Month of Seeding Effect on Low-Input Establishment of Cool- and Warm-Season Turfgrasses in Continental Transition Zone
This research was conducted to determine the degree of success, by month, in seeding establishment of tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb., Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.), Bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon [L.] Pers. var. dactylon), and zoysiagrass (Zoysia japonica Steud.) at two locations in the moist, Midwest, continental transition zone on a prepared seed bed without irrigation or cover. The four species were planted every month of the year starting in September 2005. Starter fertilizer and siduron were applied the same day as seeding with no subsequent management except mowing. Percent cover of living turfgrass was recorded in each of 24 months after seeding. Tall fescue (80%) and Bermudagrass (73%) provided the best percent cover over all planting dates. Kentucky bluegrass provided 65% and zoysiagrass 24% cover. The cool-season grasses performed best in the July-to-March plantings; tall fescue 88% and Kentucky bluegrass 72%. Bermudagrass (94%) established best in the January-to-April plantings, while Zoysiagrass (32%) established best in the November-to-March plantings. Germination and seedling survival after germination of all species were inhibited by limited moisture during summer. The warm-season grasses were further limited by winter kill in the August, September, and October seedings. These results emphasize the risk in spring-seeding as well as the value in dormant-seeding of both warm- and cool-season turfgrasses for low-input, nonirrigated establishment.