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moldy hay might be the best lawn fertilizer ever

 
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Take moldy hay and tear it up into chunks.  Then sprinkle the chunks onto the lawn before mowing.  Then mow it in.  Simple!

The hay will add nutrients, organic matter and make it so you don't need to water as often.

This may be the very best fertilizer for a lawn.  I've been able to get hundreds of bales of moldy hay for free!







 
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Paul, I used to LOVE hay as fertilizer and grandma always said horse manure was gold but now days I'm not so sure:

http://www.motherearthnews.com/Grow-It/Milestone-Herbicide-Contamination-Creates-Dangerous-Toxic-Compost.aspx

I have next door neighbors that have horses but after reading a couple of reports like this one I no longer use any of thier manure.  I don't know where they are getting thier hay.  And I don't know any farmers who DONT spray thier hay for weeds.

Just another reason that permaculture is a grand idea; if we create a closed loop, of sorts, we know the source of all of our material.
 
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Hi Paul,

What is the difference between straw and hay?  How do I know which is which?  I live in MA, and around here contractors are required by law to use hay/straw bails arround the perimeter of their worksites.  When they are done, it is easy to go and ask for them--usually they need to pay to dispose of them, so the contractors are happy to have you haul them away for free.

My question is, how do I know what I am getting?  Would it be bad to use straw on the lawn if that is all that I can find?  Thanks!
 
                        
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tjpavlov wrote:
Hi Paul,

What is the difference between straw and hay?  How do I know which is which?  I live in MA, and around here contractors are required by law to use hay/straw bails arround the perimeter of their worksites.  When they are done, it is easy to go and ask for them--usually they need to pay to dispose of them, so the contractors are happy to have you haul them away for free.

My question is, how do I know what I am getting?  Would it be bad to use straw on the lawn if that is all that I can find?  Thanks!



Straw contains no seeds, it's just the stalks.  Hay is the whole plant, stalks and grain. 

Either hay or straw would work for this purpose, though keep in mind that if you use hay, you may be introducing a potentially unwanted plant to your lawn.

I recently did some sheet mulching and used straw because I didn't want any grasses popping up in my new garden.
 
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I have about horses and about 10 acres of hay in middle Tennessee.  In the 5 years I have been on my land I have not used any fertilizers or herbicides on my hay fields.  Around here hay is a low value crop and hay fields recieve little nurture.  I don't know of anyone who puts up mixed field grass hay who does.  Around here most hay is local except during severe drought years.  Much is sold directly from the farmer to the consumer.  I bet that your neighbor can tell you where their hay is from any they can talk to the farmer about how it is grown.

Higher priced hay like alfalfa or coastal bermuda is much more likely to have had chemical treatments.  I would also suspect that hay from intensive hay growing areas is also treated.

Larry.
 
paul wheaton
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The only difference between straw and hay is the time that they are harvested.

Hay will be greener. It is green growies cut and dried while green. Hay is usually used as animal food - like feeding cattle in winter.

Straw is the same stuff allowed to go dormant. Grasses will often turn yellow. Most straw comes from grasses that went dormant complete with a big seed heat. Grass seed is called "grain". The grain will be nipped off the top of the seed stalk by a combine leaving the yellow leaves and stalks about two feet tall. What is remaining will be cut and baled. Straw is usually used for bedding for animals. Sometimes the animals will nibble at it.

Both hay and straw can contain seeds.

Both hay and straw can contain weeds.

Both hay and straw can contain weed seeds.

Hay makes a great mulch for plants that like a lot of nitrogen. Straw makes a great mulch for plants that prefer less nitrogen. "Strawberries" get their name from doing so well when mulched with straw.

Most hay and straw contain persistent herbicides. If you use hay or straw with persistent herbicides as a mulch, your growies will be stunted or die. Except for grasses (the persistent herbicides are typically broadleaf herbicides that are designed to kill anything but grass).





 
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Hi Paul,

I just learned something! It makes sense that moldy hay would be great mulched into a lawn, but I never thought to do that.
It make good compost, too.
 
paul wheaton
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Diane Lewis wrote:
It make good compost, too.



Most hay is ready to become compost: just add water and a bit of rich soil. The carbon to nitrogen ratio is nearly perfect!

But .... when it comes to mulch, I would much rather use hay directly than compost it and then use it as a mulch.
 
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