A revolution in seed technology is set to help sports turf professionals improve dramatically the efficiency of overseeding.
Launched by world-leading seed producer DLF-Trifolium at Harrogate Week, iSeed heralds new thinking about how groundsmen, greenkeepers and sports contractors can improve the effectiveness of what is a vital function of turf management and maintenance.
Notoriously poor levels of germination characterise many overseeding practices because the seed applied fails to gain a sustainable hold in the sward and seedlings are muscled out by more aggressive, already established cultivars and weeds.
Fertilising may only serve to aggravate the problem by feeding nitrogen hungry Poa annua meadowgrass, for example, as well as weeds and other turf varieties.
A combination of seed covered in a thin coating of fast-acting and slow- release fertilisers, iSeed helps by feeding the plant as soon as it germinates, giving it a kickstart for vigorous growth and improving its chances of thriving, especially in a competitive sward.
“It’s a case of `Feed the seed not the weed`,” said Derek Smith, UK amenity sales manager for DLF-Trifolium. “We are giving the seedling its best shot at gaining hold in what can be a very competitive environment for it.
Overseeding trials have shown that greenkeepers can expect up to 30% more plants and 30% longer roots. That’s a significant improvement on traditional results.”
For some time, DLF Trifolium’s R & D department has been working on products that need lower inputs. ISeed is the result of its collaboration with the Yara fertiliser company, which aimed to combine the best grass seed genetics with delivery in a coating of all the nutrients needed by a seedling.
The nitrogen and phosphate in iSeed are said to be up to four times more efficient compared to broadcast applied ordinary fertilisers. Starter fertilisation is unnecessary, while fewer or no herbicide applications are needed, saving time, money and energy, said Smith.
“The key nutrients are attached to the germinating seed and developing roots. Roots and shoots grow rapidly and the seedlings become strong and vigorous, improving the use of all the available soil nutrients and reducing nutrient losses into the environment by fixation or leaching.”
Faster, more uniform emergence of the plant as well as improved stress tolerance is the result. Quick release phosphorus enhances roots growth, quick release nitrogen bolsters leaf growth, while slow release nitrogen prolongs the effects.
Field tests undertaken by the Sports Turf Research Institute showed that early establishment was considerably improved and indicated that iSeed had “a longlasting positive effect on turf quality” and that “the effect of iSeed was an increase in growth, as reflected by the height measurements”.
Already successfully tested in user trials across Europe, iSeed is appropriate for virtually all sporting applications – football, cricket and golf mixes are available now.
Key benefits of iSeed mixtures