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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 76 No. 6, p. 879-883
    Received: May 23, 1983

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Tall Fescue and Kentucky Bluegrass Response to Fertilizer and Lime Seed Coatings1

  1. A. L. Hathcock,
  2. P. H. Dernoeden,
  3. T. R. Turner and
  4. M. S. McIntosh2



Slow establishment of turfgrasses from seed is frequently associated with inadequate or improper application of fertilizer and lime. Coating of these items on seed may enhance germination and seedling growth, and reduce time and energy involved in seedbed preparation, particularly when establishing turf on steep slopes or over large areas of land. The objectives of this greenhouse study were to determine the effects and potential benefits of coating ‘Kentucky-31’ tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) and ‘Adelphi’ Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.) seed with various rates and combinations of N, P, and K fertilizers and lime (L). Seedlings were grown in either a Sassafras sandy loam (fine-loamy, siliceous, mesic Typic Hapludult) or an Evesboro sandy loam (mesic, coated Typic Quartzipsamment) soil. Seed of both species coated with treble superphosphate exhibited little or no germination. The harmful effect of treble superphosphate seed coatings was probably due to hydrogen ion toxicity to developing embryos. Dicalcium phosphate (P-source), urea (N-source), sulfate of potash (K-source), dolomitic limestone, and seed coating adhesives (Methocel A-15 and gum arabic) had no deleterious effects upon seed germination or seedling growth. Seed of both species coated with P (22 kg ha−1) alone or in combination with N (24 kg ha−1) generally exhibited significantly improved germination percentages when compared to other treatments. Seedlings from NP and NPKL treatments generally exhibited improved growth compared to seedlings grown without N and P combined. This study provides evidence that coating seed with L and fertilizer improves germination and seedling development in Kentucky bluegrass and tall fescue. Seed coatings therefore may provide an alternative to soil incorporation of lime and fertilizers in situations where proper seedbed preparation is not feasible.

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