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Critique my lawn/meadow/pasture plan?

 
pollinator
Posts: 490
Location: San Diego, California
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Alright, here's the situation and plan - please be as brutal as possible:

Southern California, zone 10a, no irrigation beyond manual watering/moving hose sprinkler heads - very little rainfall in summer/fall.
six percent grade hill of about half an acre with barely any topsoil and many, many pocket gophers (the hawks and owls are making good progress on these, but traps and pellet gun not successful - not doing poison.) No erosion problems.

Right now we have sparse patches of Bermuda grass and Alyssum self-seeding - which is good and we want to keep.  We also have pigweed, sow thistle, common mallow, purslane, and wood sorrel, all of which we'll manage by us or livestock eating them.  Several other spring grasses and minor weeds which are not much of an issue.

Problem Weeds: Black medic and foxtail grass seeds(not sure the species) keep getting stuck in our shoes/socks and are painful(especially for the kid, and dangerous for the dog's paws/nose)


The Plan: seed Bermuda grass, "palestine" strawberry clover, daikon radish, Buffalograss, chicory, and pasture-type Fava beans under fruit trees (where they'll get irrigation) next spring - get these established and hope that they spread as I slowly continue to put in more trees and irrigation areas.  I've also heard Bahia grass might be a good helper in my situation and may order some.

I plan to run chicken and rabbit tractors over these areas in the coming years, and maybe finish a spring lamb or two on it.



Can these handle some dry conditions with no topsoil and no amendments? is there a drought hardier grass that grows low to the ground and doesn't drop annoying seedheads?
 
gardener
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Location: Longbranch, WA
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You need to mow undesirables before they set seed and if possible let the desirable set seed and spread that where needed.
get started with the chicken tractors as soon as possible.
 
Posts: 52
Location: Reeds Spring, MO; zone 6b Ozarks
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Where I live (humid zone 6b forest), Bermuda grass can't be killed. In fact, it's my most problematic weed and I despise it utterly. It sends it stolons anywhere there's the last bit of soil or possibility of it—I have a timber retaining wall next to be driveway and there are Bermuda stolons stretching out at least 18 inches over straight concrete looking for dirt. So although I can't speak to how it would do in your climate, which is much drier than mine, I suspect it will be as tough as you'd want. Just be sure you actually want it, because it may be a bear to get rid of once it's in.
 
Dustin Rhodes
pollinator
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Location: San Diego, California
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Thanks Matt - I have counted the cost and I think it's worth having (for me) all my important gardening areas are in raised beds on stilts(because of the gophers) so I think the wandering and establishing itself will actually be good for my otherwise completely bare soil.  
 
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Location: Encinitas, United States
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My thinking is to establish and work with as many native grasses and nitrogen fixers as possible. There are a lot of possible candidates. Seed may be more expensive but the plants will do well. Just be aware of any possible toxicity issues with your long term goals. Some lupine sand horses for example. I’m not a big fan of Bermuda either. It’s good for horses and other animals but has a huge down side. You will eventually find in your raised beds. It’s good to think long term, for yourself and your progeny.
I’m also in the San Diego E county and have been interested in these things for a while. Contact me if you want to strategize/ co miserate/ or connect. 760 855-5365
 
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