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looking for an experimental yard  RSS feed

 
paul wheaton
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Posts: 22167
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
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I want to do an experiment on somebody's grass.

I want a big patch of grass.  Something where people are okay with some parts not getting watered in the summer and going dormant (brown).

I want to dig up a big bunch of it and replace the soil/dirt with woody debris and soil and maybe a little hay (this has to be done right or there could be problems). 

Then I want to plant tall fescue. 

Then I want to mark out four blocks

A  B

C  D

Where A and C are the buried woody material.  A and B will be mowed to a height of 1 inch and C and D will be mowed at a height of three inches. 

Anybody wanna volunteer a big patch of grass for this? 


 
                                                  
Posts: 18
Location: Near Butte MT
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about 15 years ago I re did my in law's lawn.

It was in scraggly bluegrass with quackgrass infiltrating everywhere
The first two years I covered the entire lawn with carpet
( turned color side down for asthetic (sp?)  purposes )

This step was essential to kill the quack grass, if you've never encountered it
before - any little bit of root will grow a huge aggressive clump!

Then I tilled it - I wanted to double dig it but had to face the constraints
of time and energy.  Added 6" of composted cow manure and leveled out.

I planted a strain of tall fescue from Gardens Alive ( i think it was )
It grew fast!  filled in well and only needed a bit of re seeding.  After it
was established - I only watered it about an inch per week- one day per
week only. Often in hot times, I had to water the lilacs more than the lawn.
It was up in the spring before the bluegrass and stayed green latest in the fall.

It was only ever mowed to 3" and I had to fight tooth and nail to keep the
other relatives from 'helping" me by mowing for me =)

Across the driveway from my new lawn was still the original bluegrass, they
regularly mowed to 1.5 "!  They had to water it daily to keep it green and since
they really weren't big on playing with it , they rarely watered it enough in the
hot days and it would go dormant.

One time about 5 years after it was finished - we had to dig up a waterline- it
was quite interesting to see how deeply the roots had penetrated.  Over two
feet!!!  so it was harvesting the water it needed from deep in the earth.

This is the most favorite of my lawns!  however one major drawback of fescue
is that it can be toxic to grazing animals.  look up fescue toxicity.  Many horse
people take great care to know what kinds of grass are in their hay.

Although, when i did bring my horses to the house,  they preferred the bluegrass  even at 1.5 " to the long lush fescue  and nibbled it bald  =)

 
paul wheaton
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Posts: 22167
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
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Tall fescue has an endophyte that helps it be a champion grass.  And it is that endophyte that can be toxic to ruminants.  BUT!  There are varieties of tall fescue that are endophyte free, or there is at least one variety that has a ruminant friendly endophyte.
 
                                
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Hi Paul,

I don't have BIG patch of grass, but I have a medium sized front yard I'm looking to change over to something else and it might work for your experiment.  My neighbors aren't the type that would mind. 

Mariah
 
paul wheaton
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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
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Well, this would be a continuation of grass.  And the idea is that it would go unwatered.  So I predict that some parts of the grass will be green all summer and some parts will go dormant brown.

 
                                
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Well, UN-watered grass would be better than watered grass.  I can't plant much garden out front because the deer eat nearly everything.  I have some areas in the backyard where fescue might be the perfect thing also.
 
paul wheaton
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Posts: 22167
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
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Mariah,

Do you have a lot of woody material in your area?  Like branches and twigs or firewood that has become rotton? 

Are you willing to chip in some labor?

I will be putting fiberglass posts in your yard to mark out the spaces where these experiments are going on - is that okay with you?  And I would need some very strict control over the mowing and watering.



 
                                
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Hi Paul,

I don't have tons of woody material right here.  I've begun putting some wood in the bottoms of my vegie garden beds.  But I know where we can get some. 

Are you planning on hand digging all of this?  I hand dig a lot in my garden.  Yes, I'd be willing to work on the project, but it seems like it might be a LOT of hand digging. 

Marking posts are fine, though the spaces might naturally delineate themselves pretty well.  I have some trees and shrubs along the perimeters I want to water but I don't care about the grass.

 
paul wheaton
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Posts: 22167
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
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Yes - hand dug. 

So the whole plot might be 14 by 14.  If the soil is really, really bad, then I might be willing to go as small as 10 by 10. 

I sent you an email.



 
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