Pasture Strategies When Re-Seeding is Not Possible
September is the ideal time to sow cool season grasses like fescue and orchardgrass. But is there anything that can be done to improve pasture production when re-seeding is not possible? In our August pasture class, UK Forage Specialist Jimmy Henning reminded us that in times when re-seeding cannot be accomplished, there are ways to stimulate production from existing thinned grass pastures:
- If you haven’t had soil tested in the last three years, pull samples to determine soil pH and nutrient levels. Follow soil test recommendations for any recommended fertilizer and/or lime. Even if you can only afford to apply one-half of the recommended fertilizer, it will help increase pasture production.
- Fall nitrogen application stimulates tillering in cool season grasses. Tillering is new growth from the base of the plant that helps thicken stands and suppresses some weeds.
- Mow areas where weeds are present. Cool season forages have a second growth spurt in fall as temperatures cool and when adequate moisture is present. If forages are heavily shaded by tall weeds, the weeds are going to compete with desired forage for water and nutrients. Mowing the weeds ‘releases’ the desired cool season forages to make their natural fall growth spurt.
Written by Traci Missun, Oldham County Agriculture & Natural Resources Agent.