Seed coating technologies have been used in the agricultural and horticultural industries for several decades (Bishnoi and Wilhite, 2005; Otey, 1983; Woodhouse and Johnson, 1991). Seed coatings have been used to deter insects (Nault et al., 2006) and fungi (Salter and Smith, 1986), incorporate beneficial microbes (Rice et al., 2001), enhance seed handling characteristics, and improve germination and seedling establishment (Peltonen-Sainio et al., 2006; Scott and Hay, 1974). Although these technologies have been successful with specific crops such as vegetables and legumes, their success with forage or turfgrass seeds has been modest (Dowling, 1978; Hathcock et al., 1984a, 1984b).
Over the past 5 years, turfgrass seed companies have begun to coat many lawn grass seeds with seed coatings that are described as having a beneficial effect on germination and establishment. Earlier studies of seed coatings on grass seeds have shown minimal positive effects (Bruneau et al., 1989; Dowling, 1978; Hathcock et al., 1984a), especially when using starch-based polymers (Berdahl and Barker, 1980). Based on these earlier reports that indicated minimal effects of polymers or other seed coatings on turfgrass seed germination and establishment, it was hypothesized that current seed coating technologies are providing minimal benefits to turfgrass seed. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of two seed coating technologies on the establishment of two turfgrass species in three soil types.
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