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Mowing before seed. I don't understand.

 
Kyle Ignaitis
Posts: 20
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If I mow before seed, say for 10 years, grasses and weeds would only continue to pop up if wind blew them in from off site right?

Say I put up 4 infinite walls around my lush green property, and I mowed every spring before seed, would I be left with dirt and no bugs/life?

A good idea was brought up, to mow in sections, but even that sounds risky to me if I want to keep my bugs and majority of plant life (Besides sticker ball bushes which is what makes me want to mow them down!)

Thank you

-Kyle
 
Amit Enventres
Posts: 327
Location: Ohio, USA
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fish food preservation forest garden
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First, you have bugs/miniture ecosystem in the area already and so it won't be sterile, even if you close it off. If you close it off for 1 million years, you'll probably have your own unique varieties to your little plot locally adapted and can name each of them off your great-great-great (etc. etc.) offspring.

Let's break this down to activity:

Mow before seed: How long does it take for grass seed to germinate at the temperature your putting it out? A week? Well, the weed seed is already there moist and working towards germination. They have the headstart if you mow then seed. Try the other way around or soak your seed a bit (esp. in a compost tea) so that the desired seed has a leg-up or atleast a more even start with the weeds.

Infinite walls: Hedges & windbreaks do help with wind blown seeds, Especially if the ground around the hedge is heavily mulched or allelopathic so that the weed seed that lands on the windward side can't grow. They have to wait until a passing rodent carries them within your yard. So, it helps. Especailly if your next to a weed patch.
 
Peter Ellis
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Location: Central New Jersey
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Kyle, there are a couple of things going on in this context.
First, the concept of the "seed bank" - every soil has one, it is all the ungerminated yet viable seeds that are lying dormant in the soil, waiting for the conditions that favor them. Seeds can sit around in this state for long periods, years for some. So, let's say you mow everything down before it seeds. Your next round will come from your seed bank in the soil, plus whatever migrates onto your property. Lots of vectors for migration of seeds onto your property; animals will carry them in, the wind will blow them on, water running off of an adjacent property will carry some, so there is always going to be some question of new seed coming in.

Then there's the whole issue of how plants propagate. Seeds are only one mechanism. You get rhyzomes and runners, bulbs divide, you get layering (where a branch touches the ground and sets roots, making its own new plant) - plants are adapted to reproducing despite all kinds of obstacles.

So you mow it all down before it seeds - sure about that? different plants are setting seeds at different times, some plants are so low growing you probably are not going to mow their seed heads off. But even if you do mow so that none of your plants go to seed - your plants will respond, at least some portion of them, by reproducing through other means. So you will keep having plants. You may be selecting for exactly the plant you want to eliminate, depending upon whether or not it is one that has other means of multiplying and is favored by you chopping down its competitors. You may actually be able to beat it back, if it is seed dependent.

So, let's say you have a problem plant that propagates by seed and only seed. You cut it down and next year all of its sees from two years ago that are still in the ground take their shot. It could be years before you have used up the seed bank.

But, will mowing before things go to seed lead to a desert? Not very likely. It may lead to an area totally dominated by plants that reproduce without seeds. It may lead to plants developing that grow really, really low fruiting bodies that hide below your mowing level, along with those that do not need to set seed at all.

Ever notice how some lawns have tall, upright dandelion flowers and some have little buttons right at ground level? You can tell who mows, how often and how high
 
R Scott
Posts: 3306
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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Mowing before seed is a common saying around here for pasture/hay ground. It will reduce some of the less desirable annuals. Not all.

It is a tool. Not the only tool, not always the right tool for the situation.
 
Kyle Ignaitis
Posts: 20
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Thanks everyone! I just packet a 10lb 5g bucket and then some with the spike ball culprit. They are similar to forget me nots. Where the soft fuzzy fruit turns into a hard sticker.

I finally figured that pulling their taproot is easier than picking them out of our cats fur and sleeping with them in our bed sheets for months. And cheaper than a $500 mower that I don't really need yet.

Composting them sounds risky. I think I may have to burn them.

Still probably have another 5g to go, with the few elusive ones and ones still growing.

Thanks again for teaching me something, the internet is FULL of useless IMHO lawn care info and no permie stuff!
 
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