Drainage Basin - Maintenance Methods and Type of Grass Help

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by JClark86, Dec 20, 2012.

  1. JClark86

    JClark86 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 16

    I could see where this question could fit in 3 or 4 sub forums, sorry if I picked the wrong one.

    I'm a real estate developer in central Virginia. We just put in a very large storm water drainage basin with very steep sides. For all previous basins I've done, the sides were less steep and we (and the HOAs and grounds management companies after us) were able to just mow them normally, but that wont really be possible this time.

    So here are my two questions to the experts:

    a) Is there a method I am not thinking of that would allow us to easily cut the basin on a regular basis? It's too steep for a ZTR and even too steep for a stander. That leaves, as far as I can tell, string trimmers which would take an age to do. Purchasing another mower (large walk behind?) just for this purpose is probably not in the cards.

    b) If there is no method I'm not thinking of, what are some types of grass I can plant on the steep walls that doesn't grow very high (6" max would be great)? I know of weeping love grass but it's not exactly attractive. By keeping it from growing tall, it means we won't have to cut it more than once or twice per year. I'm told weeping love will take over the fescue mix that is currently beginning to grow on it which is a bonus. Completely stripping the surface and replanting is not an option - the soil must be and remain stabilized.

    Very much appreciate your thoughts!

  2. Tunica

    Tunica LawnSite Member
    Messages: 124

    without the degree of slope its just a wag
  3. JClark86

    JClark86 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 16

    Uploading photos as we speak. I dont have the plans with me so I cant determine the exact slope right now but these should give you a general idea.

    One end is slightly steeper than the the other.

  4. LawnGuy110

    LawnGuy110 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,105

    I may be wrong but from those pictures the slope doesnt look too bad
  5. ashgrove landscaping

    ashgrove landscaping LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,529

    A fleet of push mowers..??? You can a lot of that with the Z I bet and then just trim the rest, PITA but you'll get more and more of it w the Z as time goes on and it firms up with growth
  6. ashgrove landscaping

    ashgrove landscaping LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,529

    Seem it out and go back and forth/ up and down. might have to reverse down for a while till its got a heavy thatch going. The Z will work no problem.
  7. yardguy28

    yardguy28 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,463

    I'd be wrong as well then b/c that looks about like the slope I have in a clients backyard. I mow the whole yard with a 52" toro grandstand and I've had sit down ztrs as loaners and mowed it no problem.
  8. JClark86

    JClark86 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 16

    Good to hear! Maybe it's size is screwing with my mind when I look at it. I'm going to wait until its good and rooted before I try to mow.
  9. agrostis

    agrostis LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,529

    That can be mowed with 21" push mower's, no problem. It might take a couple of hour's, but it's the safest way. I'll bet a bigger machine could do that if they mow up and down the slope. If the bottom of the spillway is wet, and that will be the case a few time's a year, pushmower's might be your only option. Keep those rock's under the outlet's sprayed with roundup.

    Lovegrass is a warm season grass, you, in central VA, are in a cool season grass area. I don't think lovegrass will survive the winter. You need to stabilize that soil right now. Annual ryegrass is the best choice (because of fast germination and deep root's) But it is mighty late in the year for any grass to germinate well, but rye is still your best bet. It will grow like crazy in the spring, but die in the late summer, then on Sept 1, 2013, seed a 85% fescue, 15% bluegrass blend at 6 Lb.s of fescue per 1000 sq. ft. I'm not sure what the optimal rate of KBG is for that. Stripping the soil is not required. There is no cool season grass that doesn't need cutting, don't let those bull---- ad's fool you. Earthwork at this time of year dictate's this type of planting, you aren't going too be able to seed it now and call it done, that's the reality of making a spillway in December. Good luck.
  10. JClark86

    JClark86 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 16

    Thanks agrostis.

    The whole area is currently seeded with the standard fescue/mix mix and will be stabilized by spring. Weeping Lovegrass is used here for erosion control on steep slopes commonly, and if that was the plan we would seed it in the spring. I was told it would take over the fescue/rye mix within a few months. Also, the bottom of the basin shouldn't have standing water in it once the project is complete. It will stay moist for longer, sure, but it will eventually be a dry basin. It sounds like I can try to mow it and if it doesnt work just hit it with the lovegrass.

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