If you completed a dormant seeding project in the fall or winter, you might wonder what to expect as we near spring. Dormant seeding can be an effective method for establishing or overseeding cool-season grasses, and spring germination is the final step of the process. This blog post will provide some expectations and recommendations for turfgrass establishment this spring.

Like other seeding projects, starter fertilizer is helpful for dormant seeding. However, it’s not recommended to apply at the time of dormant seeding. Wait until near the time of germination, then apply a starter fertilizer to help the seedlings establish. 

Germination timing depends on several factors, including the species of turfgrass seeded. The age of the seed is another factor. Temperature also has a significant impact on how germination timing can differ from one year to the next. 

Ultimately, it’s impossible to mark your calendar for the exact date that germination will occur. Research the type of turfgrass you seeded and pay attention to weather conditions for an accurate idea of when your seed is germinating.

In addition to fertilization, weed control is an important piece of the dormant seeding puzzle. Proper control provides a suitable environment for turfgrass to establish free from the competition of weeds. However, you have to be careful what herbicides you apply to dormant seeded areas. Some active ingredients are safer for turfgrass seedlings than others.

Products such as FMC QuickSilver (carfentrazone) are safe to apply seven days after turfgrass seedlings emerge. This product provides post-emergent broadleaf weed control.

At 28 days after turfgrass emergence, ArmorTech Trione (mesotrione) and BASF Pylex (topramezone) are safe to apply to dormant seeded areas. These two products provide post-emergent and some pre-emergent control of many broadleaf weeds and annual grasses. 

As for herbicides to avoid on dormant seeded areas this spring, steer clear of any containing prodiamine or dithiopyr. These pre-emergents target weed seeds but will kill grass seeds, too. Postpone these pre-emergent applications until next season to protect your dormant seeded area.

Spring fertilization and weed control are important factors in any dormant seeding project. Help your new seedlings establish by applying the right products at the right time.