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The primary reasons for seeding failures are the lack of attention to planting practices including:

  • Elimination of competition – existing vegetation will out-compete seedlings trying to establish. Competition must be controlled to improve chance of establishing seeding.
  • Seedbed preparation – the cultural treatments needed to produce a suitable medium for seed germination, establishment and growth. A firm weed free seedbed is essential.
  • Seeding operation – placing the seed at the proper depth (seeding too deep is very common) with good seed-soil contact at the proper time to ensure timely germination and establishment.
  • Protection of planting from grazing and/or traffic following seeding is critical to allow adequate time for seedlings to establish. A good rule of thumb is when plants are producing seedheads, they are well established.

Other common causes for seeding failure include inadequate moisture and/or unfavorable soil conditions. Seed may germinate but fail to emerge due to a soil crust. After emergence, seedlings may die because of adverse climatic conditions or damage from pests. In some cases failure may occur during the second year under unusually dry weather conditions.