View Full Version : Burnin yards

03-07-2001, 12:19 PM
Around these parts I have seen for many years people burn their grass before spring, claims it greens up better. I thought I read somewhere that it wasn.t good for it cause it damages the root system. Anybody have any insight on this here sudject matter.

lawrence stone
03-07-2001, 12:24 PM
Up North we call that arson. It's a felony.

03-07-2001, 12:25 PM
I know many golf courses will burn the rough in the spring. They say it makes it grow thicker. Never heard anything about root damage. I would think this would be done while the grass is still dormant.

03-07-2001, 12:27 PM
Well down cheer we call that a bon fire, as long as there is a good ol pig in the ground and the byeer is cold it.s really considered a party. Sometimes them crosses tend to spread a little too much though when them good ol boys set them a far!

Thanks for that timely, although somewhat evasive, response!

Fantasy Lawns
03-07-2001, 12:29 PM
brush fire ;-) ...acually can't say for one's yard but the brush areas come back great after a season

Eric ELM
03-07-2001, 12:29 PM
It must be a southern THANG Homer. :D
We can't even burn leaves here and I'm surprised they don't ban fireplaces here too.

I have noticed where there are grass fires, it does green up nice and sure gets rid of that dead thatch. ;)

03-07-2001, 12:49 PM
Heres what Ive been ponderin:

If I bring the pig and the garlic for roastin, will you guarantee me when they start them crosses a far youll cut on the lights??(cause i know how y.all love us yankees down thar -LOL)j/k

Actually in reference to your question, I have not heard about people actually doing this to residential turfgrasses. I know that when I was growing up in Northern CA that they would burn-off the fields after every 4th crop or so to revitalize the nutrients in the soil. At least thats what the FFA boys proclaimed it was for.

I would check with your county Ag Ext to see if they say whether or not to mash that thar idear.

Let me know

Mike Paulsen
03-07-2001, 01:07 PM
Had a neighbor when i was growing up that burn his grass every spring. It gets rid of the dead grass(i think he thought it was easier than raking) and green up nice but is sure a mess. Up here in the bluegrass seed fields they burn in the first part of August.Some days you can't even see the sun.

03-07-2001, 01:31 PM
I like the way you talk.

Dueling banjos

Ya.ll must really think we.re a bunch of rednecks.

But ya, bring the pig and garlic, we won.t tell any of them boys where your from.

03-07-2001, 02:34 PM
I'm glad to see this post. I've pondered over this phenomenon for quit some time. Two of my neighbors have done it here also. One yard has come back full and very green!! The other yard still looks weak. I would think fertilizer would be much better than this.

03-07-2001, 03:26 PM
The theory of burning lawns is the exact same thing as scalping a lawn. Warm season grasses such as bermuda and zoysia need to be scalped in early march. You need to take away all the brown grass that will never green up again. What does green up is the new growth down in the thatch level. So in theory, the people that are burning their lawns are actually burning off the old, dead, brown grass that otherwise would be scalped away. It's easier, but dangerous. I don't think there is any extra benefit. I scalp bermuda and zoysia lawns next week. A major pain. But charge 2 times the normal cutting

03-07-2001, 03:38 PM
Yeah, it's a southern thing :D I have heard about it, but never really witnessed it. I think it was a more common practice 30 years ago than now. Every now and then you might see a lawn where it was done (always out of the city limits :) ) and yes it greens up quite well. Look how green the grass gets after a wildfire. We have our own version of it, when the Bahia gets too thick in mid summer, we hit a dry spell and the customers turn off the sprinklers. It looks worse than hell when its like this, but when it finally gets some water, it is very green and tender.

03-07-2001, 04:16 PM
Burning was the only way to manage grass seed farms. The annual burning was best control for disease and insect problems - they could never build up a good population to harm the turf. After burning the grass grew better than when there was no burning. Burning is a good way to manage almost any turf. However, with the urbanization of much of the country, people have pressured state and local govts to ban burning in most areas. The bans in OR and WA mean that disease and insect problems are more prevalent in grass farms, and more labor is necessary in managing the fields after harvest, therefore the price of seed has been rising since bans were enacted.

Where does burning grasses come from? From nature: the prairies of the world remained prairies by regular natural burning events - lightning strikes, spontaneous combustion. Grasses adapted so their root systems were not damaged by quick moving grass fires. Stray trees were destroyed so the prairies didn`t become wooded. On most turfgrasses used today in the USA, you could burn a pile of leaves on the lawn this fall, and next year you could not tell where the bonfire was.

03-07-2001, 04:33 PM
Just like the old farmers used to do.. It was called slash and burn farming they would clear an area and burn it all. I think that it would work for a few years and then it would burn out the soil so that they couldn't use it for years.....

03-07-2001, 04:35 PM
Up until recently the grass seed farmers in Oregon burned their fields annually, but a couple of years ago Interstate 5 was covered for miles in smoke, drivers were unable to see and several people were killed in major pileups so the practice was banned.

The last time I was in Maui in the fall, the sugar cane fields were being burned. The smoke was bad, but what was really bad was the stink of burning plastic. I couldn't figure it out and when I asked a local, he told me they used miles of drip irrigation piping in the cane and that it was cheaper to just burn it up rather than remove it! The last I heard they were talking about banning that too. Maybe Paradise Yards can tell us what's up over there.

03-07-2001, 07:45 PM
........ever since the incident.


Chopper Lover
03-07-2001, 08:59 PM

After chasing numerous brush fires through freshly sprouting corn fields I learned how the burning off the grass theory works.

The fire is started in the dead under grass (thatch). It burns hot and therefore burns fast. It burns so fast that when it gets going it burns off the dead stuff and moves on before the fresh, green, sprouts can be affected. After it burns off you will see the darkened (black) area as a background to green grass.

Because the old dead grass is burned off the soil underneath can breath better. The ash then gets absorbed back into the ground and acts as a nutrient making the yard healthier. I know it looks whacky, but it works.

If you chose to try this you must consider a few factors. There may be a burn ban in affect for either drought or air quality. There also may be limits on what is considered agricultural burning and where or when you can burn.

Don't do it close to a structure (especially not a house). Fire is just like a toddler. If you turn your attention away from it for a minute you will find it has crossed the mulch bed next to the house and is working its way under the siding. Then, Lucy, you will have some splainin to do!

I hope this helped,

lee b
03-07-2001, 09:02 PM
Burning old grass is still popular here in south Georgia. It's highly recommended, by the Extension service,for pastures and hayfields. Grass always comes back thicker and healthier, also helps to control weeds and parasitic worms. Best time to burn is early spring, just before it comes out of dormancy. Works great for us.

03-07-2001, 09:07 PM
I use to burn weed in the old days but it made me too paraniod and I couldnt find my way home half the time. But the music and food was fantastic!!!

03-07-2001, 09:17 PM
I like to burn mine to get rid of the chiggers!

And if I need to explain what them are Ill send ya a batch and youll ba all for the burning next year.


03-07-2001, 09:32 PM
Believe me, I know what chiggers are!
I don't plan to burn mine, too late anyway.
Plenty of farmers around here burn their fields every year so there must be something to it.
I did burn a pile of leaves in my old yard a few years back, it must have killed the soil cause it sure left a nice dirt spot there for a whole season. I guess it was a concentrated burn, must have gotten too hot for the ol centipede.

Hunter Landscape
03-07-2001, 10:29 PM

03-07-2001, 10:46 PM
Originally posted by Charles
I use to burn weed in the old days but it made me too paraniod and I couldnt find my way home half the time. But the music and food was fantastic!!!

Plus it takes you like forever to drive 5 miles at 20 mph to get snacks from the store, and by then the two gallons of ice cream have melted.

[Edited by Keith on 03-08-2001 at 02:52 AM]

03-07-2001, 11:13 PM
Homer it is a common practice to burn fields and hay pastures around here to. by the way you know as well as I do you wouldn't have to tell the others guys at the hog roast that there is a yank in the crowd. them yanks stand out like sore thumbs with them thar accents da got.

03-08-2001, 01:16 AM
Burning wheat stubble is a very common practice where I'm from in North Dakota. Lot's of people also burn sloughs and ditches. You can see the flames for miles at night.

People would burn to eliminate the stubble to make cultivation easier in the spring. With no stubble the plows don't get plugged up with trash. Also people believe that burning off a slough will dry them out, and allow them to be farmed in a dry year. Slough is another word for a marsh.
Reason for burning off ditches is to help lessen snow accumulation alongside the road in the winter which promotes drifting.

Yes grass will green up after burning, but burning has to be one of the most idiotic practices being used in the agricultural sector.

Standing stubble is very important. It catches snow fall and provides a source of moisture. When the stubble is burned off the snow doesn't accumulate, the constant winds in ND will leave a field bare without stubble. Also the snow in a stubble field insulates the ground, especially important if you are trying to raise a winter crop like rye.

When ditches and sloughs are burned off it eliminates wildlife habitat. You'd be surprised by the number of animals you see running from a slough on fire. The soil in a slough is usually very alkaline in nature and crops generally will not do well there. On top of all that is the pollution.

03-08-2001, 06:35 PM
Up here farmers still burn the fence line to keep the brush back so the field does not get smaller.

03-08-2001, 08:10 PM
It does seem to work well but think it would look funny on my fliers.

03-08-2001, 08:21 PM
wouldn't it be the same if you cut the yard down to a inch?