Getting the best establishment from grass seed requires skill and care - not only do seeds need nutrients in order to thrive, they must also be able to resist disease. Some seed coatings can offer protection but the unfortunate fact is that the end user is receiving up to 50% less seed numbers per unit weight.
This has a direct and adverse effect on seedling population. The aim is to establish a high density population, not a low one, if you are to benefit most from the high performance cultivars in your seed mixture.
British Seed Houses' fertiliser division has come up with a nutrient solution which can be applied to the seedbed without compromising seedling numbers. It incorporates a clever soil inoculant designed to create the ideal conditions for seedlings to resist pathogens that lead to turf disease.
Two products are being introduced; Fertilis Speed and Fertilis Swing are organo-mineral NPK fertilisers with magnesium, sulphur along with trace elements Boron, Iron and Zinc. The 'secret' ingredient is Bacillus Subtilis, a naturally-occurring, rod-shaped bacterium used as a soil inoculant.
In trials, Bacillus Subtilis spores were shown to grow out from a treated fertiliser granule, resting the pathogens responsible for diseases including Fusarium, Brown Patch and Dollar Spot.
Effects of Bacillus subtilis were shown to improve root growth nine-fold and promote more than twice the leaf growth compared to an untreated plant 21 days after application. For new sowings, use Fertilis Swing at 35-50g/ m2 which combines NPK 14+6+17 with Bacillus subtilis. For golf use Fertilis Speed, which combines NPK 21+5+10 with Bacillus subtilis and should be applied at rates of 10-30g/m2 depending on the season. Granules are visible on application but disappear after five minutes irrigation with 2-3 litres/m2.
British Seed Houses' Simon Taylor explains: "Fertilis offers the opportunity for improved seedling establishment with its combination of nutrients, improved seedling health and vigor. Furthermore, the use of Fertilis is a more economically effective method of delivering seedling nutrients and avoids the reduced seedling density and plant populations associated with seed coatings".