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View Full Version : No Mow Ground Covers replaces turf


Ric
10-30-2011, 08:52 AM
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This winter we should all notice the dormant Crape Myrtle decorating our road ways here in Florida. What better way show off our year round growing season than to have dead stick looking trees all over our road ways. But that is not what this thread is about.

What many are miss seeing is in the same landscape are No Mow Ground Covers. Perennial Peanuts and Sunshine Mimosa are now taking the place of turf. These are legumes that are nitrogen fixing and once established require very little care of any kind. They are great for erosion control because of deep and massive roots. Once, may be twice a year they need be mowed at a height of 4 or 5 inches with a standard lawn mower or weed eater. Planted by plugs or sprigs they readily spread quickly to form a carpet. Not unlike St Augustine or Bermuda turf these legumes can and will spread to other areas. However different herbicides can either check growth or selectively control competitions from both grassy & broad leaf weeds. Interesting enough White Dutch Clover also a Legume reacts the same and can be seeded as a Grow in cover crop.

I am so impressed with these No Mow Ground Covers that I have started to Propagate them. At one time before Hurricane Charlie blew it away, I had a nursery. I kind of miss fooling with growing plants and hope to find a market for these No Mow ground covers. Hard to Mow areas like steep banks are prime candidates for No Mow. Smaller turf areas are also economically vivable for No Mow. The price of Plugs or Spriggs and the labor make larger areas less cost effective for quick grow in spacing. However spacing plugs 10 or 20 ft apart take several years to grow in. These No Mow ground cover can be mowed on a regular bases during that grow in time.


Have I stirred any Interest?????????


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Keith
10-30-2011, 11:46 AM
I have one place that this would work great! An absolute pita. The guy will not irrigate it enough to keep anything decent on the hill. So it's a mix of wild bermuda and I guess what looks like torpedo grass. The stuff that just tears and clumps when cut. Anyway, he was thinking of hydroseeding the whole thing with common bermuda, but this would be a better option, I would think. But the issue would be keeping the other stuff out of it.

zturncutter
10-30-2011, 12:31 PM
Here is a property in my area.

Ric
10-30-2011, 12:41 PM
I have one place that this would work great! An absolute pita. The guy will not irrigate it enough to keep anything decent on the hill. So it's a mix of wild bermuda and I guess what looks like torpedo grass. The stuff that just tears and clumps when cut. Anyway, he was thinking of hydroseeding the whole thing with common bermuda, but this would be a better option, I would think. But the issue would be keeping the other stuff out of it.


Keith

I got my DNA start of Ecoturf Perennial Peanuts from Garden Edge Growers in Jacksonville. 904-382-0338 This is the Variety that has the Lowest growth Pattern and is used for No Mow turf replacement. Other varieties are cut for hay and grow a lot higher. Garden's Edge shipped me 4 inch pots via UPS and being in south Florida my Ecoturf arrived in great shape. I paid around $ 50.00 for 36/ 4 inch pots including shipping. The cost of planting is very high per acre, but can be justified by the low maintenance cost after establishment. While I would love to sell you my clones, I am not set up to ship them like they are. Ecoturf Perennial Peanuts are more popular in Northern and Central Florida than South Florida where I am. But it grows even better here than Central & North Florida.

Spring right at the start of rainy season would be best window for planting IMHO. Once established they really need very little care. But the link below has a lot more information that I care to type. Selective Herbicides are very available from Ag chemical suppliers in your area. The same Herbicide used on Peanut Hay fields works on Ecoturf.

Good Luck I hope this can work for you. By Spring I should have several thousand Liners ready, I am hoping on planting them all. Not to say I wouldn't sell a few hundred.

http://taylor.ifas.ufl.edu/agriculture_peanutestablishment.shtml



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Keith
10-30-2011, 12:54 PM
I'm going to run this by the customer. Maybe try a smaller area and see how it goes.

Florida Gardener
10-30-2011, 01:08 PM
I personally like the idea of low maintenance ground covers over turf. Jasmine minima is a great one. Works well in shade and once it fills in it looks great. I firmly believe if people want to use manicured turf, they need to realize the cost associated with the inputs. If they don't like that, ground over and low maintenance plants are the way to go.
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Tri-City Outdoors
10-30-2011, 05:08 PM
Found this

http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ep135

and this

http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ag121

Johnagain
10-30-2011, 07:35 PM
I have a customer that has about 15 acres of Perennial Peanuts she planted about 10 years ago.They looked great for the first 5 yrs then have been slowly overtaken by weeds, bermuda, and bahia. When I first starting mowing it, it would be once a year and it only grew to about a 1 ft high. I cut it back to 6 inches in the late summer. I now bush hog it 3 times a year because it has become so crappy looking. I think next year she is going to put cows on it. She never did any other maintenence on the property. No fert or Pesticides

zturncutter
10-30-2011, 08:31 PM
"Mowing is probably the best insurance against weeds. Keeping the perennial peanut canopy clear for maximum sunlight penetration is critical to proper development. Mowing is effective for controlling the canopy height of tall growing weeds. Whenever possible, mow weeds just above the foliage of the developing peanut. Competition from short-growing annual weeds can be reduced by mowing both weeds and peanuts as close to the soil as possible. This practice can be done once during the establishment season in late July or early August." (excerpt from link above)

The lawn in the above picture is mowed about every 3 weeks, very low to the soil, I would guess about 1 to 1 1/2 inches. I think at that height the peanut thrives and smothers the competition.

Ric
10-30-2011, 10:24 PM
I have a customer that has about 15 acres of Perennial Peanuts she planted about 10 years ago.They looked great for the first 5 yrs then have been slowly overtaken by weeds, bermuda, and bahia. When I first starting mowing it, it would be once a year and it only grew to about a 1 ft high. I cut it back to 6 inches in the late summer. I now bush hog it 3 times a year because it has become so crappy looking. I think next year she is going to put cows on it. She never did any other maintenence on the property. No fert or Pesticides

John

There are two areas of care for Plants, Chemical and Cultural. Z Turncutter did an excellent job of explaining the Cultural Practices of Perennial Peanuts. Chemical Practices in your case would start with a good Herbicide. Are you aware Legumes(Peanuts) must be inoculated with Microbes before they can start fixing Nitrogen??? Fixing Nitrogen means taking Nitrogen from the air and attaching or fixing it to the soil where it can up taken by other plants. Legumes(Peanuts) that are not inoculated, will use the nitrogen that is in the soil until it can not find any Nitrogen. No Food means no health and a decline in growth. Therefore a synthetic fertilizer would help the plant health faster than waiting for the Microbes from an inoculation would. After a flush of growth occurs from a Synthetic if would be time to inoculate the Legumes so they can produce Nitrogen.

Cal_CF
10-31-2011, 02:36 PM
One thing to watch out for when purchasing Perennial Peanut is to make sure you specify to the grower that you want Ecoturf, Arblick, Brooksville 67, or Brooksville 68. These are the only available low growing ornamental varieties. As Ric said, Ecoturf is probably the best one available.

Some growers are propagating an entirely different species of perennial peanut commonly sold as 'Golden Glory'. It grows by above ground stolons instead of below ground rhizomes making it less cold tolerant in the central and northern parts of FL. It also does not fix nitrogen as well and usually has chlorotic looking foliage.

Tri-City Outdoors
10-31-2011, 07:53 PM
We have been pushing ground covers this year. We do have approval to plant peanuts in the spring. In a common area in a HOA. Mainly to prevent erosion. Recently we have been producing A native (purple powder puff). We did a front yard on one of our rental this year so far so good.
Check out the link.

http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ep343

Ric
10-31-2011, 09:23 PM
We have been pushing ground covers this year. We do have approval to plant peanuts in the spring. In a common area in a HOA. Mainly to prevent erosion. Recently we have been producing A native (purple powder puff). We did a front yard on one of our rental this year so far so good.
Check out the link.

http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ep343

Tri-city

I am raising Sunshine Mimosa (Purple Powder Puff) also. See my first post. Mimosa will propagate from seed. I am going for seed production because the cost of establishing Mimosa by seed is very economical compared to establishing Perennial Peanuts by vegetation. Mimosa also spreads quicker than Peanuts.

greendoctor
11-01-2011, 02:59 AM
One thing to watch out for when purchasing Perennial Peanut is to make sure you specify to the grower that you want Ecoturf, Arblick, Brooksville 67, or Brooksville 68. These are the only available low growing ornamental varieties. As Ric said, Ecoturf is probably the best one available.

Some growers are propagating an entirely different species of perennial peanut commonly sold as 'Golden Glory'. It grows by above ground stolons instead of below ground rhizomes making it less cold tolerant in the central and northern parts of FL. It also does not fix nitrogen as well and usually has chlorotic looking foliage.

Yes, watch out for Golden Glory. That is the worst ground cover I can think of to use. Many years ago, that stuff was introduced into this state. Lots of problems with nutrient deficiencies, weeds and diseases. The above ground runners are a PITA because it is not hard to do something wrong and have a stemmy, bald looking mess.

RAlmaroad
11-01-2011, 04:19 AM
Just read through the whole thread. Another ground cover that loves the shade area and around trees is Vinca Minor (Periwinkle). Old Georgetown has it planted in many of the sidewalk area between the streets. It is a dark green and kept trimmed. It just does not do well in full sun like the legumes that Ric mentioned.

Ric
11-01-2011, 07:16 AM
Just read through the whole thread. Another ground cover that loves the shade area and around trees is Vinca Minor (Periwinkle). Old Georgetown has it planted in many of the sidewalk area between the streets. It is a dark green and kept trimmed. It just does not do well in full sun like the legumes that Ric mentioned.

Roy

I am still not happy with any of the shady tolerant covers. Wededia works but is on the Noxious exotic list. The problem with Periwinkle and most shady lovers is, NO over the top Herbicide. I am real spoiled with Legumes because of Over The Top Herbicides that release it or those Herbicide that control it in Turf. Agriculture is the Big buck spenders and Chemical Companies have developed several Herbicides just for Legumes. Of course I do not want to take away from the Cultural Practise that Z turn out lined as control methods also. Any plantings can benefit from proper cultural & chemical practises.

Bottom Line is I am still looking for that Shady Loving ground cover that can be both released and controlled easily by different herbicides.

Cal_CF
11-01-2011, 08:35 AM
Where are you getting the seeds for Sunshine Mimosa? I have collected some from existing stands, but want to know if there are any suppliers of seed.

Tri-City Outdoors
11-01-2011, 11:08 AM
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ep343

same link posted above, at the bottom of the page has links to suppliers