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how do i make use of chemie lawn clippings?  RSS feed

 
Kelda Miller
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I live an a one acre urban farm next to a cemetary. Thankfully, we don't have enough lawn to make many grass clippings. But I still want some for mulch. We have a heavy mulch drop in fall, but not much around for the spring and summer.

I'd like to be able to use the lawn clippings from the cemetary, but they use a weed and feed. Is there a way I could pile up their stuff, inoculate with mushrooms, and be able to come back in a couple months and use it as a mulch?

This is a good question for a mushroom person. What exactly is  in weed n feed? Can it be made harmless through some mushroom action?
 
Leah Sattler
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A weed-n-feed will contain something to prevent the germination of seeds as well as a fertilizer. It could be corngluten or something less benign I would imagine. Maybe someone will chime in that knows some more specifics.
 
paul wheaton
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Depends on what is in the product.

More importantly, it depends on all the products that have been used for the last 20 years. 

You should assume that their stuff is going to contain clopyralid (half life of 11 years) and tordon (half life of 7 years) (I cannot remember the persistent component in tordon, so I've gotten into the bad habit of just using the commercial name). 

Clopyralid is what has shut down loads of composting operations.  They would take in grass clippings which would taint all of the compost and then if any compost is used in a garden, all (or nearly all) of the garden would die.  Thus putting the composting operation out of business. 

I suppose that something from fungi perfecti would save the day.  Those guys are amazing.  At the same time, I wonder if they did have something, is it commercially available yet?  It would be cool to ask one of their folks to chime in here.

If they still have weeds coming up in their grass, one might speculation that the pesticides have dwindled to the point that they are no longer potent.  To that I say:

1)  No longer potent for some plants, but not all.

2)  While it might not kill plants in your garden at this time, it could make them less happy than if you just didn't use compost made from those clippings.

If I were in your shoes, I would suggest that the mow high enough and frequently enough so that the grass clippings wouldn't mat - so let the clippings stay in the grass.  Keep the clopyralid and tordon out in there grass where it will do the most good - continuing to give the grass an edge over the broadleaf plants in the area.  In fact, those clipped grass blades contain the perfect stuff for feeding grass, and their grass blades also contain the herbicides of many years gone by.  By mulching their own grass, they will greatly reduce their need for fertilizer and herbicides.  And, of course, by mowing high they will reduce their need of herbicides, fertilizer and water
 
Leah Sattler
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yikes! I had no idea some of those things stuck around so long!
 
Kelda Miller
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yes it sounds scary, or at least like another project that will need some time and space to make suitable for the garden.

instead I think i'll petition the neighbors (who don't use chemicals) for grass clippings. I can even haul it back to the farm in my bike trailer. It's not as much as the cemetery, but may very well meet my needs in smaller loads over time.

i'd still love to hear from a mycology expert on this topic though. that's a big wasted resource out there: chemie lawn clippings
 
                                      
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paul wheaton wrote:



Getting rid of grass clippings in our area has become almost impossible because of the toxicity of it as Paul has mentioned. Unfortunate, but certainly true.

Most commercial weed and feeds contain 2-4-D, which is probably the most widely used herbicide for weed control on lawns. 2-4-DB is a much less common form, and not so easily bought, but supposedly a much shorter life.
 
Susan Monroe
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Location: Western WA
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I bought a load of composted topsoil that had Clopyralid in it. I've never seen anything like it. Nearly everything I planted in it died, or was stunted. Weeds wouldn't grow in the pile.  Not a single worm could be found, nor any other creature, sowbugs or cutsworms. it was just a dead, dead, dead pile.

Sue
 
Casey Halone
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i know i know this is an old thread, but got to thinkin --- why not use all this stuff to produce biogas via a bio digester? You know, like all the youtubes i see from india on the rooftops? make your own cooking gas or perhaps enough for a propane type refrigerator?
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
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