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How To Plant Broadcast Orchard Grass

Hay bales image by Gina Smith from

Orchard grass is a perennial plant that is tolerant of shade, fairly drought-resistant and endures cold weather. Site preparation is key when planting orchard grass through the broadcasting method. The lightweight seed is spread through the use of a drop seeder, or a seed broadcast attachment. The lightweight seed is placed over the bare soil in overlapping sections to ensure even coverage. The best time to plant orchard grass seed is typically 45 days prior to the first frost in late fall. Seedlings will be die if not mature when temperatures fall below 27 degrees F.

Collect soil from several locations around the orchard grass site. Mix the soil together. Dry the soil. Deliver the sample to your local agricultural extension service for analysis.

Break the soil with a mechanical cultivator. Use a tractor pulled attachment for large fields, while a rototiller can be utilized for smaller areas. The overall goal is break the soil surface and remove as much of the existing vegetation as possible.

Apply the recommended amounts of fertilizer and agricultural lime based upon the soil test results. Incorporate the materials into the soil using the mechanical cultivation method described in Step 2.

Add the orchard grass seed to the broadcast seeder. Apply the seed to the area at a rate of 8 lbs. per acre.

Pull either a spike tooth harrow or some type of brush drag over the freshly sown seed. Cover the exposed seed with soil to a depth of 1/4 to 1/2 inch.

Compact the seed into the soil by rolling a soil roller over the site. The heavy roller will aid in seed germination.


Contact your local agricultural extension service for advice on mixing the orchard grass seed with other varieties. Mixing various species of seeds will reduce the overall seed rate to a bare soil field.

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