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Seeding Over a Cornfield

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by GravelyGuy, Feb 22, 2012.

  1. GravelyGuy

    GravelyGuy LawnSite Silver Member
    from Indiana
    Posts: 2,517

    I am thinking about buying a 10 acre lot that is currently a cornfield. I will be building a house and pole barn on the property. My business is mainly fertilizer/weed control and maintenance, so I do not have a tractor or anything to tackle this large of a job. I don't think my 18" slice seeder is adequate:laugh: I could rent equipment, but I am not very experienced using large equipment.

    Is it best to try and find a farmer to disc the field? Anyone ever tried to start a lawn over corn? How expensive is this going to get?

    Help me out please;)
  2. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,225

    Farmers are busy in spring, but maybe a farmer's 15 year old kid would be willing to smooth it our for you.

    I hope there is nothing chemical wise in the soil that would kill the grass seed. Smooth it our and broadcast the seed on loose soil--should work. Perhaps drag it a bit to work the seed into the soil. I would say aim for late April.
  3. agrostis

    agrostis LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,294

    I would think that if it is a no-till field then you shoudn't need to disc. Corn is a annual but you might get some wild corn on the edge's. Find a local farmer to help you plant. I don't know what would be the right thing to plant for your area. Your cost depend's on what you want. The more manicured, the more expensive. 10 acre's... If you don't have any experience with large equipment then how do you plan on mowing that ?
  4. atasteofnature

    atasteofnature LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 405

    I would get a soil test done on the area. The corn has probably depleted a lot of nutrients out of the soil the grass needs to grow. Ran into this same problem with my father-in-law's funeral home land. Good Luck!
  5. GravelyGuy

    GravelyGuy LawnSite Silver Member
    from Indiana
    Posts: 2,517

    Thank you guys. It is actually a small development with 5 other houses. They are smaller lots, but they all seem to have been able to get grass to grow. Maintaining it will be no trouble I have 60" ZTRs and a Zspray.

    Corn has a pretty strong root system, will the old stalks/roots need removed after tilling/discing or will they decompose pretty quick? What is the best tool for this?
  6. atasteofnature

    atasteofnature LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 405

    To decompose the microboes will need oxygen to do their job. If the land is compact I would try to move air into the system some how. ie: tilling, aerifying, discing, whatever it will take to make the anaerobic conditions to an aerobic conditions so the microbes can do their work.
  7. atasteofnature

    atasteofnature LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 405

    Also the lignin, I believe, the corn is composed of is also harder for the microbes to break down as well and will take a little longer.
  8. KS_Grasscutter

    KS_Grasscutter LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,332

    Are you wanting the whole 10 acres to be lawn or just "grass" lol? I would first hire someone to disc it a couple times to help chop up the corn stalks to get them to decompose. Then I would get on craigslist and buy a compact tractor cheap, and a little 3pt grain drill. Also will need a cultivator or harrow to smooth it up good. You can do little sections at a time to make it more manageable.

    If it was mine, I'd build my house and shop, then farm the other 8.5 acres haha.
  9. ochosdaddy

    ochosdaddy LawnSite Member
    Posts: 222

    Are you required to turn it all over to turf? If not, you might get a tax break if you leave a good portion to farmland. Talk with a (good) accountant before you seed it! I have a client who lives on 30 acres or so. His lawn is 1.5 acres, the rest is left as native grass. Once per year a farmer comes in and bales it up all so my client can call it farmland and receive all the associated tax breaks.
  10. GravelyGuy

    GravelyGuy LawnSite Silver Member
    from Indiana
    Posts: 2,517

    That is a damn good idea. It is being leased by a farmer now. Land is VERY hard to find in my area so I have to work with less than ideal situations like this.

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