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Advise Needed on 5 Acre Plot

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by RogerR, Apr 4, 2004.

  1. RogerR

    RogerR LawnSite Member
    Posts: 2

    My wife and I will be breaking ground in the next couple of week on our new home building project. We will be building on a 5 acre plot of old farmland that has gone to weeds for at least 6 years.

    I have read that the best time to plant grass seed is in the fall. Could someone help me put together a plan of action? I have access to just about any tractor implements that can be hooked up to a JD4200 :)

    Should I kill all the weeds and grass with roundup (or something else) in the early fall.

    Should I disc the acreage? Should I Rototill to?

    I'm not afraid of some serious tractor time (in fact I would enjoy it) but would like to be following a good plan.

    Thank you for your time and knowledge,
  2. Stewart

    Stewart LawnSite Member
    Posts: 12

    I am not a pro but would have to say I would brush hog it to start getting it under control. The time to start on the yard isn't untill you get the walls up, roof on and driveway poured. Then you can talk to your contractor about the finish grading around the house. Then you can work the yard. Are you going to mow and water the whole 5 acres? Or are you going to do the areas around the house? Now would be the time to think about a sprinkler system as well. If that is in the budget! Good luck 5 acres is a lot to take care of.
  3. lars

    lars LawnSite Member
    Posts: 117

    I agree, wait until the house is complete. Once you're ready you can take a couple different routes.

    I would definitely look to the fall to establish five acres. First, the fall ensures a good supply of water, as I'm assuming you can't irrigate the whole yard. Second, there will be less competition from weeds in the fall. Third, the turf will go through two cool seasons before hitting summer. I would target September as the time to establish grass.

    Over the summer you should do a couple things. First, keep whatever is there low to the ground. Cut the field once every few weeks. Second, get a soil test. Go to your ag extension office and pick up a kit or two. Only a soil test will tell you what you need come planting time.

    Once you're ready to go, get out there with your mower and scalp the turf. Set the mower as low as you can go and have fun. This will minimize plant matter come tilling time. I would suggest to stay away from roundup unless you have a sprayer for the tractor. Five acres is alot to backpack.

    First you will need to till. My first choice would be a reverse-tine tiller. Blecavator makes one Land Pride just came out with one too. However, this may be too big for your tractor. My second choice is a tiller. Go deep as you can as this will relieve compaction from all the construction. You could also use a chisel plow and disc. This is the time to add organic matter if you want to. OM works wonders but is expensive. If your soil is good, don't worry about it.

    Next is your favorite and mine, rock removal. The ideal machine is a power rake (Harley Rake). This machine works wonders for picking up stones. You can also use the tried and true landscape rake. Of course this is the time to do your finish grading. A good box blade or a loader will help.

    When you are ready to seed, get your soil test out. Apply lime and fert according to the test. You will also want to add a good starter fert. It is ideal to till this into the top few inches. A disk or landscape rake can do this. Seed and cover. You may want to look into Lesco or a similar company as you will need alot of seed. Rolling the seed to ensure good seed-soil contact, but is not a must. Also, PennMulch is good for establishment, though pricey. Straw is a good route, especially if you have access to a straw blower.

    I hope that's a start. Feel free to ask questions and have fun on that nice Deere of yours.
  4. RogerR

    RogerR LawnSite Member
    Posts: 2

    Thanks for all your help. Two questions:

    1) Since I have a 400 gallon sprayer, would roundup be the best chemical or are their others that are better or cheaper.

    2) Would it be easier to disc then till or should I just try to till and skip the disc.

  5. lars

    lars LawnSite Member
    Posts: 117

    You can definitely spray Roundup. You could look for the generic stuff (acitve ingredient = glyphosate). Products containing Sulfosate will be cheaper but not as good.

    If you're using a tiller, just go at it. There is no need to disc then till.

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