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Fig. 26-11. Planting bed (NTEP tall fescue trial, Knoxville, TN). (Photo by J. Sorochan.)
For best seeding results, the planting bed should be firm, fertile, and relatively free of weeds (Fig. 26-11). A nonselective herbicide, such as glyphosate [N-(phosphonomethyl)glycine; e.g., Gly-4, Universal Crop Protection Alliance LLC, Eagan, MN; Roundup, Monsanto, St. Louis, MO)] often is applied to control existing weeds before tilling and planting. Usually, a granular, starter fertilizer is broadcast and incorporated lightly into the soil before or immediately after planting. Starter fertilizers contain much more P than either N or K. Rotary, cultipacker, hydroseeders, and drill seeders are used to plant tall fescue seeds. Mixing seeds of perennial ryegrass with tall fescue is usually discouraged. Since the vigor of the ryegrass seedlings is superior to that of tall fescue seedlings, ryegrass plants often dominate the resulting mixed stand. Mulching a newly seeded planting bed with straw or covering the establishment site with an excelsior mat or geotextile blanket conserves soil moisture and provides erosion control until tall fescue plants are well rooted. If possible, the straw should be spread out on a hard surface, such as a driveway, and kept moist for 2 to 3 wk before use to germinate most weed seeds contained in it.