To mow or not to mow

That is the question

How much do you mow?

I have to mow my land down this year because it needs a good cleaning both in what is growing and just stuff. When the barn fell and things were being sorted things became very messy. It didn't help when easements came through and left half chopped bushes and trees.

I have mixed feeling on mowing a lot. I used to mow 13 hours just to get one mowing done here. Then I thought about cost, pollution and damage to nature. I took a few permaculture classes and studied animal rotation and more ecology to try and find other alternatives.

So this week I will mow fast before some of my native plants get going, then set up alternative ideas for less mowing.

I plan to see if I can get a mowing party going this weekend. A huge dinner and bonfire will help and I have plants to give away to many of my plant addicted friends who would show up.

I plan of having several "help me " parties or work-a-thons this spring early summer to help me get on track before the grass grows and its hard to work in some areas. I'm just trying to make it fair, easy and fun.

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Comments

  • water2world
    water2world Sherry Jochen Sevierville, TNPosts: 534 ✭✭✭

    @Denise Grant I don't have much to be mowed at this time, however, when we move to the farm, that will change! Right now, the cows are rotated to different pastures, and there are hay fields, and a lot has overgrown where the old farmhouse stood. Can't wait till we move there (In TN and farm in TX).

    I love your idea of a mowing party!! Sounds like a win win for everybody! Good luck this weekend!

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Moderator Posts: 2,683 admin

    @water2world I used to mow 5 acres. I do need to mow a bit by the creek and is makes the snakes go to the other side of the creek!

    Between animals, which are cheaper than gas and setting up food forests I can cut my mowing way back.

  • torey
    torey Moderator Posts: 3,540 admin

    My daughter had bare ground and has planted a low growing no-mow mix. Some really lovely flowers in the mix and it grows to between 4-6". Last year was the first year for it, so they are hoping it will fill in even more this year.

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Moderator Posts: 2,683 admin

    @torey Thats better for the environment. What was the name of her mix?

    Thanks for the idea

  • shllnzl
    shllnzl Southwestern UtahPosts: 1,636 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I will be looking at the above blends as an alternative to my miniature lawn.

    Nothing will save me from having to reduce the cheatgrass in my desert areas -- necessary to reduce wildfire fuels.

  • water2world
    water2world Sherry Jochen Sevierville, TNPosts: 534 ✭✭✭

    @Denise Grant Thanks for that tip about mowing by the creek and driving the snakes to the other side---Guess we will do that!!!

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Moderator Posts: 2,683 admin

    @water2world

    I keep ther edge picked up from branches, only stack wood for a bon fire the day we use it and keep it mowed. They like a place to hide or a rock to bask on.

    I have noticed on really wet summers they will leave the creek area and we might find them closer to ther house. The chickens and ducks tend to keep them further away too

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Moderator Posts: 2,683 admin

    @ Torey. Thank you. I will try to get some of this ordered.

    Thye both look like good pollinators

  • Megan Venturella
    Megan Venturella Posts: 472 ✭✭✭✭

    It’s funny. My husband and I just had a huge blowout because he decided to mow the area where I take my goats to graze. He wants everything neat and I want pasture for our animals. Go figure.

  • torey
    torey Moderator Posts: 3,540 admin

    What kind of snakes do you have? Not a fan of snakes.

    One of the benefits of living where it can snow almost any month of the year. No poisonous snakes. Only a couple of species of garter snakes and a rubber boa.

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Moderator Posts: 2,683 admin

    @torey those rubber boas scare me every time

  • SuperC
    SuperC Cook at Wahlburgers The Frozen Tundra in the Northern MidwestPosts: 369 ✭✭✭
    edited April 9

    @Denise Grant we are waiting to mow as this week is wonky with low temps going into the twenties. 13 hours of mowing is quite long. Good ideas fir community get-togethers, potlucks and bbqs sound fun!

  • vickeym
    vickeym Posts: 944 ✭✭✭✭

    Snakes are one of the reasons I live in Alaska. None can survive outside here. LOL

    torey I will also be looking into these mixes. We are mostly gravel, though we are hoping to clear a bit more this year so we can have some pasture areas and a larger garden area.

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Moderator Posts: 2,683 admin

    With a very large creek we have a variety of snakes. Grass snakes, garter snakes, Water moccasin (I do not like them at all - too long and scary. Mowing takes them to the other side of the creek.

    Then you have milk snakes (a little poisonous), spotted datters, and my neigbor saw a pygpy rattler - which is small and really packs a punch if it bites you. And just over the hill they have rattle snakes and can be 6 foot or longer. Never saw onwe of those and never want to.

    If I keep the bank picked up and give the mini swamp to wildlife in the summer I do not usually see snakes. If I do I use my snake scream which carries a long distance.

    @SuperC I like mowing. Its my time to thimk and no one bothers me but its not great for the environment and is expensive if I mow a lot. I am trying all kinds of alternatives to not have to mow. Animlas, food forests, native perennials, etc...

  • torey
    torey Moderator Posts: 3,540 admin

    @Denise Grant You are very brave to live in an area with so many snakes. At least from my perspective. I'm sure there are others who would appreciate these species but I would never be able to go outside.

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Moderator Posts: 2,683 admin

    @torey If I saw the snakes all the time I would not go out, lol. If I see a snake in the summer I will not go in that area again. Thye tend to like to go up in the hills and live there. If they get bored they come down and go to the swamp or creek. I refuse to go in the swamp in the summer. I do not like snakes. I know they have useful purposes and can even be eaten but I don't want to see them.

    I don;t think I saw a snake last year. Tis year I have to work by ther barn and clean up and stack boards so I will have to be on alert. I hera banging baords will scare them way but I prefer to sing ;)

  • jowitt.europe
    jowitt.europe Moderator Posts: 810 admin

    @Denise Grant normally I am against mowing, but if I had snakes in the garden I WOULD MOW!

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Moderator Posts: 2,683 admin

    @jolanta.wittib LOL, I agree. If I mow down by ther creek I can still have gardens up higher.

    I have put a few rock piles in areas i do not go hoping they will sun themselves there and leave my yard alone. Overall I see very few snakes.

  • karenjanicki
    karenjanicki Posts: 881 ✭✭✭✭

    I was always disappointed the last few years when my parents would mow. They have so many wonderful plants in their yard. But township rules. We only have a very little piece of rented land and we have to keep it mowed. It saddens me :,(.

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Moderator Posts: 2,683 admin
    edited April 20

    I live in the country but we have a inch requirement for lawns. If someone want to turn you in they can.

    I can bend the rules in places but...

    It helps if you mix flower in a call it a native garden or pollinator garden

  • jowitt.europe
    jowitt.europe Moderator Posts: 810 admin

    @Denise Grant that is a good idea - turning a lawn into a native or pollinator garden!

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Moderator Posts: 2,683 admin
    edited April 21

    @jolanta.wittib If you dress it up and add paths or garden art most towns will gladly accept them.

    Its all in presentation

  • SuperC
    SuperC Cook at Wahlburgers The Frozen Tundra in the Northern MidwestPosts: 369 ✭✭✭

    @Denise Grant try a manual weed whip. A long pole with a blade to cut grass as you swing it back and forth. Less expensive yet a full body workout.

  • Merin Porter
    Merin Porter Editorial Director Southwest Colorado (Zone 6a)Posts: 807 admin

    Our situation may be a little different, but we have some gnarly prickly weeds here and we choose to mow our yard as a way to help keep those weeds from regenerating without having to use herbicides. We also have pocket gophers, and we need to keep the grass short enough to be able to see and avoid the holes they create. So, I can see it from different sides. Sometimes, if mowing helps you avoid herbicides and keeps you out of the ER, I think you gotta do what you gotta do. :)

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 912 ✭✭✭✭

    Fresh-mowed grass is one of the best sources of nitrogen you could find.

    The mowed grass from our lawn, captured in a mower bag, is a huge part of the inputs that make my compost. So mowing perhaps 3/4 acre, combined with kitchen food scraps and leaves from the same lawn, produces a lot of compost to supplement my modest garden.

    Without that, I would probably need to purchase compost every year instead of every other year.

  • frogvalley
    frogvalley Posts: 680 ✭✭✭✭
    edited April 28

    The bank demanded we mow our 10 acres x number of times a year when we bought it to contain Johnson grass and Thistles. Once we paid off the loan, so we didn't have to mow it anymore. We did have it bush hogged at least once a year for years to keep down the fire risk. We built the house and continued the bush hogging until we fenced around half the house. We then started mowing it. Ugh! We planted like crazy and made swales to diminish our mow print as much as possible. We now have raised beds, swales, perennial plots and bare pathways, so the area to mow is minimal - under an hour. We're going to put shorter grass seed down, increase the number of raised beds, add more perennials and make formal pathways. Cutting grass just drives me crazy. It's like cutting hair, it's just going to regrow. I have better things to do.

    I caught my dog out there eating grass which reminded me that I may be in the market for a pygmy goat when the canines are no longer with us.

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Moderator Posts: 2,683 admin

    Even living in the country I have mowing regulations so I am creatively figuring out ways to not mow but have that semi tidy look they want and also keep snakes at bay.

    @frogvalley I am not sure if I am adding swales or hugles to the property, probably a combination of both and more terraces and raised beds are going in.

    I have a large area that will be wildflowers where I plant to put in paths and just let the color grow.

    I actually like mowing grass but between time, cost and the environment, I want better options.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 912 ✭✭✭✭

    Many of us could probably get away with mowing only the front yard most visible from the road, and let the back yard go to meadow.

    At a previous home we owned on 1 acre, I tried actively planting flowering meadow plants in the back yard (along with significant compost) while keeping the front yard as traditional mowed grass. It didn't work very well, as I just couldn't get the right mix going and looking good. I strongly suspect the new owners converted everything back to sod.

    At our current home, the grass we mow and capture from close to an acre of lawn is a key input into our compost pile, and ends up recycled back into the garden beds. Mowing can actively aid gardening!

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Moderator Posts: 2,683 admin

    Due to rain and schedule tomorrow will be my first mowing.

    I can hear my compost piles cheering, "Feed me, Feed me!"

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