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What is the correct method of over seeding?

I have some areas in my pasture that I need to reseed, but they have enough grass in them that I really don't want to plow under and I would probably ruin more grass surrounding those areas with equipment than I would help.

Do I disc and broad cast new seed or just broad cast it in the spring?

Problem being in the spring, I have a lot of standing water/mud until June and I can't get equipment in there early. Even the mules sink down to their knees .

Ralph in N.E.Oh says 2016-08-01 21:23:43 (CST)

Vince, disc the areas that you want to seed enough to rough the ground up some. Broadcast "grass seed" onto the spots. This is what we call "summer seeding" it is exactly what you say, it leaves what is there while allowing more to grow in the bare or thin spots.

If it is legumes, like clover or alfalfa that you want to seed, wait until late spring and broadcast those seeds onto frozen ground. The freezing and thawing will do the rest. Good luck.

2 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Andy Daniel says 2016-08-02 05:02:45 (CST)

In this area of north Georgia, one can broadcast seed when The ground is frozen and spud up by ice. When the ice melts it covers most of the seed. Our county extension office has a couple no till seeders the the public can rent very cheap also.

2 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

NoraWI says 2016-08-08 10:54:17 (CST)

I have never been successful with frost seeding in southwest Wisconsin. I consider it *feeding the birds* because they consume just about all the seed (easy to see atop the snow) before it gets to go into the ground. Also, I have found that what the birds don't get ends up going downhill to seed along the creek, which doesn't really need it.

2 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Fort Causeway says 2016-08-08 22:37:37 (CST)

It's kind of a loaded question, Vince, as if there is a 'right way'. So I'll answer a question with a question.
Why do you have bare spots? It is actually a forage, management, moisture, or soil problem? Why do the bare spots occur?
Bottom line if I wanted something green in the mountain west I'd scratch it up, in a way that holds as much moisture as you can, pour a lot of oats (or other annual cereals) to it, with perennial seeds mixed in. Oats are a fantastic primary soil builder, and the roots provide a highway for perennials to follow, so the perennials don't have to break trail.....I would do it now, so the perennials could take full advantage of spring moisture and the tilth building freeze thaw action of the winter cycle...Winter wheat/triticale as companion crop can also treat you right this time of year.
I have bad luck and lots of weeds trying to establish perennials into bare soil.

2 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

JerryHicks says 2016-08-09 05:46:21 (CST)

We try to do our frost seeding here sometime in March. That is usually when we get our last snows. It's a little bit of guess work but we try to get the seeds down just before the snow falls. That keeps it safe from birds and puts it in contact with the soil. The freezing and thawing with the snow will help to take the seed in rather than letting it was away. I also like to seed and feed out hay on top of it. That way I let the stock stomp the seed into the ground as well as any uneaten hay acts as a mulch to hold the seed.

2 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Billy Foster says 2016-08-09 10:58:10 (CST)

Some of the best pasture I have is where I have fed stock overwinter on the pasture. It is a pain hauling hay in the snow but the reward is worth it. First cut with plenty of seed head, I use small square bales since less is wasted. I also do as Jerry by spreading seed before the snow, if I can. I have also found the addition of Lime or wood ash on our acid soils makes a very big difference in the population of plant species. As an experiment I spread a strip of lime at 2tons to the acre through a really bad pasture, by doing nothing else, 2 years latter there is a strip of Orchard grass though that field. It is not a clean strip of orchard grass but it clearly shows the potential that improving the soil makes.


2 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

vince mautino says 2016-08-09 14:31:11 (CST)

These bare spots are mostly from water laying on it in wet years,then in some years it is dry. The area is a in a bowl like setting that water from all around runs thru. There is layer of heavy clay about 2 feet down and the water cannot get thru it,so when that 2-3 feet gets saturated, I get water about 1-2 " deep laying there until mid June or so and when it dries,weed stake over.

I just finished planting a small section about 1/2 acre that was infested with what I call swamp grass. Broad leaf stuff that the mules won't eat. With that I used is a mixture that was called Mountain Meadow grass, then some short and tall fescue along with some oats. It's coming along good.I tried to get it in right before the monsoons hit here and did good.

I have about three acres that is a good small pasture for two smaller mules but there are bare spots 6-10 feet in diameter.Some is from water laying on it in the spring,then some of it is from a dry area. I let it all sit and now what grass is there( about 80%) was 4 ft tall with good heads on it before I turned the mules in to it. Most of that came up volunteer from the mule manure I spread on it late fall and early winter .

Once the ground thaws,I can' t get in to work it as it is too muddy to disc,and yet discing it won't work while the ground is frozen. Looks like the best option is to try to time spreading seeds early in the spring while the snow is still on the ground,but with a new snowing predicted to cover it up. Most of the area has 2-3 feet of snow on it thru the winter. Don't have many birds at that time of year here.

Thought if I could get the seed on when it is thawing and freezing,that would work the seed down into the soil. If not,I would need to wait until mid July and get it disced and then seeded right before the monsoons hit when it rains about every day for 6 weeks or so.

2 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Billy Foster says 2016-08-10 12:21:45 (CST)

Reed Canary would most likely do well there. There are some improved variety's that are pretty palatable. It is some pretty durable stuff, deals good with wet and really dry. My Haflingers, and one mule, just eat the small patch I have down to the ground.


2 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

JerryHicks says 2016-08-10 17:18:50 (CST)

If you have a patch of ground that is slow to drain and stands in water a lot, a good product for it is Shaklee Basic H. It's actually an organic soap made from soy proteins, but it helps to open heavy soil and make it more friable. I first saw an Amish neighbor use it on a piece of ground that stood in water all the time and it worked really well. He told me to try it on some of my hard clay ground that wouldn't break up. I did and was amazed. Another one of my Amish friends gave me a book called Shakleeizing your farm, about all the Shaklee products that have agricultural application. Anyway, he recommended spraying it mixed in water at a rate of a quart of basic H. to the acre.

2 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

vince mautino says 2016-08-10 22:21:36 (CST)

That is good to know Jerry. My problem is the clay is down 2-3 feet.On top of that is good soil. When the spring thaw comes that soil gets saturated because the water can't go thru the clay. I don't dare even drive off the hard packed lanes until mid June. I buried a truck, a tractor, and front end loader all up to the frame at various times years ago when I was young and stupid .At least, I'm not young any more

2 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

vince mautino says 2016-08-10 22:23:06 (CST)

Billy. Where can I find out more about that seed

2 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Billy Foster says 2016-08-11 06:01:19 (CST)

This is the variety I used.

It can be a little pricey but it will spread to the bare spots pretty well. In some states it is actually considered an invasive. It is a good tough grass that is hard to kill. When I planted it in the wet area at my place I grazed the area down hard with the horses then broadcast the seed out on the ground and fed hay on the same spot for a week or so, then got them off for a coupe months.The 3 horses tromped the seed in well. the next year I kept the horses and sheep out of that area to let it go to and drop the seed. By doing so I multiplied my couple pounds of purchased seed by a hundred or more.


2 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

NoraWI says 2016-08-12 06:23:53 (CST)

A lot of good suggestions given! I just wish to comment on what Vince said about seeds that were spread through his mules' manure. My farm is cut in almost equal halves by the dead end road. When we first bought the place, the north ridge had a lot of bird's foot trefoil, a very good protein. I remember talking with a neighbor, an old-timer, who said he had been unsuccessful in getting bird's foot trefoil into his pasture no matter what he did. The farmer who sold me the farm told me the same about spreading the plant onto the other side of the road where there was none. The grazing practice at that time was to put livestock onto a tract of land and let them wander around at will. Once I started rotational grazing, I found that I was getting bird's foot trefoil on both sides of the road. Of course, I was also getting some weeds transfer as well. Now, 28 years later, pastures on both sides of the road have uniform growth. This points up the efficiency of seed transfer through the guts of livestock. They spread the seeds, water and fertilize, then work it all in with their hooves.

2 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Robert Dennis says 2016-08-12 07:58:10 (CST)

Vince, we have some ground much the same as you describe. By feeding hay on it and even hauling manure on it while it is frozen, we have gotten it to "build up"and raised the soil so that it has a better chance of keeping grasses instead of just weeds. And remember, weeds are just plants we haven't figured out how to make us money!

2 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Bird says 2016-08-13 08:54:32 (CST)

I have been very successful with birds-foot-trefoil. I had a neighbor drill it into my pasture. I raise sheep and they will pick and choose, so there's usually some left behind. In a pasture setting, it doesn't tend to get out of hand as it does on the roadsides.

2 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

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