Autumn Reseeds

Autumn reseeding has been taking place over recent weeks, particularly in the east side of the country due to more favourable weather conditions.

When investing in reseeding, it is crucial that the new swards are managed properly to ensure a good establishment which will improve the productivity of the new grass.

Controlling weeds in new reseeds is best done in the autumn when weeds are small and do not have fully developed root systems. By the spring, it is often too late as weed competition can have caused the new leys to become open and gappy. This includes docks which have grown from seed - if these are left until next spring they will become more established and in turn difficult to control. It is possible to get close to 100% control of seedling docks if action is taken early and during the correct growing conditions.

The product you should use will depend on whether clover has been included in the mixture. The range of products which are clover-safe are much more limited and quite often less effective, particularly on perennial weeds. Chickweed is perhaps the most common autumn weed and if left unchecked can out-compete emerging grass. Chickweed and docks, whilst being the two most common weeds, are not the only weeds to consider. High populations of other weeds such as mayweeds, red dead nettle and charlock may also cause problems.

Timing is important in relation to taking action to control weeds - grasses must be at the 3 leaf stage and clover at the 1-2 trifoliate leaf stage. The new sward should reach this stage approximately one month after sowing, however it may take a little longer for later sown leys.

If there are known weed problems then this will influence herbicide choice. It may mean that on some occasions the clover will have to be sacrificed and resown at a later date, or if known in advance a mixture without clover should be chosen. This is not uncommon where docks are at high levels in the old sward and have not been fully controlled. If clover is to be reintroduced, then an interval of six weeks must be left - this effectively means resowing the following spring.

Taking the time and effort to establish a weed free sward without weed competition will pay off in the long term and ensure that the newly sown species will become well established and offer improved longevity. 

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