Topics : Species and Forage Variety Trials : Species Fact Sheets : Chicory
Additional chicory information via the Forage Information System (FIS)
Seeding into a Tilled Seedbed - A moist, firm seedbed is required for forage chicory, chicory-grass, or chicory-legume mixtures. Spring seedings (April 15 through June 1) of chicory have been successful in Pennsylvania. Summer seedings have been successful in New Zealand but have not been tested in Pennsylvania. If chicory is seeded in the summer, seeding should be completed by early August. Cool temperatures and shortening day lengths in the fall impede chicory stand development. Therefore, summer seedings later than recommended may not establish adequately to survive Pennsylvania winters.
Seed may be either drilled or broadcast. Drilling is preferred because it provides a more uniform depth of planting. Plant chicory seeds .25 to .5 inch deep. If chicory is to be broadcast seeded, cultipack the seedbed before and after seeding. This will ensure that the seeds are not planted too deep and that there is good seed-to- soil contact.
Seeding into an Existing Pasture - Broadcasting or no-till drilling the seed are two methods that can be used to seed chicory into existing pastures. Broadcast chicory seed onto existing pastures during the late winter or early spring when the soil freezes at night but thaws during the day. The freezing creates ice crystals which melt during the day leaving small holes in which the seeds can fall. To improve the success of this method, also called frost seeding, be certain to broadcast the seed early in the day before the soil thaws and becomes "greasy".
No-till seeding of chicory into existing pastures has been successful in Pennsylvania. However, proper management is necessary to improve potential establishment with this method. Suppression of the existing sod to reduce competition is the first step in no-till seeding of chicory. Refer to the Penn State Agronomy Guide (available at county extension office) for detailed information of sod suppression for no-till seeding. Seeding early (before May 15 in central Pennsylvania) in the spring or using a molluscide bait will reduce the potential damage associated with slug feeding on chicory seedlings. Generally, slugs hatch around May 15 (in central Pennsylvania) and seeding prior to slug hatching reduces the slug problem.
Seeding rates in mixtures- Chicory seeding rate varies with seedbed condition, method of seeding, and quality of seed. Generally, when seeding chicory alone, rates of 3 to 4 lb per acre are sufficient. When seeding in mixtures, it is advantages to include a legume because its nitrogen fixing capability. Seeding rate recommendations for chicory with various other cool-season forage species are given in Table 1. Germination of stored seed can decline rapidly, therefore seed should be used promptly and not stored from year to year.
No herbicides are currently registered for use with chicory either during or after establishment. Therefore it is important to select fields with little weed pressure for chicory seeding. If weeds do become a problem during establishment, mowing can help suppress the weeds. Chicory regrows rapidly after mowing and can out-grow most weeds.