Large project in north Georgia

Discuss how to and whether you should renovate your lawn
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Gooneygoogoo
Posts: 12
Joined: June 13th, 2018, 12:37 pm
Location: North Georgia
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Large project in north Georgia

Post by Gooneygoogoo » June 13th, 2018, 7:16 pm

First let me thank everyone on here for helping me with a renovation on my current lawn. I wasn’t a posting member but read lots of good information and was able to successfully kill my Bermuda lawn and got great results seeding about 15,000 sq ft of Tall Fescue this past fall.

I have a much bigger project to tackle now and figured I would become more active and try to get a plan together. Sorry in advance if this is lengthy but like I said it’s a large project so bear with me.

I recently bought 22 acres in north Georgia and will be beginning construction on a new home in about 1-2 months. I will be having 4-6 acres cleared and stumped around the home site. My long term goal is to have approximately 1.5-2 acres of ornamental/recreational lawn and the rest of the cleared land would be pasture. I would love to have the ornamental lawn be Zoysia and then over seed with fescue or rye in the fall (I know I’m begging for a lot of work but I enjoy it and would like to have green grass year round). I have no experience with zoysia (although my dad has a zoysia lawn and it does wonderfully) but I have a good bit of experience with Fescue.

One of the questions I have is timing. The land will be cleared by mid to late August but I won’t be living close enough to keep water on any seed for about 8 months. Should I let the weeds come and just bush hog it and then use glyphosate a few weeks before I seed? Should I plant a cover crop or something? I also don’t know if it would be better to start with Fescue this fall or zoysia next summer. I would like to try seeding Zenith zoysia for cost purposes. I know this will be a long process and I don’t expect to have the perfect lawn right after the house is completed so I am open to planting something temporary (cheaper Fescue, cover crop, etc) while I don’t live there to reduce washout and then working over the next year or so to achieve the results I want and getting the soil right.

One other thing of note, I do have some large equipment to use. My father in law lives next door and has a large tractor with roto-tiller and 2 bottom plow. I plan on buying a smaller tractor to use for seeding, manure spreading etc and maybe a zero turn for mowing. Any help is greatly appreciated!

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andy10917
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Re: Large project in north Georgia

Post by andy10917 » June 13th, 2018, 8:17 pm

You could do a cover crop, or you could just fallow it and hit it with Roundup every 7-8 weeks. You can buy RU in 5 gallon containers for dirt-cheap money. All of that fallowing is certain to burn out the seed bank for weeds. Hitting it every 7-8 weeks should mean the weeds won't easily get to seeding size, so no adding to the bank.

I wouldn't rototill that soil in GA if you paid me. Subsoil and topsoil mix all too easily, and the mixed material sucks.

Gooneygoogoo
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Joined: June 13th, 2018, 12:37 pm
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Re: Large project in north Georgia

Post by Gooneygoogoo » June 13th, 2018, 10:22 pm

RU is a simple solution, I like it! If I did decide to go with a cover crop for erosion control is there anything in particular you would recommend? Once it’s time to put grass seed down would you just spray the cover crop with RU a couple weeks before? And lastly would you go ahead and start working on getting the soil right based on soil tests once the clearing is complete? Thanks for the info!

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andy10917
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Re: Large project in north Georgia

Post by andy10917 » June 13th, 2018, 10:34 pm

We had a member that was very successful with Brown Top Millet as a cover crop a couple of years ago. I generally advise AGAINST using Annual Rye for the purpose as it can put Annual Rye into the weed seed bank of your soil.

Yes, you can get the soil conditioning underway as soon as the trucks leave the property.

Gooneygoogoo
Posts: 12
Joined: June 13th, 2018, 12:37 pm
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Re: Large project in north Georgia

Post by Gooneygoogoo » June 14th, 2018, 5:03 pm

Sounds good I will try to post some pictures as the project goes along!


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GeorgiaDad
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Re: Large project in north Georgia

Post by GeorgiaDad » June 14th, 2018, 7:28 pm

andy10917 wrote:
June 13th, 2018, 8:17 pm

I wouldn't rototill that soil in GA if you paid me. Subsoil and topsoil mix all too easily, and the mixed material sucks.
Amen to that.

Where in N. Georgia are you? I'm between Buford and Suwanee.

Gooneygoogoo
Posts: 12
Joined: June 13th, 2018, 12:37 pm
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Re: Large project in north Georgia

Post by Gooneygoogoo » June 14th, 2018, 7:35 pm

GeorgiaDad wrote:
June 14th, 2018, 7:28 pm
andy10917 wrote:
June 13th, 2018, 8:17 pm

I wouldn't rototill that soil in GA if you paid me. Subsoil and topsoil mix all too easily, and the mixed material sucks.
Amen to that.

Where in N. Georgia are you? I'm between Buford and Suwanee.
We’ll be up in Marble Hill near Big Canoe so a little further north. We’re in Snellville now but headed towards the mountains. My wife works in Suwanee though!

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HoosierLawnGnome
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Re: Large project in north Georgia

Post by HoosierLawnGnome » June 15th, 2018, 11:47 am

flying-low did a few renovations here in Indiana without irrigation on about your size of acreage. Now, it's a cool season renovation, but there's still value. Search and enjoy.

You have to think about your renovation differently than the smaller renovations you see a lot of posts about here. Equipment and mother nature are your best partners.

Gooneygoogoo
Posts: 12
Joined: June 13th, 2018, 12:37 pm
Location: North Georgia
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Re: Large project in north Georgia

Post by Gooneygoogoo » June 26th, 2018, 5:17 pm

The more I think about it, the more I am leaning toward a cover crop on the whole 5 acres (leaving about .5-1 acre bare since builder will be all over it). That will give me until next spring to get the soil right and I have a feeling that once I clear land that has been growing hardwoods forever, it's going to move my top soil all over the place so I think I will need the time to get it right. Hopefully the cover crop will add needed organic matter and I can add lime and fertilizer based on soil tests. Once the build is complete next spring, I would like to sprig the 2 acres around the house with hybrid Bermuda from a local sod farm and will likely do a summer cover crop on the other 4 acres to get to fall when I can seed a fescue pasture. So 2 more questions:

1- going from cover crop to sprigs, is there any concern with the sprigs sitting on top of the cut cover crop and not making soil contact? I know not to roto-till the cover crop in as mentioned above so anything I need to be aware of to transition from cover crop to sprigs?

2- In order to spread lime, fertilizer and seed over 5 acres, obviously I need more than a push spreader so I am thinking I need to look into a sub-compact tractor with a pto for a 3 point spreader. I am looking at some of the Kubota's with a 54"-60" belly mower. Anybody have any experience with some of the BX model Kubota's? Will they do a nice job cutting the Bermuda at around 1"?

Thanks for all the help, pretty excited about this project. Hope to get working on it here in about 6 weeks or so

Gooneygoogoo
Posts: 12
Joined: June 13th, 2018, 12:37 pm
Location: North Georgia
Grass Type: Tall Fescue, zoysia
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Re: Large project in north Georgia

Post by Gooneygoogoo » July 8th, 2018, 7:38 am

Here are some before pics. Figured I’d try to document as much as possible. Looks like I’m going to start with a cover crop of crimson clover and cereal rye. Will post more pics once some clearing is complete.

Image

Image

Gooneygoogoo
Posts: 12
Joined: June 13th, 2018, 12:37 pm
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Re: Large project in north Georgia

Post by Gooneygoogoo » November 15th, 2018, 12:04 pm

Update: We were able to clear the land and I am waiting on the finish grade to have lime put down and seed my winter cover crop. I need about 9 tons of lime for the area and found a company that will come spread it for $44/ton. Was hoping to get the seed down mid to late Oct but rain has caused delays. I found a company that will sprig Bermuda or Zoysia but it looks like it will cost about $12,000 to sprig Bermuda and with the building costs, I probably won't be able to do that right off the bat. So looks like I will put down a winter cover crop and then a summer cover crop and try to get the soil right to seed either fescue, rye, or KBG next Fall. Hopefully I can get some of the clover and rye to come up and I'll post some more pics. Let me know if y'all have any thoughts.

Image

Gooneygoogoo
Posts: 12
Joined: June 13th, 2018, 12:37 pm
Location: North Georgia
Grass Type: Tall Fescue, zoysia
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Re: Large project in north Georgia

Post by Gooneygoogoo » August 20th, 2019, 5:20 pm

Well it’s been a while and unfortunately I have not had much luck. I wasn’t able to get my first attempt at a cover crop down until early December which I knew would be too late so didn’t expect much and hardly anything came up. I did spread about 7 tons of lime on the 1.5 acres around the home site in March. Then tried planting buckwheat and white clover late March. It actually came up but only got about an inch high and fizzled out. At this point the house was getting close to completion and I didn’t want to have to seed and straw the whole 1.5 acres so just wanted to get something to grow so we could pass the county inspection. So I gave brown top millett a shot early July. I also decided since I just wanted SOMETHING to grow to buy some bulk fertilizer. Had good rain and within 1 week things were looking great. I was just hoping to grow some tall vegetation for biomass. It got super hot about 3 weeks after sowing and growth stopped and it looks like almost everything has died. I am thinking that the builder just pushed all the topsoil around and I have terrible dirt but I don’t know how to improve such a large area without spending some serious money. I’m not expecting to have a beautiful lawn right off the bat and don’t mind working hard at it for a few years but man I just need SOMETHING to grow! I have noticed the soil seems very hard about an inch down so I was thinking about doing the BLSC plan. I think planting TTTF at the end of September is probably out of the question this fall so I need to focus on a couple growing seasons of work that will improve the soil for next fall. I will be getting a soil test soon but if you have any thoughts in the meantime let me have it! Please don’t say bring inn10 loads of topsoil...I checked and it’s $600 per load haha!

TimmyG
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Re: Large project in north Georgia

Post by TimmyG » August 20th, 2019, 9:43 pm

Gooneygoogoo wrote:
August 20th, 2019, 5:20 pm
I did spread about 7 tons of lime on the 1.5 acres around the home site in March.
Holy schnikeys! That's 214 lb/k or over four times the recommended maximum application rate for standard dolomitic lime (unless tilled in). What did you base your lime needs on if not a soil test?

Gooneygoogoo
Posts: 12
Joined: June 13th, 2018, 12:37 pm
Location: North Georgia
Grass Type: Tall Fescue, zoysia
Lawn Size: Not Specified
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Re: Large project in north Georgia

Post by Gooneygoogoo » August 20th, 2019, 11:00 pm

TimmyG wrote:
August 20th, 2019, 9:43 pm
Gooneygoogoo wrote:
August 20th, 2019, 5:20 pm
I did spread about 7 tons of lime on the 1.5 acres around the home site in March.
Holy schnikeys! That's 214 lb/k or over four times the recommended maximum application rate for standard dolomitic lime (unless tilled in). What did you base your lime needs on if not a soil test?
I did have a soil test done and the ph was 4.8. They recommended 9 tons per acre. Not sure if it makes a difference but it wasn’t dolomitic lime but rather ag lime

TimmyG
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Re: Large project in north Georgia

Post by TimmyG » August 21st, 2019, 12:33 pm

But that kind of recommendation is the estimated total amount you need to raise the pH, not necessarily the amount to be applied all at once unless tilled in and even then maybe split into multiple tillage operations. If that amount is applied to the surface and not tilled in, you end up creating a very inhospitable environment for seedlings. Standard limes are very slow to move deeper into the soil, so when surface applied, you want to apply at modest rates and repeat every few months for as long as a few years (before switching to maintenance applications).

Penn State Extension: Soil Acidity and Aglime
The above article seems to be a good reference for ag lime applied at the levels you're dealing with. In particular, take a look at the table toward the end of the article "suggesting how the total liming material required can be split for more efficient use. Separate the applications by six months or at least by tillage operations (see the right-hand column). In no-till, the recommended aglime can be applied in smaller, more frequent applications."

Long story short, if you didn't till (I saw no mention of doing so), you may want to consider the lime as one reason why the "buckwheat and white clover...actually came up but only got about an inch high and fizzled out."

Gooneygoogoo
Posts: 12
Joined: June 13th, 2018, 12:37 pm
Location: North Georgia
Grass Type: Tall Fescue, zoysia
Lawn Size: Not Specified
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Re: Large project in north Georgia

Post by Gooneygoogoo » August 21st, 2019, 3:10 pm

TimmyG wrote:
August 21st, 2019, 12:33 pm
But that kind of recommendation is the estimated total amount you need to raise the pH, not necessarily the amount to be applied all at once unless tilled in and even then maybe split into multiple tillage operations. If that amount is applied to the surface and not tilled in, you end up creating a very inhospitable environment for seedlings. Standard limes are very slow to move deeper into the soil, so when surface applied, you want to apply at modest rates and repeat every few months for as long as a few years (before switching to maintenance applications).

Penn State Extension: Soil Acidity and Aglime
The above article seems to be a good reference for ag lime applied at the levels you're dealing with. In particular, take a look at the table toward the end of the article "suggesting how the total liming material required can be split for more efficient use. Separate the applications by six months or at least by tillage operations (see the right-hand column). In no-till, the recommended aglime can be applied in smaller, more frequent applications."

Long story short, if you didn't till (I saw no mention of doing so), you may want to consider the lime as one reason why the "buckwheat and white clover...actually came up but only got about an inch high and fizzled out."
Interesting thank you for the info. I did run the disc harrow over the area that was limed, then broadcast the seed and then used a drag to lightly cover the seed. The discs probably only went 3-4 inches deep though. Will be interesting to see what the next soil test says.

I guess at this point I’m trying to decide if my best course of action is to use BLSC and plant another cover (something that will hopefully produce a lot of biomass like cereal rye) in about 1 month and try frequent light fertilizing to keep it alive. Or if I need to try something like spreading a bunch of manure to hopefully instantly elevate OM. I may be able to find free manure in my area and the neighbor has an old manure spreader (not sure if it works). Or if there is a better plan.

Gooneygoogoo
Posts: 12
Joined: June 13th, 2018, 12:37 pm
Location: North Georgia
Grass Type: Tall Fescue, zoysia
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Re: Large project in north Georgia

Post by Gooneygoogoo » November 20th, 2019, 4:26 pm

Well it’s been a long road getting anything to grow but the hard work is finally paying off. I think it’s mostly due to absolutely PERFECT conditions for at least 4 weeks after I put seed out. Just the right amount of rain so that seed didn’t dry out and perfect temps. I’m not where I want to be yet as I still have some low spots and the area right around the house will need some soil conditioning and will probably take until next fall to get right but it’s a start. Thanks for all the help so far. I’m sure I will continue to have questions and need advice.
Image

Gooneygoogoo
Posts: 12
Joined: June 13th, 2018, 12:37 pm
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Re: Large project in north Georgia

Post by Gooneygoogoo » November 20th, 2019, 6:31 pm

More pics:
Image

Image

Image

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