lawn advice

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Prometeo

Minister of Fire
Jan 7, 2022
549
IT
Hi everyone I would like some advice on a green lawn, that does not need mowing 😂
Is there something or is it a utopia?
 
A completely weed-free lawn needs less mowing than a weedy one. Grass grows slower than many lawn weeds, in most climates, and all but halts in our summer draughts. I feel vindicated each July, watching some of my neighbors choke on dust while mowing their bone-dry landscape, because the weeds never stop growing. I can go 3-4 weeks without mowing, in some of our dry summers.

Of course, a weed free line does require either money or time, or some mix of the two. Back when I tracked the costs several years ago, I found early season weed block, four rounds of fertilization, grub control, and fall overseeding would run around $1200 per acre per season, if you have the equipment to do it yourself. I wouldn't be surprised if that number is nearer $1500 or higher recently, the fertilizer and seed industries were both impacted by Putin and COVID.
 
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thanks

@KC2004
I mean natural, to be sown

@Ashful
I know there are some types that stay about 10 centimeters at the most, or the clover, I'm looking for something alternative, I'm not very demanding, regarding the final result, just need a kind of weed that doesn't ask for my attention, but at the same time it helps to fix nitrogen in the soil, improving the structure and counteracting erosion.
 
Clover would be good for that then. I personally don’t care for my lawn I just cut it once every 2 weeks or so when the weeds need to be cut lol. As long as somethings green I’m happy, as I don’t have time to take care of a beautiful lawn
 
The Kansas prairie had buffalo grass. If watered it needed mowed. If not watered it would get grassy but not long. Weed control was still an issue. When it’s dry it goes dormant Very drought resistant.

I’m not suggesting you import it but look for something similar from your region.

Edit… i never remember it looking as green and thick as it does in that picture.
 
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You can look into short/dwarf fescue, but you may find yourself watering due to a short root.

If there was a free lunch in grass, everybody would be doing it.
 
You don’t get enough rain fall to have a green lawn without watering I’m guessing. Think about what grows on native grazing land in your climate. Taller mixed plant meadows look great IMO but really aren’t considered lawns. They can be mowed or hayed once or twice a year. Depending on rain.
 
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Thank you all 👍

I think I selected "bermuda grass" and possibly also a little clover to increase nitrogen in the soil. Bermuda grass is known to be ineradicable, very deep, and not too high. My problem, this soil is very, very clayey, How can I improve it without tons of organic material?
 
The only way to improve clay in any type of short time is to cover it. As your trees grow, they will be able to naturally cover it with fallen leaves. The organic matter will keep the clay moist and roots will be able to penetrate it.

Check out the YouTube video Back to Eden to see how 1 guy beat back his clay soil.



Check out myrtle. It’s probably called something different over there. Search Vinca minor as it’s the scientific name. It’s a sun loving ground over. It’s native to Portugal and France, so maybe it’ll take dry well. The Iberian peninsula is very dry away from the shore.
 
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thanks @EatenByLimestone
I've partially seen the video for now but it's just fantastic, I was looking for a way to improve the land, fertilize, I knew of the precious help of worms, of their tea! this solution solves practically everything!😂 I thought these covers only blocked unwanted growth, I didn't know all the benefits. I've tried a couple of times to make a vegetable garden here, but the ground was so hard;
I'll start tomorrow around my trees.
 
Thank you all 👍

I think I selected "bermuda grass" and possibly also a little clover to increase nitrogen in the soil. Bermuda grass is known to be ineradicable, very deep, and not too high. My problem, this soil is very, very clayey, How can I improve it without tons of organic material?
Where are you in Italia?
 
hi @gzecc

is a zone 8 USDA

Screenshot_20231005-090632.png
 
I just "converted" a little over 1/2 acre (2500 m2) of terrible dry rocky clay to topsoil to useable topsoil as follows:

1. Rake all of the rocks out of surface. For me, this meant several days and several cubic yards (cubic meters) of rocks, it was really terrible stuff.
2. Spread compost over surface at rate of about 10 cubic yards per acre (2.5 m3 per 1000 m2).
3. Spread gypsum over surface at rate of about 2000 lb. per acre (225 kg per 1000 m2).
4. Plug aerate aggressively and repeatedly, to work this into top 2".
5. Seed, fertilize, water. Use a seed that has about 20% fast-growing element, such as 20/80 rye/fescue.

The fast-growing seed is necessary to keep the compost and the long-germinating seed from washing away with rain storms, as even after aerating, this soil will tend to rut on any hill without grass to hold it. Using this method, I had a "lawn" in about 10 days, meaning the fast-growing rye had taken hold. It was ready for mowing around 4 weeks, and now around 6 weeks is starting to look like a real lawn with the fescue having come in.

I have no experience with Bermuda grass. It's classified as a warm season grass, likely no good for our climate. We tend to only use cold season grasses for our lawns, here.
 
thanks @Ashful

gypsum quantity and compost, I would have thought more material was needed, they are 2500 square meters, I'd say it's very acceptable, those quantities, considering the improvement, how it works, do you have analyzed the soil, or is gypsum notoriously recommended for clay soil?
 
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thanks @Ashful

gypsum quantity and compost, I would have thought more material was needed, they are 2500 square meters, I'd say it's very acceptable, those quantities, considering the improvement, how it works, do you have analyzed the soil, or is gypsum notoriously recommended for clay soil?
Gypsum is recommended for most clay soils, with the exception of sodic clay soils, meaning clay that's high in sodium. That's mostly found in coastal regions, I believe, not much of an issue for in-land properties.

But when you start digging into soil amendments, you will find that every "expert" disagrees with the next. YouTube is full of hundreds of hours of videos on this subject, with each apparently disagreeing with the next. I can only say what worked for me, and that it was based on some research. Your local soils might be much different than mine, so it would pay to run the recommendation by someone local, to see if they agree or recommend something different.

The one thing they ALL agree on is that the best thing for the soil is to get something growing in it. The gypsum and compost are merely the temporary means of creating a structure that permits this.
 
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hi @gzecc

when you return to visit Basilicata if you pass through this area for example if you are headed towards Rome Let me know, we'll have a glass of wine together🍷😎
 
thanks @Ashful

when I was at the forestry nursery, I tried to open the conversation about clay soil, but I was almost laughed at however I tried mixing the soil with vinegar and it makes a good foam the pH is around 6, I tried with different systems, the problem is the extreme compactness, for example now that I'm putting in new trees, I have to use a lot of bought black soil, otherwise the plant would remain full of air pockets around it, with this soil, Anyway, for the moment it is enough for me to create a good environment around trees, and create a vegetable garden with the covering technique, then another 2.5 acres I'll see what to do, maybe I'll plant fruit trees, and with leaves, and my intervention too slowly the ground will improve
 
We have Bermuda grass here in Georgia along with heavy red clay. The only soil amendment I use is a mulching blade when I cut the grass.
I grew dahlias in a bed for a while. The Bermuda grass would send their rhizomes through the dahlia bulbs. It invades everything, it goes over, through, or under any obstacles.

"How do you care for Bermuda grass in Georgia?


Bermuda is drought and heat tolerant, grows in a wide range of soil conditions, and is pleasing to the eye. This grass needs full sun (it does poorly in the shade), adequate watering and monthly fertilizing to look its best during the spring and summer months. During the winter, this grass goes dormant, turning brown."

 
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pH is around 6
So, if pH is around 6, you'll want to fix that before spending any money on anything else. Without getting the pH right first, you're really just throwing away money on fertilizer.

The good news is that fixing pH is one of the cheapest things you can do. The bad news is that it takes a huge amount of product, by weight. You'll want something like 25 lb. per 1000 ft.2 (120 kg/1000m2) 100% pure CaCO3, or scaled accordingly to purity. We call this product lime, and it's available in Dolomitic or Calcitic varieties, a local could tell you which is likely better for you.

You will question yourself, putting down this much product, as shifting your pH by 0.4 will require something like 6x as much product by weight as you'd ever use when fertilizing. That's just how it is when shifting pH, thankfully lime is very cheap.

Here's an interesting read on soil pH... and gypsum: https://vric.ucdavis.edu/pdf/soil/ChangingpHinSoil.pdf
 
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thank you @Ashful

for advice, that file is certainly very useful, In fact, however, I have many doubts.
Before measuring ph I thought it was high, because I have a reaction with vinegar, and some say clay soil is basically alkaline, but being very compact it is also normal for it to be acidic, I don't know if the measurement I did is conclusive, I'd like to find a way to unpack the clay, avoid it being so sticky when wet and hard when dry
 
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A soil test is something like $25. Just collect a sample, take it to your local turf company, and have them send it out for testing!

Running out now, but I'll post a soil report later. I do them at least once per year.
 
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pH is a logarithmic scale. Compost is neutral, so it will allow your trees to grow and they will slowly bring the regular soil right. Modifying soil is a losing battle for people. Nature has figured out how to do it though!
 
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