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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So last fall I finally bought a house and just shy of 10 acres. Roughly 4-5 acres of it is what I’m being told is prairie grass (what kind I’m not sure) that I don’t believe has been dealt with in several years.
I don’t really know anything about it but it’s getting to the point that it is so grown that a bunch of it is laying over now. I don’t know if it is still dormant or this is how it’s supposed to be. I was hoping that I’d already start to see it turning green or new growth coming up but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
Some of the taller stalks are 3-4’ tall and I’m thinking it needs cut. I was originally thinking brush hog but I’m worried that it’s going to leave a bunch of long pieces laying or that the spots that are already laying over won’t get cut.
So I started looking into flail mowers and I’m beginning to think that may be my best bet to get a consistent cut on all of this. Finding one for my ‘17 2032R may prove to be somewhat difficult right now.
I really don’t know how quickly this stuff grows or if it will even come back if I cut it. I am not seeing any green at the base of any of it. The wind is always blowing here as I’m surrounded by farm field so it does serve as a little bit of a wind break which I would like to have back come winter.
So to recap...
-does anyone know what kind of “prairie grass” this may be?
-is it going to grow back if I cut it?
-best course of action?
-if flail mower is the way to go, what recommended size for a 2017 2032R?
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If you cut any of the stalks/blades off, do you see any growth on the inside?
I have some ornamental grass that grows in bunches and it needs to be cut down as the new growth comes up inside the stalks from the prior year.
 

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A flail would work good for that, going to be tough going first time through. I wouldn't count out a rotary cutter though, my Frontier RC2060 can cut down to about 2.5" and actually does a much better job of pulling laid down material up to cut than one would think, that's what I would use simply because that's what I have. I have been looking at flails myself, the Woodmaxx is a solid unit.
This one in particular looks great for a 2 series
 

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I would bet that your local land grant university Ag school and extension service will offer you lots of assistance. I know mine (Clemson University in South Carolina) is a wonderful source of information, tailored to the local ecosystem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I will have to go break some off tomorrow and see if there’s anything fresh on the inside.

@PJR832, that’s one of the flails I was looking at minus the hydraulic shift. I may have access to a rotary cutter from a guy at work. I believe it’s only a 48” but if I could get ahold of it that may buy me some time in finding a flail as well as at least getting it knocked down if that’s what it needs. I have no experience with a rotary cutter so I didn’t know how well they could pull material up to cut if it was already laid down. Either way, the first cut will definitely be slow going. Probably even more so with a flail if it didn’t get knocked down first.

A call to the local extension is a good idea. I will have to try to track down someone. Ohio State here. Reckon the DNR may be of assistance at all? At least for contacts?
 

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Burn it, you will not hurt it one bit. The prairie grass will come back strong. It’s a common practice in Kansas or at least it was years ago.
 

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A flail would work good for that, going to be tough going first time through. I wouldn't count out a rotary cutter though, my Frontier RC2060 can cut down to about 2.5" and actually does a much better job of pulling laid down material up to cut than one would think, that's what I would use simply because that's what I have. I have been looking at flails myself, the Woodmaxx is a solid unit.
This one in particular looks great for a 2 series
I was also looking at it -- it is made in China.

rob
 
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Burn it, you will not hurt it one bit. The prairie grass will come back strong. It’s a common practice in Kansas or at least it was years ago.
I agree -- burn it.

rob
 

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On old pasture like that I run my brush hog 15cm about 6" high... Mowing it at least a couple times a summer.. The weeds, thistle, brush don't come back as fast as the grass will..
When you get the initial growth knocked down, lower the mower to 10cm, 4" and keep at it..
Persistence and seat time are your best weapons with this I have found..
Every ones experience will be different..
 

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Looks like a warm season grass. Maybe switch or bluestem. I would not mow it. Periodic burning is good although it may be too late depending on where you are located. We burn sections every year.

As mentioned, talk to a local extension agent.

dsb
 

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Nothing wrong w prairie grass in my opinion. If you shred it, it will come back and then just keep it mowed if you like. Burning is a great option and that is what kept the prairies going strong in the past. Your county agent will be able to help you identify, but it would be easier if it were greened up. Good luck with your choices and your new place.
 

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It needs burned. Native tallgrass prairie is the most endangered ecosystem on the planet. Many ground nesting birds that rely on it have seen tremendous population declines.
 

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If you don’t keep it burnt off in the spring or mowed a few times in the summer or some combination of the two that will quickly transform into weeds and brush and small trees making it much more difficult to manage.
If you list your location in your profile it will help others give you better advice (I know you mentioned Ohio State but OH is a big state with a different climate from N to S).
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Ok so here’s a little update after a call to a local extension field specialist.. he recommends leaving it alone for now.

Apparently they like to see a 3-5 year cycle on these kinds of things where after that timeframe you either burn it in or disc it to expose some soil which is supposed to simulate the trampling that buffalo or antelope would have done. It is at this time that conservationists like to introduce new species (flowers, or grasses) if that’s what you decide you want to do. He says that because these are warm season grasses that it most likely won’t start to green up until late May when temps quit dropping below 60 in the evenings. If burning due to neighbors or close buildings isn’t as feasible, discing should be a good alternative. I feel that is kind of the boat I’m floating in.

He gave me another office to try to get in contact with who can give more information. Typically if you’re going to do anything with it, October/November seems to be the time to do it according to him.

So I guess for now I just wait and see. I definitely feel that it’s right at that 5 year mark since anything has been done. I actually ran the power to this house 5 years ago when it was being built and I specifically remember it only being a green, low grass then. I’m beginning to see a few small saplings coming up here and there as well as a few small patches of sage brush or something like it so come this Fall I may wind up taking some kind of action on it.
 
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