Alfalfa

Julian125July 29, 2013

Hello forum,
I have a St. Augustine lawn that is in pretty good shape. I have bought some Alfalfa to put put down and would like to know if there are any timing rules regarding this. I would like to put as much down as possible (that is good for the grass) between now and thanksgiving.
Thank you for any advice,
Ian

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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

There are no "rules" regarding applications of Alfalfa on turf grass and it can be applied anytime you have time.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 7:10AM
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Julian125

thank you I shall start today. Is there a time of the year when I should halt? I am near Augusta GA

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 8:51AM
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west9491(6)

Not really a point in feeding grass in the heat of summer when it goes dormant anyway. substitute your fertilizing regimen during this time with compost, etc.

But, plenty of people pour things like alfalfa every summer with no problems at all, so even if you do it's fine.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 5:13AM
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Julian125

My grass is growing vigorously and is not in any way dormant. I'm guessing that this is due to the record rain fall in June and July, but perhaps more to do with temperatures consistently being 5 degrees cooler than normal, it is really surprising me that it is still growing so much.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 8:32AM
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Bryan Scott

St. Augustine does not go dormant in the summer- it dies. That is why you mow high and water (or it rains) 1" a week during the hottest summer months.

I got turned on to Alfalfa last year as my corn became really expensive here. So that left me to find the cheapest alternative with a decent protein percentage. The cheapest ended up being alfalfa pellets at Tractor supply. a 50# bag there was half the price of where I get my dried molasses.

Anyways, about your application- the going minimum rate is 20lbs per 1,000 sf. I do exactly this (no more due to money), and I've seen my lawn do a complete 180 in the last two seasons. I've gone from pretty thin turf to thick as all get-out. Following another post of yours, I've been mowing the last few years like you have- as high mower setting as possible. I really do not have to deal with weeds anymore, and, I don't have to water as much because the ground does not dry out quite as fast as it used to.

On your alfalfa application- it takes a few weeks to see the results. You'll notice your grass turning a little darker green when it does.

I'm by no means an expert on here- just sounds like we are in the same boat and wanted to share my experience.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 10:23AM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

With Alfalfa you will be feeding the Soil Food Web more so then the grass.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 11:03AM
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Julian125

Thanks for the replies, I look forward to learning more and seeing what happens next. I'm thinking though that it would be nice to mow even higher. To achieve this I would have to buy bigger wheels!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 1:29PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Everything I have seen about St. Augustine grasses is the height they should be maintained at is between 2 and 4 inches. Most every mower I have seen can achieve those heights without modification. You want your turf grass blades long enough to utilize as much sunlight as possible but not so long that the blades might block other blades access to that sunlight.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 7:10AM
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Bryan Scott

Agree. Over the past few growing seasons I've had gone from mowing at 2.5 inches to 4 inches because my grass has thickened up so much that I have to raise my mower to the highest setting just to be able to push it through. The 4 inches seems to be the optimal height for my lawn, providing enough cover to keep weeds out, and also letting my top soil layers dry out between waterings, but not too quickly, which helps keep brown patch out, etc.

So, IMO, there are some factors to consider with regards to mowing height. How fast does your lawn dry out between waterings? If really fast, then cutting it higher could be of help. Do you have an issue with weeds sprouting up? Then cutting it higher could be of help. If lawn never dries out, cutting it lower could be of help, but still might now help the underlying drainage issue.

Anyways, to the OP, welcome to the forum and to organic lawn care! There quite a number of people one here (kimmsr included) that know what the hell they are talking about, so don't be afraid to ask any questions. Also, we like pictures!! So take some and post with your questions. Photobucket seems to be easiest way to post pics (what I use too). Once you set up the free account and upload pics to it in a public album, you can paste the picture href code right into your posts here for us to see. It's easy as pie...well, pecan pie anyway.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 11:51AM
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Julian125

Thank you for the additional and excellent replies.
I'm pleased that I've stumbled upon the correct cutting height.
The grass has such different soil and levels of shade that I am learning to adjust based on the quite obvious differing conditions.
I'll keep you updated on progress and will take some photographs.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 12:45PM
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