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grass reduction to useable soil

wildlife, gardening, environment, Rural living, Pets and Vets
mutantpoodle
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grass reduction to useable soil

#327478

Postby mutantpoodle » July 20th, 2020, 12:05 pm

last Autumn I decided (well I was told) to establish a 'meadow'
I duly obeyed and skimmed the top couple inches off an area of grass....I could call it lawn but...

that was then and still is heaped grass downwards in a corner and covered in black waterproof

how long should I wait/leave it before using the 'soil' on flowerbeds etc

ie how long does it take to be 'grass free'??

Dod101
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Re: grass reduction to useable soil

#327481

Postby Dod101 » July 20th, 2020, 12:19 pm

You will surely get a good idea by simply taking a look, but I would give it until this coming winter and in the meantime make sure that you keep it well watered and then cover it again as that will help the rotting process.

Dod

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Re: grass reduction to useable soil

#327494

Postby ReformedCharacter » July 20th, 2020, 1:40 pm

If you're keen (and it sounds like you might not be) then the sieved product is highly valued by gardeners as a potting compost, being high in organic matter and nutrients.

RC

mutantpoodle
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Re: grass reduction to useable soil

#327883

Postby mutantpoodle » July 22nd, 2020, 10:34 am

fao...reformed...

its a question of adjectives I'm afraid


I am definitely ''keen''

the real question is ''competent' ???

am watering the heap as we speak!!

Dod101
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Re: grass reduction to useable soil

#327899

Postby Dod101 » July 22nd, 2020, 11:03 am

Gardening is a bit like investing, experience helps, so nil desperandum, it will come right in the end and the nice thing is there is always another year.

Dod

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Re: grass reduction to useable soil

#328006

Postby Nimrod103 » July 22nd, 2020, 6:21 pm

I don't think I would have made a meadow, starting by skimming of the top few inches of soil. That way, you get down to the subsoil which in my experience is only good for growing dandelions, hogweed and couch grass.

I would just have left off the mowing until mid August, and perhaps sow some wild flower seeds, along with yellow rattle*.

*I haven't sown yellow rattle myself, but Monty Don says this plant parasite of grass weakens the grass, and enables wild flowers to flourish.

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Re: grass reduction to useable soil

#328021

Postby Sorcery » July 22nd, 2020, 7:32 pm

I must admit I did not take off the top few inches of soil to make a wildflower meadow/garden. That's a lot of work particularly if the garden is big. Instead I paid for it to be rotavated/tilled roughly, then planted seeds directly. Lately have been having bonfires to burn the grass down to its roots, then adding desirable seeds and then watching to see how it became recolonised. It can be quite interesting to see what comes in. 16 months ago I planted some viper's bugloss on a firesite, Echium vulgare and it flowered this year (it's biennial) but the slightly strange thing is it was surrounded by giant echium which are fairly common here (normally only found naturally in La Palma in the Canaries) . Giant echium are triennial and can grow as high as 3 metres+. They seem to sprout after a fire.
https://www.google.com/search?q=giant+e ... f-6dkzSIgM
Once I learn how to include photos in a post, will put a photo up.

Yellow rattle I have planted too, this year have had rather a lot but it's relocated to places I didn't especially want it! Not sure if it semi-parasitic on just grass or other more desirable plants too which would be a concern. An individual plant doesn't make that much of a visible dent in grass, but guess it makes a 2p coin sized space for another seed.

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Re: grass reduction to useable soil

#328033

Postby Gengulphus » July 22nd, 2020, 8:48 pm

Sorcery wrote:Yellow rattle I have planted too, this year have had rather a lot but it's relocated to places I didn't especially want it! Not sure if it semi-parasitic on just grass or other more desirable plants too which would be a concern. An individual plant doesn't make that much of a visible dent in grass, but guess it makes a 2p coin sized space for another seed.

According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhinanthus_minor, "The plant can associate with many different host species, notably Poaceae (grasses) and Fabaceae (legumes)."

Gengulphus

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Re: grass reduction to useable soil

#328039

Postby Sorcery » July 22nd, 2020, 9:30 pm

Gengulphus wrote:
Sorcery wrote:Yellow rattle I have planted too, this year have had rather a lot but it's relocated to places I didn't especially want it! Not sure if it semi-parasitic on just grass or other more desirable plants too which would be a concern. An individual plant doesn't make that much of a visible dent in grass, but guess it makes a 2p coin sized space for another seed.

According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhinanthus_minor, "The plant can associate with many different host species, notably Poaceae (grasses) and Fabaceae (legumes)."

Gengulphus


That's a concern, that's potentially all the nitrogen fixers at risk. In particular for me that's Birds's foot trefoil, clover and vetches. Touch wood I have not found it there yet. It seems to be sticking to grasses at the moment. Will have to look a bit more closely tomorrow.

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Re: grass reduction to useable soil

#328174

Postby Sorcery » July 23rd, 2020, 1:16 pm

Sorcery wrote:
Gengulphus wrote:
Sorcery wrote:Yellow rattle I have planted too, this year have had rather a lot but it's relocated to places I didn't especially want it! Not sure if it semi-parasitic on just grass or other more desirable plants too which would be a concern. An individual plant doesn't make that much of a visible dent in grass, but guess it makes a 2p coin sized space for another seed.

According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhinanthus_minor, "The plant can associate with many different host species, notably Poaceae (grasses) and Fabaceae (legumes)."

Gengulphus


That's a concern, that's potentially all the nitrogen fixers at risk. In particular for me that's Birds's foot trefoil, clover and vetches. Touch wood I have not found it there yet. It seems to be sticking to grasses at the moment. Will have to look a bit more closely tomorrow.


It would seem that of the 4 clusters of Yellow rattle, 3 are on grass and one is partly on vetch. This latter one does not seem to be affecting the vetch, there is a lot of vetch and the Yellow rattle is possibly only nibbling at the edges. The yellow rattle seems to have found the vetch because of wind dispersal of it's seeds, One to monitor I think but i won't be really worried unless the vetch starts shrinking.

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Re: grass reduction to useable soil

#329647

Postby Sorcery » July 30th, 2020, 11:29 am

Just wondering if mutantpoodle knows what he is going to plant, or has planted. Naturescape https://www.naturescape.co.uk/ do some good seed and seed/grass mixes which I have used successfully in the past. You can choose from acidic/calcareous selections, purpose (insects, longflowering, tall) https://www.naturescape.co.uk/product-c ... -mixtures/
One always seem to get Yellow rattle included. Everything is better value bought in bulk.

mutantpoodle
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Re: grass reduction to useable soil

#330624

Postby mutantpoodle » August 3rd, 2020, 4:38 pm

re the planting
many thanks the ideas...I have already (last autumn sown a coule of packs of 'meadow' seeds (amazon)
and have plenty of growth in what passes for the 'meadow'
I realise it will take a couple years for the 'meadow' to get sorted

my real interest was how long before I could use the 'soil' (old grass) again with basically planting grass in flower beds

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Re: grass reduction to useable soil

#332526

Postby Sorcery » August 11th, 2020, 11:31 pm

mutantpoodle wrote:re the planting
many thanks the ideas...I have already (last autumn sown a coule of packs of 'meadow' seeds (amazon)
and have plenty of growth in what passes for the 'meadow'
I realise it will take a couple years for the 'meadow' to get sorted

my real interest was how long before I could use the 'soil' (old grass) again with basically planting grass in flower beds


I don't think a little grass does any harm so maybe a year at a guess. Might be wormy which won't do the receiving ground any harm.

Mike4
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Re: grass reduction to useable soil

#332536

Postby Mike4 » August 12th, 2020, 12:48 am

mutantpoodle wrote:last Autumn I decided (well I was told) to establish a 'meadow'
I duly obeyed and skimmed the top couple inches off an area of grass....I could call it lawn but...

that was then and still is heaped grass downwards in a corner and covered in black waterproof

how long should I wait/leave it before using the 'soil' on flowerbeds etc

ie how long does it take to be 'grass free'??


I'm a bit bemused by this as a meadow is a field of grasses being grown to make hay, traditionally, AIUI.

I spent a happy summer's afternoon a couple of years ago mowing a meadow in the traditional English way. We used proper English scythes and baled the grass by hand. Something I could get used to easily if I had the energy. Much stopping was involved - to re-sharpen the blade.... honest!

Sorcery
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Re: grass reduction to useable soil

#332698

Postby Sorcery » August 12th, 2020, 3:20 pm

Mike4 wrote:
mutantpoodle wrote:last Autumn I decided (well I was told) to establish a 'meadow'
I duly obeyed and skimmed the top couple inches off an area of grass....I could call it lawn but...

that was then and still is heaped grass downwards in a corner and covered in black waterproof

how long should I wait/leave it before using the 'soil' on flowerbeds etc

ie how long does it take to be 'grass free'??


I'm a bit bemused by this as a meadow is a field of grasses being grown to make hay, traditionally, AIUI.

I spent a happy summer's afternoon a couple of years ago mowing a meadow in the traditional English way. We used proper English scythes and baled the grass by hand. Something I could get used to easily if I had the energy. Much stopping was involved - to re-sharpen the blade.... honest!


I would define a meadow as a field of grasses and other vegetation. There are usually other things growing in a field of mainly grass though, even where grazed, docks, nettles, thistles, dandelions, dog daisies, clovers, buttercups and so on. Surprising how many other species you can find in a grazed field, more if left for hay. I suppose the aim of wildflowers in a garden is not to allow animals to graze or to save the hay product for feed but simply for enjoyment/pleasure in natural beauty.
There are also more mundane advantages, it's low maintenance. One cut a year, no feeding or fertilising, once established (fertilsation encourages grasses). It's as little maintenance as you want to make it. Work in a wild flower garden involves making room for new plants you want to establish, digging out things you don't want such as brambles, ragweed, gorse, thistles and saplings. Your list may vary.
Combine with a pond and you get a far greater variety of plants and animals that will thrive.

Not something I have ever regretted doing (apart from the eventual price for a custom built swimming pond). The local botany club want to visit after I showed one of it's members around, which is encouraging. :D

mutantpoodle
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Re: grass reduction to useable soil

#332714

Postby mutantpoodle » August 12th, 2020, 4:35 pm

fao Mike
qq I spent a happy summer's afternoon a couple of years ago mowing a meadow in the traditional English way. We used proper English scythes and baled the grass by hand. Something I could get used to easily if I had the energy. Much stopping was involved - to re-sharpen the blade.... honest!
uqq

my second job...when i was about 12 was aas a car park attendant....car park was a field basically and one of jobs was to keep the grass down/under control. a 'proper' scythe was provided and it was indeed a relaxing task...once you got ino the rythym!!

2 shillings an hour was big money at age 12 and beat my pocket money in a big way

the purchased meadow seeds are simply a way to get it sorted in a year or so...leaving it to do its own thing would take some years...and I am not certain I can wait!!

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Re: grass reduction to useable soil

#332758

Postby Sorcery » August 12th, 2020, 7:54 pm

mutantpoodle wrote:fao Mike
qq I spent a happy summer's afternoon a couple of years ago mowing a meadow in the traditional English way. We used proper English scythes and baled the grass by hand. Something I could get used to easily if I had the energy. Much stopping was involved - to re-sharpen the blade.... honest!
uqq

my second job...when i was about 12 was aas a car park attendant....car park was a field basically and one of jobs was to keep the grass down/under control. a 'proper' scythe was provided and it was indeed a relaxing task...once you got ino the rythym!!

2 shillings an hour was big money at age 12 and beat my pocket money in a big way

the purchased meadow seeds are simply a way to get it sorted in a year or so...leaving it to do its own thing would take some years...and I am not certain I can wait!!


Sorry for possibly interrupting but this is my passion at the moment. I think a purchased wild flower selection is a very sensible starting point. I have been very pleasantly surprised by some seed collections. One thing you could do right now, is collect seeds of plants you like that grow well in your local area and add them to your wild flower area now or in the spring. I overwinter seeds in the fridge. A good tip is to mix the seeds with bullders sand, add a little water to make it sticky and spread that. Seeds stick to the wet sand and ensure the sand+seeds do reach the soil surface rather than blow away.


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