With fair weather forecast for the coming weeks there is an uptake in farmers and gardeners out and preparing for the new season.
While this year has been particularly wet, the forecast is now for dryer and much warmer weather. The long rage forecast is always available via the UK met office here.
Check your Soil
Soil temperatures have risen from 4 degrees to 7 degrees in most of the UK in the recent weeks with the warm weather likely to push them above 8 degrees before mid-March.
Wild and native planting can begin in earnest for a range of grass types. While popular species like clover would benefit from a later growing cycle, ryegrass, festuloliums and Timothy grass are all viable and actually benefit from the higher soil moisture level during their early growth.
Lighter soils are more suitable for early season growing, it may still be a few weeks before it is ideal for heavier soils to take a seed. The same applies to reseeding and over-seeding.
A few checks and precautions should make early season a success.
First a soil fertility check. Check for nutrients, weeds and compaction. Digging out a small test area to see if the soil is suitable or needs remedial work (or time).
A wet winter also causes certain weed types to thrive and you may find issues with your Autumn planting which may have had ingress from unwanted weeds over the past 3 months. Now is definitely a time to consider weeding your Autumn sewn seed beds.
Chickweed, docks, thistles, knotweed, mayweed and redshank have all been on the increase over the past 3 years so dealing with any issues with ingress from these would be a priority.
Dr Nicola Perry of Agriscience says:
“If chickweed is the main problem, or where significant dock populations were present at the time of reseeding, treating with Envy (florasulam + fluroxypyr) is a good idea as this can be sprayed at a good dose rate of 1.5-litres/ha. It also works well at the start of the season when there are dramatic variations in day and night time temperatures.
“Where there is a wide range of weeds growing, including thistles, treating with Leystar (clopyralid + florasulam + fluroxypyr) would be better as this has a broader spectrum of activity. Both Envy and Leystar are very safe to grass but will kill clover. If having legumes in the mixture is important, spray out the weeds first and stitch clover back in after three months”