Grass Establishment (Spring seeding , Late summer seeding)
Seed forage grasses in the spring as early as the ground can be prepared for planting. 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. 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.
Late summer seeding
Spring seedings are difficult in very wet springs, and in some cases can compete with corn planting for time and labor. Moisture and seeding depth control are the keys to successful late summer forage seeding. If the land is idle during the summer, the seedbed should be prepared in early or mid summer to allow for moisture conservation. Another moisture-conserving option is to eliminate weeds with a herbicide, followed by a no-till seeding. The advantage of being able to grow an extra crop prior to a late summer seeding can end up a severe disadvantage if that crop removes all available moisture from the soil profile. Likewise, a small grain or other companion crop is not recommended with a summer seeding. Seeding depth should be ¼ to ½ inch, somewhat deeper on sandy soils. The most common cause of seeding failures due to planting technique is placing seed too deep.