Soil assessment prior to a grassland reseed

Read our tips on how to soil test a field and assess soil structure for a grassland reseed.

Back to: Preparing to reseed grassland

What do I need to assess before reseeding?

Six months before reseeding, it is important to check the following:

  • Make sure the field drainage system is working and fit for purpose
  • Look for wet areas and indicator species such as rushes
  • Clear drainage ditches and ensure all outflows are working correctly

How to soil test the field

  • Walk the field in a ‘W’. Avoid gateways and feeding areas
  • Twist a sampling auger/soil corer down to 15 cm (if planning to plough) or 7.5 cm (if only cultivating the surface)
  • Collect 25 plugs of soil in a bucket and mix well
  • Take out a subsample, seal the soil in a plastic bag and label
  • Send the sample to a soil laboratory (via local co-op, fertiliser merchant or independent company)
  • Sample at least two months after the last application of manure, fertiliser or lime

How to soil test the field

Use the four steps in the AHDB Healthy grassland soils pocketbook:

  1. Surface assessment
  2. Soil extraction
  3. Soil assessment
  4. Soil scoring

If the soil scores 1, 2 or 3, a ‘minimum-till’ reseed rather than ploughing may be sufficient. However, if the soil scores 4 or 5, then ploughing would be recommended.

Decision tree to aid in decision making if soils score poorly. Copyright AHDB.

Useful links

AHDB Field drainage guide

AHDB Healthy grassland soils pocketbook

If you would like to order a hard copy of the Field drainage guide or Healthy grassland soils pocketbook, please contact:

Emailpublications@ahdb.org.uk

Telephone: 0247 799 0069

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