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Dutch white clover

 
Posts: 160
Location: 9A Marion County Fl
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I am seriously considering this for a ground cover in place of conventional ground cover on my property. I am considering it because
A- I feel that a conventional lawn is a complete waste of energy and resources any way its looked at, Id like to think Im more intelligent than the average citizen.

From what Ive read ( and I found this info on the internet so it has too be true :) ) prior to about 1950 DWC was a common ingredient in most lawn seeds, evidently the big chemical companies came along and started the rumor that it was a weed and should be removed for whatever reason.

B- I would like to improve the existing soil I have now so DWC is a legume plant that at a minimum cant hurt. It requires no nothing as far as I read other than an occasional watering if too dry. Ive read that if its too dry it will show it but as soon as the rain hits it springs back quickly. Id like to verify this. Im hoping some of you guys can give me your factual observance.

C- Id like to try perennial peanut ( or similar ) but its very expensive.

I will be planting sun hemp in the near future just for the mass but not now.

Id like to hear from folks that have used it in similar conditions as 9A, Florida would be even better. What did you think? How was it effective at crowding out other weeds, how did you personally plant it and did you have to go back again and again to get where you wanted to be?

Id like to thank some of you that had already suggested this to me some time ago, I knew nothing back then about any of this but now I know next to nothing thanks to alot of you people and Im ready to try what was suggested.

I look forward to hearing your experiences with DWC and assuming I go thru with this I will keep this updated with my experience. Thanks
 
pollinator
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I thought I'd chime in, if only to share my optimistic case-study.

---
I planted some for similar reasons that you describe.

It was a drought year 2 years ago, and around the first week in september I raked about 300ft of curb to make sure the seed could get direct contact with the soil. I cut the grass extra short, knowing it was going into hibernation mode for the winter and wouldn't grow back very much until next spring. There was also a big rain the next day, and I didn't have a hose long enough to reach most areas of the curb, so that's all it got.

It barely sprouted last year, possible due to warm winters (no snow cover = winter kill), but this year I could see areas where it was dense - maybe only 30% of the seed took overall. Note: I'm in a temperate, hot dry desert, on the side of a hill with silt/clay soil, I have never watered it and I did next to nothing to deter the grass.

Also, I haven't noticed it crowding out any weeds, as it doesn't get over 4 inches tall here. And I haven't noticed it ever dying off from lack of water, even though we only get 13 inches of precipitation a year.

---

Assuming you do even 20% more preparation than I did, and taking into account your climate, I would say you'll be enjoying the benefits of a nice short "lawn" in no time :) (It looks wonderful when flowering)

Best of luck!
 
Jason Walter
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Location: 9A Marion County Fl
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Thanks for the input, I need to learn more about its use, I believe at this point that seeding it alone on my site might be an effort of futility ( according to this document https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ag176 ) I have ............. Deep droughty sands result in poor production and should be avoided, as stands quickly disappear..............

Maybe it is wise to mix it in with a more native type of grass, I will keep looking for answers.
 
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Jason,

Clover rarely establishes itself as a pure stand--it is almost always mixed with grass.  This is good because the grass and clover provide each other with nutrients the other needs.  Sowing a mix of the two makes a lot of sense to me.  Just as a thought though, are you planning on planting this on your full 5 acre plot?  Also, how do you plan to spread the seed?  Would you use a fertilizer spreader?  Hand cast?  seed drill?  

the three, a seed drill gives the best germination as it buries the seed as you plant.  But you will have to rent or buy the machine.  A small seed drill looks somewhat like a lawn mower, and that would be a lot of work for 5 acres--I know because I used one for my roughly 1/2 acre lawn.  There are tractor mounted seed drills, but they are not cheap and you will require a specific skill set.  Alternately you could hire someone, but that is still more money so I bet that option is out.

You could hand cast.  The price is basically free--you only use your own labor.  The results are somewhat spotty, but you can still do it this way.

A fertilizer spreader might be the best option.  It costs something like 20$-50$ and you can spread over a fairly large area.  5 acres is a lot to do as the fertilizer spreader is powered by your own muscles, but this is doable.

Another option is to not do the whole plot all at once, and concentrate on specific areas and work out from there.

Just a few thoughts,

Eric

 
Eric Hanson
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Jason,

I just found this article HERE:
https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/lawn-care/lawn-substitutes/white-clover/grow-a-white-clover-lawn.htm#:~:text=3.,growing%20apart%20from%20each%20other.

about using DWC as a lawn cover.  Similar to what I stated above, they suggest mixing some type of grass with the clover.


Just food for thought,

Eric
 
pollinator
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I agree that if there were 5 cows being pastured on your land, with droughty sand. Yes you might lose the stand of dutch white clover.
While that is the use case for the website that you listed earlier, we aren't trying to run pigs or cow or any animals. So our stand would survive.

Lets say we lost 50% of the DWC the 1st year, as the soil health increase a 2nd reseeding will only see a 20% loss.

Other than above ground animals like cows/pigs leading to stand loss, underground animal also have an impact. And by underground I am talking about nematodes. I recommend adding some garlic-chives to the mix. Actually most plants in the garlic/onion family will suppress nematodes due to the allcin compound that they release. Mushrooms also attack nematodes esp oyster mushroom.

Personally I like a mix of 80% DWC and 16% Tillage Radish and 3.2% Chives, and the rest from the mint/thyme family. The grasses will show up by themselves.

If we broadcast we will need 50lbs of seed for $150 but if we drill seeding it will only need 5lbs for $50 due to better germination and survival rates (soil-seed contact). We will however need special equipment, fossil fuel and extra time, we also miss out on the natural selection process where only the drought tolerant seed germinate and survive for more that a week. Which we can quickly address by broadcasting a few more seeds if we see an empty spot.

Wild Dutch Clover Range

 
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My soil is locally called sugar sand, Like a Florida beach without the ocean. Clover is a great soil conditioner and provides forage for bees. Dutch White Clover is great for seasonal lawns, it will die back when it gets hot. So a lawn type grass is good to have for the off season for clover. I have it planted in my pastures along with white ball clover and crimson clover. I hand sowed all of it, it was thin to start with, but has thickened up over several seasons.
 
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I'm waiting to see how much of what I planted out last year comes back.  I'm in 8b and in one of the white counties on that map.  I did get decent germination scattering seed mostly by hand in some areas, others didn't see much.  May be the difference in how well the weeds/grass were established.

Love to hear how it does in 91, Jason.  You should try at least a small area as a test.
 
pollinator
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I'm 7b but oceanic so cool wet summers. We have white clover here between our strawberry rows, it's mixed with grass and a few other weeds, it doesn't seem to out-compete many perennial weeds, it co-exists happily with dandelions and buttercup. it does stop annuals like chickweed and fat hen.
It runs so it needs a nicely defined edge, and for us it gets around 6-7 inches high so it needs mowing if it's going to be walked on. Ours gets mowed around once every 2-3 weeks in summer. Here it doesn't die back at all flowering around the same time as the strawberries are in full production.
 
Jason Walter
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Eric Hanson wrote:Jason,

Clover rarely establishes itself as a pure stand--it is almost always mixed with grass.  This is good because the grass and clover provide each other with nutrients the other needs.  Sowing a mix of the two makes a lot of sense to me.  Just as a thought though, are you planning on planting this on your full 5 acre plot?  Also, how do you plan to spread the seed?  Would you use a fertilizer spreader?  Hand cast?  seed drill?  

the three, a seed drill gives the best germination as it buries the seed as you plant.  But you will have to rent or buy the machine.  A small seed drill looks somewhat like a lawn mower, and that would be a lot of work for 5 acres--I know because I used one for my roughly 1/2 acre lawn.  There are tractor mounted seed drills, but they are not cheap and you will require a specific skill set.  Alternately you could hire someone, but that is still more money so I bet that option is out.

You could hand cast.  The price is basically free--you only use your own labor.  The results are somewhat spotty, but you can still do it this way.

A fertilizer spreader might be the best option.  It costs something like 20$-50$ and you can spread over a fairly large area.  5 acres is a lot to do as the fertilizer spreader is powered by your own muscles, but this is doable.

Another option is to not do the whole plot all at once, and concentrate on specific areas and work out from there.

Just a few thoughts,

Eric



Quote: Clover rarely establishes itself as a pure stand--it is almost always mixed with grass.  This is good because the grass and clover provide each other with nutrients the other needs.

I had read bits and pieces of information about this but your post has enlightened/confirmed

Quote:  are you planning on planting this on your full 5 acre plot?

Yes over time, Id like to experiment with it in sections, starting out small and see what happens

Quote: how do you plan to spread the seed?  Would you use a fertilizer spreader?  Hand cast?  seed drill?  

I had read that it could be broadcast and raked in? I do not know yet what a seed drill is but I will by the end of this evening

Quote:  Alternately you could hire someone, but that is still more money so I bet that option is out.

Hiring someone is an option I have considered, it all comes down to what makes the most sense, my time becomes more valuable the older I get

 
Jason Walter
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Location: 9A Marion County Fl
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Eric Hanson wrote:Jason,

I just found this article HERE:
https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/lawn-care/lawn-substitutes/white-clover/grow-a-white-clover-lawn.htm#:~:text=3.,growing%20apart%20from%20each%20other.

about using DWC as a lawn cover.  Similar to what I stated above, they suggest mixing some type of grass with the clover.


Just food for thought,

Eric


I will check this out and thanks
 
Jason Walter
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S Bengi wrote:I agree that if there were 5 cows being pastured on your land, with droughty sand. Yes you might lose the stand of dutch white clover.
While that is the use case for the website that you listed earlier, we aren't trying to run pigs or cow or any animals. So our stand would survive.

Lets say we lost 50% of the DWC the 1st year, as the soil health increase a 2nd reseeding will only see a 20% loss.

Other than above ground animals like cows/pigs leading to stand loss, underground animal also have an impact. And by underground I am talking about nematodes. I recommend adding some garlic-chives to the mix. Actually most plants in the garlic/onion family will suppress nematodes due to the allcin compound that they release. Mushrooms also attack nematodes esp oyster mushroom.

Personally I like a mix of 80% DWC and 16% Tillage Radish and 3.2% Chives, and the rest from the mint/thyme family. The grasses will show up by themselves.

If we broadcast we will need 50lbs of seed for $150 but if we drill seeding it will only need 5lbs for $50 due to better germination and survival rates (soil-seed contact). We will however need special equipment, fossil fuel and extra time, we also miss out on the natural selection process where only the drought tolerant seed germinate and survive for more that a week. Which we can quickly address by broadcasting a few more seeds if we see an empty spot.

Wild Dutch Clover Range




Quote: I recommend adding some garlic-chives to the mix. Actually most plants in the garlic/onion family will suppress nematodes due to the allcin compound that they release.

Sorry but I do not understand this, when you say garlic/chives......do you mean garlic chives seed?

My understanding is that the seed needs to be very close to the surface, Im not getting this drilling method, in my mind at this point it would put the seed to deep and why would anyone go to this expense/labor if they indeed only need to be broadcast and raked over?
 
Jason Walter
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Dana Jones wrote:My soil is locally called sugar sand, Like a Florida beach without the ocean. Clover is a great soil conditioner and provides forage for bees. Dutch White Clover is great for seasonal lawns, it will die back when it gets hot. So a lawn type grass is good to have for the off season for clover. I have it planted in my pastures along with white ball clover and crimson clover. I hand sowed all of it, it was thin to start with, but has thickened up over several seasons.



Where approx are you located please? Bermuda grass is recommended for my area, Im almost ashamed to admit I know nothing about grass let alone bermuda grass, I hope this grass is avail via seed that can be mixed in with the DWC?

Hi Jason:

Here is a link to the UF publication on Bermudagrass and their varieties: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/aa200 The variety Tifton 85 appears to be the best and most well-adapted to N. Central FL.
 
Dan Scheltema
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Bermuda has a reputation for being very hard to get rid of if you need it gone.  If you're not planning on doing garden beds, may not be an issue.

 
Jason Walter
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Dan Scheltema wrote:Bermuda has a reputation for being very hard to get rid of if you need it gone.  If you're not planning on doing garden beds, may not be an issue.


Im gonna start out with the elevated portion of my property, the area down below where I plan to one day garden Im planning to plant sun hemp one day, possibly never grass, havent got that far. Thanks for the warning
 
Dana Jones
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Jason Walter wrote:

Dana Jones wrote:My soil is locally called sugar sand, Like a Florida beach without the ocean. Clover is a great soil conditioner and provides forage for bees. Dutch White Clover is great for seasonal lawns, it will die back when it gets hot. So a lawn type grass is good to have for the off season for clover. I have it planted in my pastures along with white ball clover and crimson clover. I hand sowed all of it, it was thin to start with, but has thickened up over several seasons.



Where approx are you located please? Bermuda grass is recommended for my area, Im almost ashamed to admit I know nothing about grass let alone bermuda grass, I hope this grass is avail via seed that can be mixed in with the DWC?

Hi Jason:

Here is a link to the UF publication on Bermudagrass and their varieties: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/aa200 The variety Tifton 85 appears to be the best and most well-adapted to N. Central FL.



I am located in northeast Texas. Bermuda does well here, it can stand the heat and makes a good pasture grass. Are you going to plant pasture (tall varieties) or lawn type turf (short varieties)? A good grass site is https://hancockseed.com/ Dutch White Clover stays fairly short and will still look good if it is mowed, like in a lawn. I've done lots of study on grasses because my soil is pure sand and it has been difficult to get grass started. It comes up, does great, then the summer hot sun fries it because it is not established with deep roots and the sand heats up. We have used lots of wood chips, animal manures, and waste hay.

What are your plans for your land? Like previously mentioned, Bermuda is forever. Dynamite wouldn't kill it.
 
Jason Walter
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Dana Jones wrote:

Jason Walter wrote:

Dana Jones wrote:My soil is locally called sugar sand, Like a Florida beach without the ocean. Clover is a great soil conditioner and provides forage for bees. Dutch White Clover is great for seasonal lawns, it will die back when it gets hot. So a lawn type grass is good to have for the off season for clover. I have it planted in my pastures along with white ball clover and crimson clover. I hand sowed all of it, it was thin to start with, but has thickened up over several seasons.



Where approx are you located please? Bermuda grass is recommended for my area, Im almost ashamed to admit I know nothing about grass let alone bermuda grass, I hope this grass is avail via seed that can be mixed in with the DWC?

Hi Jason:

Here is a link to the UF publication on Bermudagrass and their varieties: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/aa200 The variety Tifton 85 appears to be the best and most well-adapted to N. Central FL.



I am located in northeast Texas. Bermuda does well here, it can stand the heat and makes a good pasture grass. Are you going to plant pasture (tall varieties) or lawn type turf (short varieties)? A good grass site is https://hancockseed.com/ Dutch White Clover stays fairly short and will still look good if it is mowed, like in a lawn. I've done lots of study on grasses because my soil is pure sand and it has been difficult to get grass started. It comes up, does great, then the summer hot sun fries it because it is not established with deep roots and the sand heats up. We have used lots of wood chips, animal manures, and waste hay.

What are your plans for your land? Like previously mentioned, Bermuda is forever. Dynamite wouldn't kill it.

I did not know there was a short and long variety. I have a stand of it on my property now that is getting larger, dont know how it got there but Id call it the long type, its seen at about 4.36 of this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HqXfNVf2zyg&t=33s
There is quite a bit of thatch buildup already within this grass and I like it because it keeping anything under it that I dont want from popping thru. I do not know if that is a long or short term thing?
So you say it does well there ( dont know what zone you are in 8A? ) but it looks like your climate is gonna be a little different from mine? I cant afford to use wood chips just to get the grass going. I do not have an endless supply and I cant get local tree guys to bring any in since Im so far back in the woods.
Will you check out the video I linked to and give me your opinion on that grass?
Mine is also called sugar sand, I can literally almost easily have my tractor buried in it if Im not careful.
Here is my local edis publication https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/lh007
Im gonna look at the link you gave.
Plans for site are still up in the air, I just had it rezoned from R-1 to A-3 residential/agricultural, Ive just been told that yes now I can get power finally out there, Ive been feeding my well to water my plants with a generator which is a pain in the butt, I am interested very much in farming but Im getting older and its only a small piece of land so whatever I do would be on a small scale.

Im not at all interested on spending the rest of my life trying to have everything manicured like a golf course, I also dont want to be mowing grass just to keep unwanted weeds down. Id prefer to enhance the property leaning toward horticulture/farming so that whatever decisions I make will keep those goals in mind.  Thanks

Edit: Maybe I cant use the long type with DWC?
 
Eric Hanson
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Jason,

Dana makes some excellent points.  Regarding the grass issue, I have had a frustrating time getting a lawn started.  I established my lawn well before starting down the Permie path, but getting the law established did teach me a few things about grass varieties.  I grew up in Central Illinois, which is a solidly Midwestern part of the nation.  There, Kentucky Bluegrass is the standard grass for lawns.  It looks very nice, I think the nicest of all the lawn varieties, and it has a creeping/spreading behavior that means it will fill in bare spots as they appear.  Bluegrass looks great, but it is a distinctly Northern grass and is susceptible to high heat and drought.  Occasionally another, unrelated variety called K-31 tall fescue is added for drought resistance, but it too is still a northern grass.

In the South, centipede and Bermuda grass is dominant.  They thrive on high heat and they spread VERY quickly.  Personally I don't love them as much as Bluegrass, but many people do and they can make a fine, low maintenance lawn grass.  These grasses are sensitive to cold, so they don't do well in the North.  

Personally, I now live in Southern Illinois which is neither/both Northern and/or Southern.  From the perspective of grass, it is called the transition zone and not a lot of lawn grass varieties thrive here.  People still do have nice lawns, but it takes much more time to get them started.  This brings me to Zoysia grass.  Zoysia grass might be the most bulletproof grass anywhere on Earth.  It has a fairly fine blade like Bluegrass or fescue and it spreads quickly by rhizomes underground.  It makes an incredibly dense turf and absolutely thrives in the hottest weather and can shake off all but the worst droughts.  The turf is so dense that it positively crowds out and suffocates competing weeds.  Instead of growing tall like most grasses, Zoysia grass grows dense.  Many people who have Zoysia grass only mow their lawn 2-4 times a year, and if it is left to grow on its own, it likely only gets to 4-6 inches tall.  It is a fine summer grass, but in cooler winters (probably not your winter) it turns a straw color until the temps warm up a bit.  It could almost be considered a Permie lawn grass as it needs no watering,  fertilizing and no harmful toxic gick to keep out weeds.  This type of grass is generally not spread by seeds (which actually do poorly), but rather by little plugs of grass and roots the diameter of a ping-pong ball.  Typically people go out and buy a little plugger tool and push in the plugs and let them grow and spread and in no time they will expand to fill the gaps--permanently.

A note of caution before you jump on the Zoysia bandwagon though.  Zoysia grass LOVES to spread and tends to crowd out everything in its path.  It can be difficult to keep out of gardens.  Raised beds might help, but I would not count on it.  From what I can tell, the only thing that stops it is shade, and I mean dense shade.

But I think Dana makes a good point about the Bermuda grass, especially if you can find a low growing variety.  It will spread--very quickly as it does so by stolons, which are side-growing shoots of the plant.  Typically, the grass can be pulled from a garden bed without the dangers of leaving behind an aggressive root that will shoot right back up to spite you.

I write this just to point out a couple of options.  As much as I LOVE the idea of planting large amounts of DWC, I just don't have experience with it growing with So.  uthern grasses.  It may very well grow just fine with them, but I can not offer up any specifics.  If you do decide to go with a grass, it will not offer up any nitrogen fixing benefits, but it will at least help cover and hold your sandy soil together and the roots in time will get some carbon into that sand.

This is a whole lot of information here--kinda like drinking from a firehose.  But I was hoping that maybe I could help offer you some suggestions.  I actually would be interested to know if Dana (or anyone) knows if DWC grows in Bermuda grass lawns.

Good luck with all this,

Eric
 
S Bengi
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I broadcast chive seeds and garlic chive seeds and they did well for me. I also broadcast the bulbil from garlic/onion/etc.
If you wanted to transplant live potted plants thats okay too, but thats probably very expensive.


FYI: Alfalfa only get to 30inches a d that is also in the height range of what you were looking for. They thrive in the summer months. So thats another legume you can consider.
 
Jason Walter
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S Bengi wrote:I broadcast chive seeds and garlic chive seeds and they did well for me. I also broadcast the bulbil from garlic/onion/etc.
If you wanted to transplant live potted plants thats okay too, but thats probably very expensive.


FYI: Alfalfa only get to 30inches a d that is also in the height range of what you were looking for. They thrive in the summer months. So thats another legume you can consider.



You say 30 inches a d that............Im confused? Ok reading again I think you left out the n
 
Dana Jones
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I am in zone 8a but spent most of my life in zone 9a and 8b. I'm very well acquainted with heat, LOL. Bermuda should be your grass of choice, you already have some growing there. Since it is fall, you can dig up some of it and sprig in in various places on your property. We went out on the side of the road and dug sprigs of bermuda and bahia and planted them in shallow trenches in one of our pastures. It is now thick and lush. Fall is a good time to do this as it will have a chance to get established before the summer heat heat hits it. It looks to be a turf type, not a pasture type. Pasture types get tall, and would require mowing more often. A turf type stays much shorter. You can even buy turf by the pallet or squares and set it out on your land. The Dutch White Clover stays green here, still blooming up to June then dies back in the summer heat. It would be a good addition to your property as it would add nitrogen to your soil.

Are you going to build a house or any sort of buildings?
 
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Just came back from the local Farmer Coop.  Bought 5 lbs of DWC, 2 lbs of 7 top Turnip, 2 lbs of Rape Seed.  I am clearing some land and expect a layer of shredded wood and chips on top.  I will broadcast this and see how it does over the winter.  They were out of Daikon Radish.
 
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I recommend common bermuda, it is a short grass, not a "named" variety, which costs more for seed. Common Bermuda is tough, resists drought, once established. You may have to water it to help it through the first summer. DWC would compliment it well and provide nitrogen. Mowing both would add humus to the soil, over time. Berrmuda will frost and stop growing in the winter, but will come back out from the roots in the spring. For winter coverage, plant a perennial rye grass, NOT an annual rye grass. The perennial stays short and will reseed and come back.

Now that I have gathered more information about your property and your situation, plant DWC and perennial rye grass NOW. Buy your common bermuda and be ready to plant it in March. If the rye and DWC is thick or tall, mow it before sowing the bermuda. I have sowed the grass seed I have planted by hand. I load my wagon with the grass seed bag, and use a small bucket to pour the seed in. Then I throw handfuls of seed and get pretty good coverage.
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