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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Upstate South Carolina
 
2021-03-02, 22:13

No, not the kind getting legalized across the US in liberal states... I'm talking about the kind in/on the dirt in a yard near you.

I'm in a position where I finally have to plant some but have no idea what to use. I have trees around me and plenty of sun during the summer. The thing is, I live on a hill and need something the help keep the clay from washing away. Yep, rocky clay is the best way to describe my soil. In Va Beach it was easy compared to this, I just let nature do its thing and there was always something green on my dirt. Here I have a bunch of exposed clay and rocks. Construction didn't help the situation either.

So what kind of grass should I be looking for? It is starting to warm up so it seems like the time to get some seed on the ground too.
I'm very much in the "Transition Zone" on this particular map:


I don't think I'll be watering it much but would do so if I had to for the sake of getting it to take root. Generally speaking, I'm not a yard guy and only cut the grass so we can see the snakes before they surprise us. I'm more after keeping my clay at the top of the hill rather than it all washing down. Nice grass would be great though!

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
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Matsu
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2021-03-02, 23:07

Timely. I know nothing. Our grass is in pretty decent shape despite what my neighbours would consider neglect. I don’t obsessively water the lawn, I just keep it a little longer and it does a pretty good job staying green all on its own, except for maybe July to mid-August. I’ll have to try to keep it even longer during that time, or put in some more shading plants.
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drewprops
Bastard
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Atlanta
 
2021-03-02, 23:46

Dad planted a 3x3 patch of zoysia when I was a kid.

Over the last 40 something years it has spread across the front yard.

It's drought resistant. Not sure what PH it likes, but it's like a shag carpet.

See if it works for your area - it may not.


...

Steve Jobs ate my cat's watermelon.
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kscherer
The Ban Hammer
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Boyzeee
 
2021-03-03, 11:54

I know a thing or two about growing grass in Idaho, but not much about the Carolinas.

Feed it, water it, let it grow, mow it.

That's all I got.

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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Upstate South Carolina
 
2021-03-03, 12:01

Drew, How does the Zoysia look under and round the trees/shade? I ask because one of the notes about that is not great in the shade, "prefers sun, tolerates some light shade"

I've got a bunch of trees in my yard so shade is very prevalent. Other than that it is right for my climate zone.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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Anonymous Coward
Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2021-03-03, 12:38

Maybe look into perennial peanut as a ground cover / erosion control.
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kscherer
The Ban Hammer
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Boyzeee
 
2021-03-03, 13:10

* Insert Jimmy Carter joke here *

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drewprops
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Atlanta
 
2021-03-04, 00:29

Quote:
Originally Posted by turtle View Post
Drew, How does the Zoysia look under and round the trees/shade?
We have one large white pine and it grows up around the "skirt" of the branches.

If you have significant shade it might not work as well.

Perhaps a blended solution?

I mean, unless you plan on having a golf course quality lawn, you could have multiple grass styles.

I'm no botanist, but I know that different grasses wage quiet battles to control areas of turf - and weeds are in that fray.



...

Steve Jobs ate my cat's watermelon.
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Upstate South Carolina
 
2021-03-04, 17:00

I think that would work close to my house where there is at least 50% direct sun during the day. One side of my house it might not do so well though (north).

I'm good with blending but figured I'd check here to see what others have done. Some grasses would like thrive better than others I'm sure. The contractors threw down some fescue of some kind but it is questionable how good it is. They finished late fall as it was starting to get dark so I'm not expecting much from those seeds.

I will say, ZERO plans for manicured lawn. I'm not into yards like that. Heck, I'm asking about grass on an Apple focused forum.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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PB PM
Sneaky Punk
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
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2021-03-04, 19:28

Grass, terrible useless stuff, just a waste of time, from the horticultural standpoint (I work in the industry). I'd recommend using micro clover instead. It needs far less water to stay green, doesn't need to be cut as often, and provides benefits to pollinators, unlike most residential grasses. Another solution is Sheep Fescue (Festuca ovina), which is much tougher than most grasses, can be grown throughout most of north America and does well in poor soils. It also only grows where you plant it, since it does not spread by rhizome like most grasses.

Last edited by PB PM : 2021-03-04 at 19:38.
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Anonymous Coward
Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2021-03-04, 20:19

Description of perennial peanut
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Upstate South Carolina
 
2021-03-05, 09:39

"Zone 10 is best, though in areas of Zone 9B that border Zone 10A " means there is no way that would really work for me. I think we are in 7B in the transition zone.

The Sheep Fescue looks interesting. I'll have to dig more into that one. That could work REALLY well if it can handle shade and the clay.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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PB PM
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2021-03-05, 11:21

https://www.umces.edu/sites/default/...ue-summary.pdf
This page has some information, it’s very well suited for low maintenance situations, poor soil and even clay from some other sources I’ve looked into in the past, and it does not like being cut during the warm summer months. It’s not the best for stability in the short term, but over a few years it does form a nice thick ground cover, and needs little to no watering. It’s a little bit more expensive, but that could pay off in the long run.
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Upstate South Carolina
 
2021-03-14, 18:13

I ordered 5 lbs of the sheep fescue. It looks like it will be perfect for the area we want to have something holding the clay in place. It is too rocky to mow really and weed-eating it sucks SOOOOO bad.

The thing this whole grass topic has me annoyed with though is how obnoxious it is for someone who wants to know a little. This seems like the thing where you need to know tons or nothing. I have some areas close to my house where I would like nice grass. Thing is I also want REALLY low maintenance. I'm not going to aerate, fertilize or even water for that matter. Run a mower over it is as much as I want to do to my yard.

The Zoysia looks like it might be good for those areas close to the house where we can a nice grass... So many options.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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PB PM
Sneaky Punk
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
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2021-03-14, 19:45

As I noted, grass is terrible stuff, and just like any other plant difference varieties have different characteristics, so it's not simple. Most post secondary schools that offer horticulture programs have courses just on growing grass (primarily for people who want to work at golf courses), so it can be complicated if you want it to be.

To put it simply, you are not going to have a "nice" thick green lawn without work, just doesn't happen. Humans have to force that, nature doesn't work that way. Micro cover is great if all you want is a low maintenance green matte. You mow a few times to make it grow short, and leave it alone after that. My theory has always been if you don't want the work a lawn requires, simply don't have one.
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Upstate South Carolina
 
2021-03-14, 22:10

Well, I was trying to minimize a yard but Mrs T won't have it. She likes grass and nature like that. I can try for something that is still low maintenance though. I won't be able to get away with the sheep fescue near the house, but maybe some other green stuff.

The more I look at the Zoysias I am less convinced it will work well for us. Out winters do get below freezing and that is somethings those types of grass don't like and turn yellow. Mrs T doesn't want a yellow yard either... not that I do but she specifically doesn't want it. It is also fairly invasive and that isn't something I want all over my property.

Also, please note, "nice" to us really means green and at most ankle deep. Not really into the weed flower heads that pop up either. Clover isn't hideous, just not what we are after.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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PB PM
Sneaky Punk
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
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2021-03-14, 23:44

You basically have two choices, a warm season grass that stays green in summer, with watering (needs about 2 inches of water a week to do this), and browns over the winter, or a cold season grass that stays green in winter, but needs a lot more water to stay green if it's hot (highs over 89F) and dry for 3+ weeks at a time in summer (watering 2 times a week in extended dry periods). If you get regular rain during the summer months you likely have nothing to worry about with many cold season grasses, but if you get warm dry weather for weeks on end in the summer, it won't hold up and go dormant (brown). When that happens the lawn could lose out to strong deep rooted weeds, unless you are prepared to do regular weed killing sprays.

The key to less watering and fewer weeds is to keep the grass long, 4 inches or more will help the grass shade itself, retain moisture and reduce light reaching weed seeds. No grass will do well in heavy shade, even grasses labeled as shade tolerant will want 4-6 hours of direct sunlight. The guide for this is shade = 4-6 hours of direct sunlight, part shade = 6-8 hours, full sun 8h+.

Last edited by PB PM : 2021-03-14 at 23:56.
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drewprops
Bastard
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Atlanta
 
2021-03-15, 00:38

Our zoysia is practically white in winter.

This weekend I fetched out my dad's vintage thatching rake to thin out the "underbrush". This is the second year that I've done that and I think it's helpful.

Sounds like you'll find a better solution for your needs elsewhere!

...
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Dr. Bobsky
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: UK's most densely packed city. It's not London...
 
2021-03-15, 03:26

Grass lawns are not really natural at all.
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PB PM
Sneaky Punk
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
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2021-03-15, 09:58

Not in the slightest bit natural, in nature grass fields are a very short lived occurrence, filling with trees and shrubs within a year or two. There are places where it does thrive, places with extremely cold winters that are, wind swept, semi-rocky terrain and such, but those are not heavily populated in most of North America for obvious reasons. The obsession with lawns western culture has created over the last 120 years or so is so wasteful and utterly useless. Good for business though, and creates hundreds of thousands of jobs, so there is that. Of course it also leads to hundreds of thousands of tons of green house gas from lawn mowers, weed eaters, detachers, aerators (all horribly inefficient motors) not to mention what the seed collection industry creates.

Last edited by PB PM : 2021-03-15 at 10:14.
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kscherer
The Ban Hammer
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Boyzeee
 
2021-03-15, 11:33

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Bobsky View Post
Grass lawns are not really natural at all.
No, they are not.

But neither are parks. Or river fronts, or houses, or flower gardens, or even gardens for that matter.

Goatheads are natural, but who wants those in the yard? Dandelions are natural, and they're ugly. And I can only imagine how wonderful all of the strip malls and sidewalks would look if they were allowed to return to their natural state.

My neighbor's yard is 100% natural. And it looks like a weed- and gopher-infested crap-hole!

The point behind lawns is that they look nice and they can be used to run/play/love on. "Natural" surfaces, not so much. I live in the high desert, and there is no way in hell that I am going to let "nature" take control of my yard, lest it become a useless mess. Because nature, in its "natural" state, is utterly useless for civilized society.

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Dr. Bobsky
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: UK's most densely packed city. It's not London...
 
2021-03-15, 13:30

Except that’s actually not true at all. Higher crop yields are found when you allow multiple tiers of growth crops to occupy the same space as they would in nature. More co2 is absorbed and converted to food and wood under these conditions. Your grass lawn harbors a set of pests unique to that environment. Whatever imagined perfection you believe exists in lawns, it’s just as arbitrary an aesthetic choice as natural wildflower gardens or letting the thing go to pot.

Besides I had far more fun as a kid digging in the wilds than I ever did on my parents pristine yard.
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PB PM
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2021-03-15, 14:53

Some would argue that allowing strip malls return to there natural state wouldn’t be a bad thing. One persons progress is another persons trash pile.
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kscherer
The Ban Hammer
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Boyzeee
 
2021-03-15, 15:52

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Bobsky View Post
Except that’s actually not true at all. Higher crop yields are found when you allow multiple tiers of growth crops to occupy the same space as they would in nature.
That still requires human intervention. You will be hard pressed to find many naturally occurring gardens* that produce more than a mouse's share of edible crops.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that food (and sometimes large quantities of a single type of food) doesn't occur in nature. It does. However, if you want a variety (where by variety I mean more than one thing) you are going to have to intervene. And then it is no longer "natural".

I have fresh fruit every year because I intervened and put it there, and then prune and water it. Were it not for that entirely unnatural intervention, it would not exist at all!

And while you can let a peach tree go all "natural" and get a zillion small peaches, you will not get the equivalent yield of high-quality fruit as you will get from an unnaturally pruned and cultivated peach tree. This has been understood for many thousands of years. As it has also been with wheat fields and pretty much any other crop necessary to feed many hundreds or thousands of people.

* A garden in the human sense produces more than one kind of food.

- AppleNova is the best Mac-users forum on the internet. We are smart, educated, capable, and helpful. We are also loaded with smart-alecks! :)
- Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. (Mat 5:9)
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Dr. Bobsky
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: UK's most densely packed city. It's not London...
 
2021-03-15, 18:33

Ken, we’re talking about someone planting an invasive species on a small plot of land for purely aesthetic reasons. I don’t think Tony is going to be cultivating any variety of crops in a turf strewn yard. My point was that industrial farms the way Americans think of them is not the most productive structure, and that a close approximation to how these crops would have grown in the wild can grant higher crop yields.
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kscherer
The Ban Hammer
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Boyzeee
 
2021-03-16, 10:51

Gotcha.

Well, I still like my invasive lawn.

If you could see what the natural, high desert will do to a backyard in the space of a single season, you'd want grass, too.

By the way, "grass" as lawn is only "invasive" as long as it gets what it wants: sunshine and lots of water. There are some places on Earth where that could be a problem (and has been in my garden, no doubt—in fact, my lawn ate my strawberry patch). However, here in Boise, Idaho the desert will flat out eat a poorly maintained lawn in the space of a single growing season (May-October), and I've seen it happen.

So, "invasive" depends somewhat on the area and the willpower of the human letting it invade.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Bobsky View Post
My point was that industrial farms the way Americans think of them is not the most productive structure.
And that is correct. Large farms are the way they are for the singular purpose of the economics of maintenance and harvesting, a necessary evil when feeding millions of non-farmers is the goal. Far less necessary if each of us had 5 acres and a certain determination* and work ethic. Far more so in city-dominated civilization.

* Don't get all bothered by this, folks. Some people prefer city life, and some people prefer something different. I'm one of those people who would be happy on 5 acres with no property taxes.

- AppleNova is the best Mac-users forum on the internet. We are smart, educated, capable, and helpful. We are also loaded with smart-alecks! :)
- Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. (Mat 5:9)

Last edited by kscherer : 2021-03-16 at 15:02.
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Dr. Bobsky
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: UK's most densely packed city. It's not London...
 
2021-03-18, 07:00

Quote:
Originally Posted by kscherer View Post

And that is correct. Large farms are the way they are for the singular purpose of the economics of maintenance and harvesting, a necessary evil when feeding millions of non-farmers is the goal. Far less necessary if each of us had 5 acres and a certain determination* and work ethic. Far more so in city-dominated civilization.

* Don't get all bothered by this, folks. Some people prefer city life, and some people prefer something different. I'm one of those people who would be happy on 5 acres with no property taxes.
Each household would need at least 20 acres to be self-sustaining, and to be absolutely clear: modern urban dwellers have a lower environmental footprint than the "determined" rural folk. Large farms are the way they are because land was cheap, and damaging environmental activities weren't even on the radar as something we ought to be concerned with. Had land been more expensive, and the recognition that perpetual monoculture crops would ultimately lead to new crises, factory farm developers would have pushed towards more sustainable and higher yielding alternatives. Right now, we're playing catch up.
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Upstate South Carolina
 
2021-03-31, 15:05

So far I've order a total of 25 lbs of Sheep Fescue, seeds.

We have a few places where we realized mowing sucks.

I also noticed my "front yard" is really just clover and other green things. I'm not inclined to do regular grass there at this point. Short and green are acceptable to me at this point. After already having to cut my grass this year I'm good with the lowest maintenance as possible around the house. There is a place where conventional fescue has been thrown down and we will likely let that stay... or more likely let nature take over. We will just cut it every other week or so.

I think this is one of the biggest reason I could never live in an HOA community.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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PB PM
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Join Date: Oct 2005
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2021-03-31, 23:38

Yeah just let it go, mowing less than 3-4 inches is a waste of time unless it's a golf course. I hate golf, so I like it taller.
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Upstate South Carolina
 
2021-04-01, 12:54

You know what's funny, I have to fight the urge to cut it at a lower setting. I have no idea what the level settings on my mower translates to (assuming proper tire inflation). I end up cutting on 3 though I should probably be using 6 or 7. The time in suburbia has really made me think I need to cut lower. I don't have a code where I live and don't even have to cut my lawn now. I just don't want my kids lost in the yard.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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