Orchardgrass can be seeded in pure stands, in pasture mixes with other grasses, and with legumes. It is relatively easy to establish when seeded in an adequate seedbed at the right seeding depth, rate, and date. Orchardgrass can be seeded in late winter-early spring or late summer-autumn. Late summer seedings are usually preferred when moisture is adequate.
Seeding rate recommendations among states vary from 6 – 25 lbs per acre; however, use of 10-15 lbs/acre is common when it is seeded in pure stands. Seeding rates can be reduced to 4-8 lbs/acre when seeding with legumes such as alfalfa or red clover. Orchardgrass is a small seeded grass withapproximately 416,000 seed/lb and 14 lbs/ bu. Cultipacking after seeding will firm the soil to ensure good seed-soil contact and help to hasten seed germination and seedling emergence. Orchardgrass can be successfully seeded using no-till techniques, assuming all conditions required for conventional prepared seedbed seedings are met (i.e. soil fertility, use of high quality seed, and planting at the proper seeding depth, rate and date) and ensuring adequate control of weed competition. In some areas farmers seed a small grain companion crop with an orchardgrass-legume mixture in late summer-early fall. While this practice has generally been quite successful, careful management considerations are required to prevent the “companion crop” from becoming a “competition crop”. To reduce the likelihood of competition, the small grain seeding rate should be significantly reduced and the small grain spring growth should be removed as early as possible by grazing or by taking an early cutting of baleage or hay.