Spring is upon us; and disturbed soil that was not stabilized (seeded) prior to the onset of winter is beginning to peek through the melting snow. Stabilization of disturbed soils with vegetative applications is an important tool for minimizing soil loss due to erosion; which is ultimately better for the quality of our waterways.
Both the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) and the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) indicate March 1st as the earliest date to begin seeding. Winter weather can sometimes linger throughout March in northeast Ohio and conditions may be too harsh to consider planting grass. ODNR’s Rainwater and Land Development Manual goes a step further and points out that planting after May 31st may require additional irrigation to aid in growth during the summer season. At a minimum though, this time of year can be used to review an existing stabilization plan or develop one so that you can get the most out of the growing season.
Temperature fluctuations, precipitation, and poor maintenance tend to cause significant delays in achieving final stabilization (seeding) and project completion. Seed is either applied too late, inadequately, timely repairs are not made, and the growing season quickly passes by. Having a stabilization plan in place and applying seed as early as reasonably practicable will go a long way to ensure that a project can be complete and not languish through the winter waiting for the grass to grow.
Some other items that will ensure a productive growing season include testing your soil prior to planting. Amend the soil to achieve and optimal pH (lime or sulfur) in accordance with the soil test results. Fertilize the soil with the appropriate type and amount of nutrients (nitrogen, potassium, phosphorous) in accordance with the soil test results; always be sure to apply the fertilizer at the appropriate time too.
Following these simply suggestions should yield a healthy stand of grass and ensure that the construction project is stabilized during one growing season.