ground cover/ grass seed choices

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by tacoma7583, Apr 30, 2008.

  1. tacoma7583

    tacoma7583 LawnSite Member
    from OHIO
    Posts: 6

    on are 50 acre farm we recently had some waterways repair and seeded per the Farm service agency. i had some other swales installed to move the water. we where given the exact blend of seed for this.
    i am on my own to seed/ ground cover each side of my driveway 15'x2000' each side. some sloping. I really do not wish to mow this.
    Can anyone recommend a grass seed/ blend that grows short or another type of ground cover. location is northeast ohio 44634.

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  2. Clapper&Company

    Clapper&Company LawnSite Bronze Member
    from NE Ohio
    Posts: 1,291

    Im Down here in Minerva I would be more then happy to help you out.
     
  3. Newt*

    Newt* LawnSite Member
    Posts: 182

    Hi Tacoma,

    I get you in hardiness zone 5.
    http://www.gardenweb.com/zones/zip.cgi

    What about a mix for a meadow? Your site looks like full sun. You could plant a mix of native grasses, sedges, forbs and wildflowers. You would only have to mow once a year, and think of the wildlife you'd attract. Clover might be another option.
    http://www.prairiefrontier.com/index.html
    http://www.prairienursery.com/
    http://www.prairiemoon.com/

    Some info on native wildflowers in your area.
    http://www.dnr.state.oh.us/tabid/19984/default.aspx

    Here's more ideas.
    http://ohioline.osu.edu/w-fact/0019.html
    http://ohioline.osu.edu/w-fact/0014.html
    http://newfarm.osu.edu/Naturalresources/Naturalresources.html

    You might even add some native berry producing shrubs. Deciduous hollies aka Ilex verticillata and Ilex serfata aka Winterberry come to mind with their edible berries for the birds in winter. They also look great with snow on them.
    http://www.usna.usda.gov/Gardens/faqs/HolliesWinter.html
    http://www.usna.usda.gov/Newintro/sparkle.html
    http://derrickrodgerslandscape.com/experttips.html

    I don't know if this will help you,but it's worth looking at.
    http://www.dnr.state.oh.us/default/programs/crep/default/tabid/8866/Default.aspx

    Newt
     
  4. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,720

    So you've got 30,000 sq. ft. (2/3 of an acre) of sloped terrain on either side of your drive that you DON'T want to mow ?

    Why not install crown vetch in those areas ?

    You've probably seen 'vetch' blooming along the interstate highways...in places that DOT crews planted it to stem any future erosion problems on hillsides, etc.

    Take a look at this site for some pics...ignore the "invasive species" stuff for crown vetch, because it really applies to folks in much warmer climates than ours in Ohio, THANKFULLY !! :)

    http://tncweeds.ucdavis.edu/esadocs/corovari.html


    You have to understand that the crown vetch "seed" is only the "female" half of the equation; because vetch is a legume that needs to be inoculated before it can grow.
    So you have to purchase an adequate amount of the proper "inoculant" (MALE component) to mix into a SLURRY with the actual vetch seed...and let 'DRY' (on burlap or whatever, in the shade) before spreading it.

    Other people hydroseed with it too...and this works well when the timing's "right"...but they have to use MUCH higher levels of inoculant for it to eventually 'take' well !

    Also....you'll need a temporary "nurse grass" such as annual rye to "hold the ground" from sliding away :laugh: while / until the vetch matures...which takes awhile.


    Shop around for the best pricing on seed ! (Obviously...don't buy individual vetch 'plants' for this job!)
    You may want to call these people...Ernst Seeds
    http://www.ernstseed.com/default.aspx

    They're "wholesale" on their price list, but they'll work with farmers / homeowners who are doing "big projects" on their own...and give them some special consideration with pricing.
    ___________________________________________

    So...you say you have 60,000 sq ft to do altogether ?
    That's about 1.4 acres worth of land, rounded up to the nearest tenth.


    Recommended rates:

    Crown vetch: 20 pounds / acre for your situation
    + corresponding recommended amount of inoculant for the seeding method
    Annual Rye: 100-200 pounds / acre, depending upon severity of slope
    Fertilizer: (18-24-12) 200 lb / acre
    + whatever straw or hydromulch you'll need


    :waving:
     
  5. Newt*

    Newt* LawnSite Member
    Posts: 182

    With no disrespect to Marcos, I wouldn't ignore the info about it's invasiveness. I do hope you don't have horses on your farm. Crown vetch is toxic to them if eaten in large quantities. From the link Marcos supplied:
    http://tncweeds.ucdavis.edu/esadocs/documnts/corovar.pdf

    There's lots more info, but I think you get the idea.

    Newt
     
  6. tacoma7583

    tacoma7583 LawnSite Member
    from OHIO
    Posts: 6

    I will probaly use a combination of the "no mow" grass on the flatter areas and the wildflowers on the steeper areas. i just need to plan out what areas should be what. the crown vetch looked like alot of work as it is.
     
  7. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,720

    C'mon down here to Buckeye Country, Newt ! :waving:

    I can show you dozens of examples of crown vetch jobs...in the city AND the "country"...many of which that were done 5, 10...maybe 15 years ago...and they show generally next to no signs of any major "invasion" of adjacent areas!

    I grew up with quarter horses and Arabians, on a farm where there was a fair amount of vetch in certain high-erosion spots.
    By and large, the horses generally weren't interested in it, compared to the pasture grasses, alfalfa, clover, etc that was so prevalent in the fields.
     
  8. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,720

    Not bad ideas!
    You could look for a "Links mix" of seed at Lesco or somewhere...that will mimic the look of a Scottish golf course rough (....and that's REALLY "rough" !! )

    Wildflowers are great...but they do need to be mown every fall...or at least every OTHER fall to keep the "bloomin" going !!

    Or, of course, there's the "burning" option ...to keep wildflowers viable!
    The Park District around here gets together with various fire departments in the fall, and has "wildflower and prairie rejuvenation sessions" :laugh: together, on (hopefully) somewhat-calm days !

    Going with crown vetch really isn't so much about any extra physical "work"...
    ...so much as it is about giving yourself an "education" about it before you get started.
    The nice thing about crown vetch is that, once it's established thoroughly after the rye dies out...you'll truly have an (almost) 'maintenance-free' area...except for possibly cutting out the occasional "tree" (like bush honeysuckle :cry:, maybe ) that might pop through it, it keeps everything else in check very well!
     
  9. Newt*

    Newt* LawnSite Member
    Posts: 182

    Marcos, thanks for the invite. You aren't that far from me in Maryland, so I just might surprise you! :) I've been through Ohio several times and always enjoyed my time there. We have crown vetch here ad nauseum as well. Fortunately natives and non-invasives have become much more popular which allows for lots more diversity for the wildlife. That's always is a good thing in my opinion.

    Glad to know that there haven't been any problems with the crown vetch where you are.

    Newt
     
  10. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,720

    Oh...you'll see the occasional "sprig" of vetch pop up here or there ..somewhat away from an established "mat" of vetch, but they seemingly NEVER form their own "root-colonies" of their own.

    But I'd gladly trade the concept of having a "more aggressive" crown vetch in this state...maybe to "escape" a little bit more... if ONLY we could figure out a way to make all the BUSH HONEYSUCKLE suddenly disappear from the face of the Earth !!!

    :cry::cry::cry::cry::cry::cry:

    http://www.nps.gov/plants/ALIEN/fact/loni1.htm


    I'm a huge Civil War freak... so we'll be going through Gettysburg PA for a day trip on the way to vacation in Williamsburg VA this summer, so we'll be seeing a little bit of Maryland this year (if we don't go BROKE before we get there!! :laugh:)
     

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