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Seed treatments are critical tools that help to reduce those early season risks. By coating seeds with insecticides that protect against wireworm or seed corn maggots, for example, farmers can reduce the risk of crop loss from these pests. Fungicidal and biological seed treatments can protect crops from diseases such as Pythium or Rhizoctonia. When coupled with the right combination of hybrid or varietal characteristics, agronomic decisions, and core farm management, seed treatments are a key part of an integrated crop management strategy.
Like all tools, seed treatments must be used properly. The seed industry is fully committed to the safe use and disposal of seed. It is essential that everyone who treats, handles, transports, and plants treated seeds manages them properly and in accordance with label instructions. Accordingly, seed suppliers have worked together through the American Seed Trade Association to enhance stewardship best practices across the seed industry:
Another often overlooked benefit of seed treatment that they can prevent the transmission of seed-borne or vector-borne diseases. Bean leaf beetles could get onto soybean seeds, and if untreated, these beetles could contaminate the seeds with bean pod mottle virus in soybeans.
Treated seeds come in many colors: bright pink, brilliant green or blue, or even vibrant purple. These are all purposefully unnatural colors to help buyers know that treatments are on the seeds. The colorant is required by law in most jurisdictions globally to specifically distinguish that this seed has been treated with pesticides, to help ensure that treated seed is not used in grain (food or feed) distribution channels. The colorant is used to show that the seed has been treated, and therefore the seed buyer needs to investigate further, using the seed bag tag or seed package label.
Getting the crop established with a solid beginning is crucial for later stage crop growth and development. This leads to a strong harvest yield. That’s exactly what seed treatments are designed to do.
• Soil moisture, drainage, and irrigation
Read the other blogs in our seed series!
Don’t overdo or cut corners. Too much grass seed causes undue competition for resources such as light, water and nutrients, and grass seedlings struggle as a result. Too little seed leaves lawns thin or bare. Always follow “best practice” guidelines for planting grass seed, including site preparation and good seed-to-soil contact, and stick with recommended seeding rates for lush results.
For most of the country, fall is the best time to plant grass seed. This is when cool-season grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass and tall fescues peak in growth, and conditions enhance fast germination and establishment. When paired with innovations such as water-conserving Pennington Smart Seed, proper timing leads to other advantages, including less input of resources, less maintenance and better results.
Getting your seeding rates right requires knowing the correct size of the area you need to cover. One of the most common problems grass professionals see is when homeowners misjudge their actual lawn areas and over-apply grass seed or other products, such as fertilizers and herbicides.
4. Ignoring recommended seeding rates
Even with similar seed types, all grass seed isn’t equal. Learn what’s actually inside the seed bags you or your lawn professional buy. By understanding the seed tags on grass seed products, you can be sure you invest in quality seed. Cheaper price tags can mean less seed versus fillers, old seeds past their prime, more weed seeds and lower germination rates. Getting seed right from the start benefits your lawn and budget.
It can be tempting to plant seed as soon as the need arises. But proper timing has an important impact on results. Grass growth occurs in seasonal cycles, which vary according to the grass types common to different regions. Timing your seed projects to coincide with growing cycles greatly improves your rate of success.
Without knowing where your soil stands, well-intended soil amendments and fertilizers can harm grass instead of help — or simply go to waste. Incorporating your specific soil lab recommendations helps circumvent potential problems and unnecessary setbacks. That’s one reason turf professionals emphasize regular soil testing to start seed right and keep lawns healthy and vibrant. Your local county extension office can help with testing kits and lab referrals.
When it comes to your lawn aspirations, you can bypass common grass seed mistakes and head straight for success. Make the most of your investment of time, money and grass seed, and enjoy the exceptional results. Pennington is committed to helping you grow the finest lawn possible and enjoy all the benefits that a beautiful, healthy lawn holds.