United States

Department of


Natural Resources



1351A Highway 146 Bypass

Liberty, Texas 77575

PH.  (409) 336-9145 Ext.3

FAX (409) 336-7224


Tips On Seeding Grasses For Permanent Pasture

July 2000


This fact sheet provides tips for planting perennial pasture grasses by seed.  A “perennial” grass, once established, is one that does not have to be planted every year.  It resprouts from the roots each new growing season.


What Grass to Plant?

What kind of grass will meet your needs?  Do you need summer or winter grazing?  The following are several varieties that do well on most soils in Liberty County:

                        Bahiagrass (Pensacola, Argentine, Tifton 9)

Bahiagrass is a proven producer for Liberty County during warm season months.  Some varieties may take 2 to 3 years to establish a solid stand.

Seeded Bermudagrass (Common, Giant)

Bermudagrass germinates quickly and grows during the warm months.  It spreads by creeping stolons and rhizomes.

Fescue (Fungus free seed)

Fescue is a cool season grass.  It furnishes grazing from November thru May, but must be rested the remainder of the year.


Clover may be planted along with a perennial grass.  Clover provides late winter and early spring grazing.  Louisiana S-1 white clover does well on most Liberty County soils.  Other clovers, such as red clover, crimson clover, and yuchi arrowleaf clover do well on better drained soils.


Soil Test


For best results, take a soil test, preferably six months prior to planting.  Results of the test will determine several things; if lime is needed, how much lime to apply, and the amount and analysis of fertilizer to use for establishment.


Lime should be applied several months prior to planting.  Fertilizer may be applied planting or just before planting, or after the grass plant has reached the two three leaf stage.  If weedy competition is expected, nitrogen fertilizer may be delayed until the grass begins to grow.



Seedbed Preparation


Use a disk, plow or similar equipment to prepare, as a minimum, the top 4 inches of soil surface.  Generally, the better the seedbed is prepared, the better the grass stand will be.  Leave the field as smooth as possible.  If the seedbed is not firm at planting time, a roller should be used.  Often, a timely rain will firm the seedbed and rolling is unnecessary.




Grass should be planted according to the recommended rate, date, and depth, for that particular grass.  Planting rates should be doubled for areas that are subject to erosion.


Most grass seed planting rates are based on a Pure Live Seed (PLS) rate.  PLS is the percent of viable seed that will eventually germinate.  Each bag of seed is pretested and tagged with percent germination, percent dormant seed and percent purity.  Pure Live Seed (PLS) is calculated from these values.  Refer to the last page for a sample calculation of PLS.


In our area, broadcasting the grass seed is the most common method of planting.  The seed should be evenly distributed and in contact with the soil.  After planting do not use a disk, drag, or harrow, instead roll with a roller.


Weeds may be a problem until grass gets established.  Mowing, baling for hay, or limited grazing may be helpful in controlling some weeds and annual grasses.  Monitor grazing closely and remove livestock before seedling damage occurs.


Some grasses take longer to establish than others.  Pensacola bahiagrass may take up to 2 to 3 years.  The seed often has a waxy coat which can delay germination.


Maintenance After Establishment


At the beginning of the growing season, apply a fertilizer according to soil test recommendations.  Top-dress with a nitrogen fertilizer after grazing (or haying).


For maximum quality forage, rotate livestock between pastures.  Graze no closer than the recommended height.  Control weeds by using approved herbicides or by mowing.



The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or marital or family status.  (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.)  Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at 202-720-2600 (voice and TDD)


To file complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326W, Whitten Building, 14th  and Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (202) 720-5964 (voice and TDD.)  USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.



Planting Information

                                                            Common or                                           La. S-1

                                    Bahia                Giant Bermuda              Fescue              white clover  


Optimum Planting          yearlong            3/15 - 5/15*                   9/15 – 11/15      9/15 – 11/15



Depth (inches)              ¼ - ½               ¼ - ½                           ¼ - ½               ¼ - ½


Seed Rate                     15 PLS**          common-2.3PLS**

(pounds per acre)                                  giant-3.0PLS**             10 PLS**          3(inoculate

                                                                                                                        clover seed

          **SEE below to calculate Pure Live Seed (PLS)                                       before


          *Note:    Grass seed may be planted outside of optimum dates where soil temperature and moisture conditions are determined adequate and there are six weeks of growing conditions prior to a killing frost.


After Grass is Established


Minimum grazing Heights (inches)


Continuous                    3                      3                                  6                      4



Rotational                     2.5                    2.5                                4                      4



Rotation Cycle              21-28                28-32                            16-20

For Maximum

Quality Forage (days)


Pure Live Seed (PLS)


Determine how many pounds of bahiagrass seed are needed to plant a 20 acre  pasture.  The recommended  planting rate for bahiagrass is 15 pounds PLS per acre.  The seed tag shows germination = 5%; purity = 92%.



                        First calculate the PLS.

                        PLS = (Germination + Dormant Seed) x Purity/100

                        PLS = (90 + 5) x 92  =  87.4%



                        Now calculate the total pounds of seed.

                                    15 pounds per acre x 20 acres = 343 total pounds of seed


343 pounds = 17 pounds/acre

                                                                           20 acres