Seeding permanent grasses and legumes on critical areas for permanent
To stabilize the soil; reduce damage from sediment and runoff to downstream
areas; and improve area for safety and beauty.
On sediment-producing, highly eroding or severely eroding areas where
vegetation is difficult to establish with normal planting methods; such
as, construction sites, cut and fill slopes, borrow areas and other areas
denuded of vegetation where perennial vegetation is needed for long-term
A. Site Preparation
- Install needed surface water control measures.
- Grade and slope as feasible to use planned equipment for seeding,
mulching and maintenance. Slopes steeper than 3:1 are difficult to establish
vegetation on and maintain with conventional equipment. Consider
retaining walls, ground cover plants, vines or shrubs on slopes of 3:1
- Chisel compacted areas and spread available topsoil 3" deep over
adverse soil conditions as a final operation in grading. Where conventional
seeding equipment is to be used, rip the entire area.
- A minimum of grading and shaping is required when hydraulic seeding
equipment is to be used.
- Remove all loose rock, roots and other obstructions from the surface
that will interfere with establishment and maintenance of vegetation.
Leave surface reasonably smooth and uniform for final seedbed preparation.
- Perform all cultural operations of land preparation and seeding on
the general contour.
B. Lime, Fertilizer and Seedbed Preparation
- When soil material is reasonably uniform, apply lime and fertilizer
according to soil test report. In the absence of a soil test, apply
lime as follows:
Lbs. Lime/1000 Sq. Ft.
|Clay and clay loams
|Sandy loams, loams, silt loams
|Loamy sands, sands
Agricultural lime used shall be within the specifications of the North
Carolina Department of Agriculture.
- Rates and analysis of fertilizer if soil test is not available:
a. Grasses alone - 800 to 1,000 pounds per acre (18-23 pound per 1,000
of 1-1-1 ratio such as 10-10-10.
b. Legumes alone or grass and legume mixture - 800 to 1,000 pounds per
(18-23 pounds per 1,000 sq. ft.) of a 1-2-2 ratio such as 5-10-10.
- Phosphorous is essential for developing vigorous seeding root systems.
If soil test is not available, apply 500 to 800 pounds per acre (12-18
pounds per 1,000 sq. ft.) of 20% superphosphate or equivalent in addition
to fertilizer listed above or use an analysis to supply the additional
- When hydraulic seeding equipment is used, no seedbed preparation is
required. Cut slopes and compacted areas may require scarification.
a. The fertilizer, seed and wood cellulose fiber mulch will be mixed
with water and applied in a slurry. Spread the mixture uniformly over
b. The lime will be mixed with water and applied on top of straw mulch
or the lime may be combined with the top dressing when grass in 2 to
4 inches tall.
- When conventional equipment is used, the lime and fertilizer will
be applied uniformly and mixed with the soil during seedbed preparation.
a. On field conditions or slopes that are 3:1 or flatter, prepare a
seedbed 4 inches deep, excluding rock.
b. On slopes steeper than 3:1, prepare a seedbed 1 to 4 inches deep
as determined on site. Scarify the surface with suitable equipment such
as a chain harrow, grader with chisels attached, or by hand. The surface
as a minimum will be pitted or trenched 4 to 8 inches apart for seed
to lodge and germinate.
Select species from Permanent Seedings
Table, considering plant adaption to desired use, site to be vegetated,
seeding dates, and maintenance requirements. Seed used shall be labeled
to show they are within the requirements of the North Carolina Department
of Agriculture as to purity, germination, and presence of restricted or
prohibited weeds. Erosion control plans or seeding contracts should list
species or mixtures to be used, planting dates, seed germination, and
purity that are acceptable.
- Conventional seeding - Seed on a freshly prepared, firm seedbed. Use
equipment that will apply seed uniformly such as a cultipacker seeder,
drill, or cyclone seeder by hand. Cover seed lightly with seeding equipment
of cultipack after seeding.
- Hydraulic seeding - Mix the fertilizer, seed and wood cellulose
fiber mulch with water and apply the slurry uniformly over the areas
being treated. The slurry must be applied within one hour after mixing
the seed with fertilizer.
- Use the inoculant prepared specifically for any legume being seeded.
Twice the recommended rate will be used when seeded dry with conventional
equipment and four times the recommended rate when seeded with hydraulic
- Mulching - Mulch all permanent seedings on critical areas immediately
after seeding unless sufficient mulch is present from previous temporary
vegetation grown. Mulch is essential to protect seedlings and area from
erosion until plant cover is established. Refer to MULCHING specifications
for kinds, amounts, and anchoring mulch.
- Irrigation - Supplementary irrigation will speed up the establishment
of plant cover most seasons and may prevent failure of seedings not
made at optimum planting date or seedings on adverse site conditions.
Where irrigation is used, water must be applied at a rate that will
not cause soil movement.
D. Treatment after seeding and maintenance is the most important controllable
factor in retaining an effective vegetative cover. The kind of grass of
grass-legume, soil, weather, and the level of management one desires to
give a seeding determine the fertilization needed after the first year.
- Repairs - Inspect all seeded areas and make necessary repairs or reseedings
within the planting season, if possible. If stand should be over 60%
damaged, re-establish following original lime, fertilizer and seeding
- Control weed growth during establishment mechanically and/or with
herbicides. When chemicals are used, follow current North Carolina Agricultural
Experiment Station's weed control recommendations and adhere strictly
to instructions on the label.
Apply lime according to soil test recommendations for plants being grown.
In the absence of a soil test, apply lime from October to March every
4-5 years at rate of 2 tons per acre (100 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft.).
Permanent seedings will be fertilized the next growing season after
planting. For the warm season plants, this would be early spring (bermuda,
sericea, etc.); for the cool season plants, early fall or early spring
(tall fescue, etc.).
Follow a regular fertilizer program based on soil test reports and use
being made of the vegetative cover. The following fertilization guide
is the minimum level that can be expected to maintain land cover. For
a quality turf that is mowed regularly, or is subject to heavy use and/or
irrigated, much higher fertilization rates will be required.
a. Stand is primarily Tall Fescue, and similar cool season plants.
Apply 500 pounds per acre (12 pounds per 1,000 sq. ft.) of 10-10-10,
or its equivalent, in early fall annually. Additional fertilization
with nitrogen or a complete fertilizer is needed in early spring.
To reduce incidence of leaf diseases, do not apply N on Fescue from
May to mid-August in hot, humid areas.
b. Stands of Bermuda, Bahia, Lovegrass, and similar warm season grasses.
Apply 500 pounds per acre (12 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft.) of 10-10-10
fertilizer or equivalent when the plants start to green-up in spring.
Topdress with 60-90 pounds nitrogen per acre (1-2 pounds per 1,000
sq. ft.) during the growing season. When the higher rate is used,
apply in split applications.
c. Stands of Sericea Lespedeza and similar legumes. Fertilize in early
spring with 500 pounds of 0-10-20, (12 pounds per 1,000 sq. ft.) or
equivalent per acre, every 2-4 years.
d. Mixtures of Sericea Lespedeza, Fescue, Lovegrass, or Bermudagrass.
Fertilize in early spring with 500 pounds per acre (12 pounds per
1,000 sq. ft.) of 5-10-10 or equivalent every 2-3 years. In Fescue
- Sericea Lespendeza mixture, apply in the fall if the Sericea Lespedeza
is developing better than the Fescue.
e. Fescue - White Clover and similar mixtures. Apply 500 pounds per
acre (12 pounds per 1,000 sq. ft.) of 0-20-20 or equivalent in early
fall. An additional application of nitrogen or complete fertilizer
will be needed in the spring to keep plants lush and in balance. Where
grass is crowding out the clover, reduce or eliminate spring application
Mow Sericea Lespedeza, or Sericea grass mixtures, only after frost
or after Sericea seed are mature. Tall Fescue should be mowed not
closer than 3 inches. Bahia and the bermudas may be mowed at any height
Care should be taken not to damage the vegetation mechanically through
use of improper mowing equipment or by attempting to mow with heavy
equipment on steep slopes whent the vegetation is lush and slippery
or when the ground is soft enough to be rutted by mower or tractor
Where mowing fails to control weeds satisfactorily, apply chemicals
in accordance with current North Carolina Agricultural Experiment
Station's weed control recommendations and adhere strictly to instructions
CAUTION: Pesticides are dangerous. Use only as
directed and heed all precautions on the container label. Check the registration
number and be sure that the directions for use include the target pests.
Drift from aerial spraying can contaminate nearby crops, lakes, and reservoirs.
Improper use and careless disposal of unused portions can lead to poisoning
of humans, domestic animals, desirable plants, pollinating insects, fish,
and wildlife, and can contaminate water supplies.
here to view the Permanent Seedings Table