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Seeding Methods & Mulching

Seeding can be done in a number of ways. The most common method is with a farm tractor and a broadcast seeder. On skid trails and small areas, a shoulder-strap cyclone-type seeder may be used to broadcast seed. On steep and severely erodible sites, a hydroseeder can be used to seed the area and apply a mulch to hold the soil in place. Seed should be covered by pulling a section harrow, cultipacker, or brush.

Mulch should be used in specific situations to prevent erosion and allow vegetation to become established. Locations requiring mulch include slopes over 5 percent and sites where vegetation will establish slowly because of soil conditions such as deep sands or heavy clay. Structural measures such as a diversion, which moves concentrated runoff flow, usually require mulch.

Straw or hay should be evenly spread at the rate of 1 1/2 to 2 tons (60 to 80, 50 lb. bales) per acre to attain 65 to 75 percent ground cover. Straw is preferred over hay since it does not decompose as fast. Straw is easier to spread uniformly than hay if a mulching machine is not used. Where there is danger of mulch being blown or washed off the site, it should be anchored by running over with a disc harrow with the discs sets to run straight. On steep slopes, mulch can be anchored with netting and tack-down staples or sprayed with a tackifier.

Many commercial mulches are available and their use may be more practical than using straw or hay. Commercial mulches should be applied according to manufacturer's recommendations.