Fertilize ?

Asked July 29, 2013, 10:50 PM EDT

I planted alfalfa this past May and it is 12 to 18 inches tall now. Would it be a good idea to fertilize after I cut it or would it be better to wait until spring. Also when would be the best time to plant some orchard grass into it ?

Sheridan County Wyoming

1 Response

It would be best to first have a soil test done if you have not already to know what nutrients are needed. Most likely phosphorus will be needed and possibly potassium but do not fertilize the field with nitrogen. As long as the alfalfa seed was inoculated with rhizobium bacteria the alfalfa will produce its own nitrogen supply. Phosphorus is very slow to move through the soil so fertilizing with it after you harvest the alfalfa would be best. That way the phosphorus will be available for plant uptake by next spring.

With an established stand of alfalfa it is going to be difficult to get orchardgrass to become established itself. However, you might be successful but wait to seed it until this fall once the alfalfa has gone dormant but before the soil freezes. If you have access to an interseeding drill (rangeland type) that would give you the best chance of getting the orchardgrass established.