeded the first year as they are not matured enough to
handle the Ryegrass competition in the spring. Competition
in the spring from the profusely growing Ryegrass as Bermuda tries
to start growing can create problems. Overall Perennial
Ryegrass is the best choice for overseeding Warm Season grass
Proper Over-Seeding - PLANTING
The key to a successful establishment of a Ryegrasses in a warm
season turf are ensuring their is adequate seed/ soil contact for
the Ryegrass seeds. Ideally either planting with a slit
seeder; or verticuting (vertical mower) of the turf prior to
seeding is the preferred method. This should be done in
advance of fall planting so as to allow the warm season grass some
time to recover from the damage. ---
Just prior to planting the turf should be mowed LOW...
generally 1/4 to 1/2 inch on Bermudas. Then broadcast the
seeds (split application into two ways) and top-dress with a
light covering of soil (1/8 to 1/4 inch) for best germination.
Keep seed moist / but NOT wet with frequent / multiple watering
throughout the day until germination occurs. After
germination start gradual transition to normal watering schedule.
Mow but do NOT try and collect / bag the clippings as you could
cause un-germinated seeds to be collected reducing your stand.
WHEN TO OVERSEED
Overseeding RYEGRASS - BEST TIMES IN FALL
||Sept 1 to Sept 25
||Sept 15 to Oct 10
||October 1 to October 25
DIFFERENCE IN ANNUAL & PERENNIAL RYEGRASS
RYEGRASS SIMILARITIES &
Annual & Perennial Both have :
- QUICK GERMINATION PERIODS
- GOOD SEEDLING VIGOR
Rapid Spring Transition
Dies out in spring faster than desired
Poor Wear Tolerance
Poor temperature change tolerance
Vulnerable to Diseases
Tends to stain uniforms more
Grows faster requiring more mowing
Slow Spring Transition
Excellent Wear Tolerance
Good temperature change tolerance
Good transition time
But may compete with Bermuda
More resistant to disease, insects
In late mid to late spring as higher temperatures return to
Southern areas, Ryegrasses will begin "dying" - This is the
"transition" process. It is a desirable process that the
turf manger wants to happen gradually so that most people never
even notice it happening. --- Slowly the ryegrass dies and
the Bermudagrass starts greening up and growing. A balance
of mowing, fertilization and irrigation is needed to balance and
manage this process correctly. The goal is a smooth
transition, keeping the ryegrass alive until the Bermuda starts
growing... but also keeping the ryegrass in a dying / slow growing
state so that it does NOT provide too much competition to the just
awakening (and weakened) Bermuda.
OVERSEEDING PLANTING RATES:
For overseeding Bermuda or Bahia sports fields
NOTE: for zoysia grasses you should overseed with
Tall Fescue, NOT Ryegrasses
RYEGRASS PLANTING RATE:
10-20 lbs / per 1000 sq. ft.
Overseeded on warm season grass
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