mow and plow? don't think so . . .

corar4gw(JAX9A)November 15, 2008

I hope I'm addressing the proper forum with this question.

We've purchased a small acerage and are ready to put down a well - but the entire property is overgrown with weeds taller than most men. The well driller suggested we have the property mowed and then have the mowed material (weeds) plowed into the ground so it will "compost faster". My first impulse was to say "NO", don't disturb the soil. The mowed weeds will compost themselves". It will probably be at least six months before we can put even a small tool shed on the property, and I'm thinking a second (spring) mowing would put another layer of "green manure" down.

Am I on the right track with this sort of thinking?

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gardenlen(s/e qld aust)


i can't see the need for ploughing either, could encourage errosion, slashing at appropriate times and let the mulch lay will still break down and a routine of slashing over the year will begin to get the weeds into control and encourage the grass to grow thicker.


Here is a link that might be useful: len's garden page

    Bookmark   November 16, 2008 at 1:18PM
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alexander3_gw(6 Pennsylvania)

No doubt the material will break down faster if it's plowed in, but what's the rush? Leave the cutting where they lay. It's better for the soil and cheaper too.


    Bookmark   November 17, 2008 at 10:46PM
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Belgianpup(Wa/Zone 7b)

When I see that a poster is from FL, the first thing I think is !SAND!

I can't see that there would be any advantage to plowing. If there's any nitrogen in the soil, you'll lose a good bit of it. I would mow, leave it to rot on the surface, and if you can find more organic matter, add it to what is there.

It would be a good idea to get a soil test, too. Your local Cooperative Extension Center (see link below) can either do it, or be able to tell who can. Kinsey Agricultural is even better, and you can ask them questions. Many areas of high rainfall are seriously lacking in calcium.


Here is a link that might be useful: Local Cooperative Extension offices

    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 10:21PM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

The problem with letting it lay is that you are putting a whole lot of weed seeds right on the surface of the ground.If you till it and plant a crop, then let grazers out after you harvest that crop you will get rid of most weeds, typically weedscan survive either grazing or tilling, but not both.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2008 at 1:13PM
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nil13(z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Washington))

Wouldn't tilling bring dormant, buried weed seeds to the surface as well? I know it's not a popular suggestion, but pre-emergent herbicide would help with seed sprout. You could also get a water soluble fungi amendment from someplace like that will eat the slash. This would probably work quite well with the dampness of FL. Mix in some oyster mushroom spawn and some stropharia sp? and you will probably be able to do some serious mushroom hunting.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2009 at 7:22PM
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mike_stubbs(8, Bastrop, TX)

If you plow, you disturb whatever microherd/fungus/earthworms are beneath the surface. Let the microherd bring it down and make it into a mix that can be used by the plant life. That is the way it is done in nature.
You also bring the dormant seeds from underneath the soil. Why create more problems than you already have.
I agree on the soil test then adding as much other organic material as possible, browns and greens, carbon and nitrogen sources.
For a preemergent use corn gluten. May have to apply it a few times in the spring and fall for a year or two depending on the rain and what does not kill weeds will also be used as a source of organic material.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2009 at 5:54PM
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Belgianpup(Wa/Zone 7b)

Getting rid of weeds will be a futile exercise until you can cover the soil with organic material (growing or piled cuttings) thickly enough to either assist them in rotting, assist them in sprouting and then rotting, and some will just rot. No rule holds true for all weed seeds (or all of any kind of seeds).

If you do want to use corn gluten meal, it appears to be crucial to do it at the right time of year. And it affects practically all seed sprouting... except corn -- that, it gives a head start!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2009 at 6:46PM
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