A Note on Seeding
It’s September, which means it’s time to think about your properties and pastures! Trying to establish grass in Teller County can be tricky, since it certainly can’t be said that we have “normal” precipitation patterns. If you didn’t do so in late June or early July, before the monsoonal moisture flow that is typical for that time of year, the best time to seed is now, in Autumn, just about the time the aspens start to change color. The first significant snowfall might be any day now, and you want to get your seeds in the ground before that in order to take advantage of the warm soil temperatures and afternoon rainfalls. These factors can help successful germination and a healthy root system; but more importantly, the timing allows the seed to have a protective snow cover in which to overwinter, and then to use that moisture supply for germination in the Spring. Another big advantage to fall seeding is that the grass seeds will not be battling summer conditions such as competition from annual weeds and exposure to excessive heat.
If you’re new to this, here’s a quick rundown of what to do:
First prepare the soil by working it with a harrow, rototiller, or rake. A loose soil texture is a must for broadcast seeding. Then, smooth the surface, and broadcast the seeds in two directions, using half the seed for each application. For small areas, you should be able to cast the seed by hand, but a hand seeder or even a fertilizer spreader would make the job much easier. Once the seed has been placed, lightly rake it into the soil, and then smooth over the area using the back of a rake to cover it. Finally mulching the seeded area with straw will help retain moisture and prevent the seeds from being blown away or eaten. Water the area if it’s particularly dry of course, but really, all that’s left to do is wait. Try not to disturb the area over the next few months, and you should see some beautiful bright green seedlings popping up come Spring.
PS: If you’re not growing grass for livestock grazing, and especially if you or your neighbors have a garden, consider adding some wildflowers to your mix. Our very important native pollinators will thank you!