Curious about Brown Patch w/ organic

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by Pistol, Mar 14, 2009.

  1. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,720

    There has been more & more interest in some circles in re-establishing stuff like Buffalograss in the Great Plains states, as a lawn turf.

    This fact remains:
    Some folks seem to be more than happy to put up with the courser texture of it in order to save irrigation $$.
    Others will scream bloody murder the minute they realize what it is, and that it was intentionally planted in their yard.

    It's not much different than the classic battle here in the upper transition zone between the respective bluegrass and TTT fescue camps.
     
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    No water - no 4 fert apps in 5 months either. It will burn it up.

    How much mowing can buffalo grass tolerate?
     
  3. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,720

    That's the whole point, Smallaxe! :waving:
    Less watering, mowing and fertilizer!

    Here....read this.
    (Skip down to "Adaptation & Use" if you're pressed for time.)

    http://plantanswers.tamu.edu/turf/publications/buffalo.html


    Buffalo grass, once established, is full of thin underground stolons that form a dense sod. Therefore, withstanding drought conditions isn't a problem. On the contrary, too much water may actually cause other grasses like bermudagrass to take over...

    Somebody lately's been downloading some excellent stuff on the 'net from the late '20s and early '30s! :)
    Our grandparents & great-grandparents knew all about this kind of stuff all along.
    Now two generations later, we're discovering it all over again! :laugh:
    This is from October 1933 :):

    http://turf.lib.msu.edu/1930s/1933/3310144.pdf

    (the last page...p. 149 is most informative in terms of turf maintenance)
     
  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    A mowing machine
    or a high-cut lawn mower, cutting at a height of 2 inches, will cut
    the taller grasses without unduly injuring the prostrate buffalo grass.
    Observations indicate that persistent and repeated close clippings of
    buffalo grass with an ordinary lawn mower weakens the grass and
    encourages the inroads of weeds.

    So 2" isn't considered close for Buffalo Grass. I don't cut KBG that close if I can avoid it. :)

    We are not rediscovering it as much as we are rereading the archives. Back in the 30s we were largely a rural country, with a sensible understanding of agronomics. Now most wisdom/knowledge/propaganda comes from the city.
    For me personally, if the yard isn't comfortable for me to go barefoot in I change it to more user friendly. Stones are more practical in many ways but I will never use them.
     
  5. quiet

    quiet LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 720

    Buffalo grass is a prairie grass. If you have a couple acres and wanna do just minimal work on a lawn: cutting it every couple of months, don't care if weeds invade, don't care if your turf has that blowin' in the breeze look, then buffalo is OK.

    But if you like the "look" of a lawn, buffalo doesn't make it. Miserable excuse for a turfgrass.
     
  6. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,720

    You're 100% correct in that everybody's got different their distinct preferences.

    But as far as groundwater is concerned, folks living "high-on-the-hog" right now in the great plains states and the southwest U.S. are going to have some gut-wrenching decisions to make in the next couple of decades.....drought or no drought.

    Residential lifestyle practices will need to be completely re-thought, inside AND outside the home, including the specific vegetation and/or rock-type matter that would entail a new 21st century definition of a ..........."perfect lawn".
    Industry & business will need to be re-tooled to reduce water waste.
    Agriculture.....:cry:.....well, agriculture should've never been started in most of those areas in the 1st place! :dizzy:
     
  7. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    I remember a PBS special entitled "The Desert Doesn't Bloom Here Anymore". The deal was - they had found water under ground so they started irrigating the desert and started growing some great crops.

    Eventually they discovered that all the water pouring through the sand brought up the salt levels in the soil to the point of nothing would grow again.

    Would have a little effort to build up the soils and better planning of the crops and therefore using less water have made that experiment a lot more feasible? To me that would have been so much fun to work with, but the reality was just to over kill on everything and exploit the resources rather than conserve them.

    Fighting over water is already become a hot button issue for cities right here in Wisco next to Lake Michigan. Most municipalities had outlawed private well within the city limits. Gov't will control water even here.
     
  8. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,308

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desertification
     
  9. bicmudpuppy

    bicmudpuppy LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,781

    Buffalo grass doesn't have that rich, dark green color we are used to for turf, but ?????you don't like the texture? I can show you golf courses in SW Kansas that have buffalo FAIRWAYS. I can show you field trial plots at K-State that, when mowed at 1" look great. At around 2", you get the flowers and seed heads starting to form and it does look a little ragged then. If you can provide a proper grade and mow it at under 2", I like 1.5", but you could go 1.75" without seeing the seed heads and flowers, you now have a lawn that doesn't want more than 2#N/ year and will do fine on half of that. It also will be VERY happy with 17" of total precipitation. The problem is it is a niche grass. It will not do well with more than 24" of total precip. For you southern guys, bermuda does quite well on low fert levels, but the fert needs to be applied at the worst time for everything else. July is great timing for a pound of nitrogen. Cut back the water and watch the bermuda LOVE the heat!! (I said cut back, not stop watering)
     
  10. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,308

    The Niche .......

    [​IMG]
     

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