Establishing turfgrass from seed in the spring certainly has its challenges. It is a race against time for the seedlings to mature enough to be able to withstand stressful summer conditions and to outcompete invading weeds. Although you cannot control the weather, there are options for suppressing weeds during seeding while also delivering nutrients to support growth.
When it comes to spring seeding, look to apply mesotrione paired with a starter fertilizer. This popular combination is available from several companies and can be applied to a number of cool-season turfgrass species. This combination delivers dual benefits – nutrients to promote rapid turf establishment and weed control in the form of both pre and postemergence activity. Unsightly weeds like clover, crabgrass and dandelions can be kept at bay while the new turf develops unencumbered. Depending on the level of weed pressure experienced in the summer, a follow-up application with the same product can be made; but generally, a single treatment is enough for a successful establishment.
Seeding does not provide the instant gratification that comes with installing sod, but it does offer significant cost savings with regard to materials and installation. It is also much more convenient for golf courses that do not require a lot of repair and only need to address a small area like a stump hole. Using a starter fertilizer with mesotrione will help to ensure that the newly planted areas not only fill in but are weed-free.
Central Region Agronomists:
John Daniels, agronomist – firstname.lastname@example.org
Zach Nicoludis, agronomist – email@example.com
Information on the USGA’s Course Consulting Service