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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Posts
    8
    Location
    Avoca, MI
    Tractor
    Still deciding

    Default old Corn Field to Grass

    I am in the process of purchasing a home with 10acres. The acreage used to be a corn field. I am trying to figure out the best way to take 2-3 acres of this old corn field and turn it into nice grass. I was thinking of tilling the area, grading it and then seeding. Sod is to expensive and so is hydoseeding, so it will just be regular seed covered by hay.

    Questions:
    Is there a good weed killer to start with?

    How does the weed killer affect the well and the water being used in the house?

    Are there any limitiations for what can be done above the Septic tank?

    If anyone has done this before Iwould be interested in the process they used and any pictures of the process or the end result.

    Thanks ~ Mark

  2. #2
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Posts
    1,396
    Location
    Queensland, Australia
    Tractor
    Kubota L1-20 DT

    Default Re: old Corn Field to Grass

    mark

    There is a recent thread in Rural Living about turning field into grass.

    Not sure about corn but they seem to think if you just mow it long enough, the grass will grow. I tend to agree and I mow a lot of weeds and they look pretty good after a while !

    Roundup is a good weed killer and is non-residual, meaning once it had touched the ground, it is gone, only affecting the plants it touches.

    Cheers


  3. #3
    Super Star Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Posts
    12,821
    Location
    Upper Midwest USA
    Tractor
    JD_4x2_Gator, JD_4300, JD_X485, JD_425, JD_455, JD_110

    Default Re: old Corn Field to Grass

    With an old corn field, there are corn stalks and corn roots to deal with. The best, in my opinion, is to have that land plowed - either yourself or hired done. Best to plow deep with a good plow adjusted properly to turn everything over, burying the corn stalks and roots. Then disk harrow, drag harrow, and prepare the soil so it is level, worked up fine, and ready for grass seeding. The seeding could be done with a cover crop like rye which comes up fast, and protects the finer seed, like blue grass. Or you can spread chopped hay over the ground, but you will get the weed seeds that come with the hay.
    I wouldn't spray anything until after your lawn is established in a couple years. Give or take on that time period depending on how the seeding comes along. Then spray with a broadleaf mix such as Weed-B-Gon.

    This is one way of going at it. There are other ways too.

  4. #4
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Posts
    907
    Tractor
    yanmar ym1810

    Default Re: old Corn Field to Grass

    Might want to check out the pasture faq.
    http://www.18james.com//rural/pasture.html

  5. #5
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Posts
    1,726
    Location
    Cambridge, New York
    Tractor
    JD425 lawn tractor; JD4710 CUT; JD JX75 Walk Behind

    Default Re: old Corn Field to Grass

    Welcome to the forums Mark!!

    <font color=blue>How does the weed killer affect the well and the water being used in the house?</font color=blue>

    This shouldn't be a problem unless you have a shallow dug well. Drilled wells go down 60-70 feet at minimum. In clay-loam soil, percolation rates are slow and toxic ingredients of weed killer will deteriorate before it gets to these levels.

    <font color=blue>Are there any limitiations for what can be done above the Septic tank?</font color=blue>

    Likewise, septic shouldn't be affected. Weed killer on leach field-drywell may actually enhance the decomposition process. Hope this helps.

    Regards,
    Bob Ancar
    Cambridge, NY

  6. #6
    Elite Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
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    2,630
    Location
    Kansas
    Tractor
    Kubota BX2200, Kubota B2410

    Default Re: old Corn Field to Grass

    When we moved to this place I decided to plant the front two acres with fescue and the back four with broam, alfalfa and red clover. I had a farmer come out with a big tractor and gang disc and he worked for a good week tilling and dragging and smoothing. He then used a seed drill to put the seed in. This cost me about 2,000 dollars. Now four years latter I still have barren spots and the back four have been diffucult, my problems compounded by 2 years of drought but it is coming along. I have used my various 'botas to do additional seeding etc. In fact I just bought 200 dollars of red clover and alfalfa seed and I have been harrowing my field to get it ready.
    I have been told and you will hear the same thing from enviro-geeks, let it go to nature or plant wildflowers or something goofy like that. I did some study on "natural" prarie. The top soil is deep and the roots of native prarie grassses go 20 or more feet deep. Seeds are avaialble for natural grasses--native grasses. Here is the probelm--you cannot convert a wheat field, corn field back to natural habitat in one year, it could if left to nature take decades or even lifetimes. First the soil is tired and thin from all the monoculture cropping and there is no soil horizon developement from having been tilled and then there is the chemical stuff after decades of farming--no--it will not work. First you have to establish some type of cover crop and then get it seeded in with something similar to broam/clover mix or whatever is used in your area. The clovers are legumes which will add nitrogen to the soil. You will need to mow it out enough to surpress volunteer wheat, cheat and weeds. Avoid chemicals other than fetilizer. You will have to reseed over and over till it establishes. Once a soil begins to develop other forage grasses or native plants can be introduced by harrowing and no till with a seed drill or harrowing and broadcast with a spreader like my Herd M-96. I sure would like to find a small seed drill--cheap. Mowing enough to keep the weeds down but not surpress the desireable grasses can be a fine balance, I avoid mowing till I see the weeds trying to go to seed and then I attack. Yes, it keeps my desireable grasses from seeding also but then that it why I buy the seed every spring and fall--I keep seeding in--the weeds don't get to seed (most are annuals) so as I continue to seed I should in the end win??????huh????. Eventually the weeds will go away and the grasses will take over and someday mowing can be reduced or even eliminated almost entirely as a more natural habitat becomes established.
    J

  7. #7
    Elite Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
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    2,630
    Location
    Kansas
    Tractor
    Kubota BX2200, Kubota B2410

    Default Re: old Corn Field to Grass

    Oh, Minnesota Mark, it will take you several years--well maybe quite a bit more for all this to take place and I see you do not have a tractor, might I suggest a kubota. Some of my neighbors were smart and got real tractors, most bought new or nearly new machines but my most immediate neighbors with some exceptions went out and bought lawnmowers from Sears and Walmart(well a couple bought old 8N's and one has since traded for a 'bota). They have been paying people to do all this stuff and more than that they cannot mow out the properety so weeds are taking over. And, and, yep, their cheapo, disposable tractor styled lawnmowers are biting the dust one by one. One guy spent 6,000 or more dollars on a--well--I am not going to say--it was a wonderful machine, grass bagger, vacum attachment, a toy roller and aerator and a little wagon and it would have been an excellent setup for a nice 2 acres smooth urban lawn, an ex-wheat field in Kansas--NO!!!!!! I asked him when he got it what he was planning on vacuming and bagging (?), he gave me this blank stare--well now several years latter, he has 5 acres of weeds, briars, stickers and ticks and a lawnmower that is ready for the junk pile, I got green grass, a green field and an orange 'bota (or two).
    J

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Posts
    8
    Location
    Avoca, MI
    Tractor
    Still deciding

    Default Re: old Corn Field to Grass

    TresCrows - Thanks for the input and pointing out that this is going to take time. You are right ~ I do not have a tractor (yet!!). I am going this weekend to look at the 'bota's. I posted under the kubota posting asking if the BX2200 would be enough tractor to handle the projects I foresee in the future. I am going to look at the 'bota's with a friend that owns a B2710 and he absolutely loves it.

    What are your thoughts on this question ~ I can buy a new BX2200 with MMM and FEL from a dealer or I have the opportunity to buy a B2710 with FEL and rear blade with 40 hours on it for 15-16k. Which would you recommend?

    I am considering the BX because I do not see the future benefit of have something bigger. The land I am buying is flat with nothing on it but my house.

  9. #9
    Elite Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Posts
    2,630
    Location
    Kansas
    Tractor
    Kubota BX2200, Kubota B2410

    Default Re: old Corn Field to Grass

    I might be temepted by that 2710 despite my love of the BX. I am with you on not buying to big. You will probably end up primarily using your tractor for mowing and i suppose snow removal which are all theings the BX is very good at. Yeah--you go look with your friend (who may be biased to bigger is better) and then sit on the tractors and look them all over and talk to the dealer. It may be best not to buy that day but give it a few days to mull over unless that 2710 is such a great deal you just have to have it right then. Good luck, let us all know how it turns out. J

  10. #10
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
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    1,028
    Location
    Mid-Michigan
    Tractor
    Kubota L3710 GST

    Default Re: old Corn Field to Grass

    the only thing I would add (excuse me for jumping in) ... is to evaluate exactly what you plan to use it for ... and then think about what else you might want to do in the future. I always bought what I needed and then immediately mourned the fact "it was too small" .... I'm very happy that my wife persuaded me to go larger this time ...

    wingnut

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