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Travis Krause

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since Dec 28, 2013
D'Hanis, Texas
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Recent posts by Travis Krause

Jonathan Kandell wrote:I'm new to permaculture so please excuse if this question has been answered a million times previously.

I was curious on the permaculture view about invasive non-native grasses.

In my Tucson yard I routinely remove any bermuda grass, which shows up all over the place, leaving most other weeds. But in so doing am I removing a great humus maker and soil conditioner?


Here is southwest Texas Bermuda grass is also a common non-native, invasive grass species. It has been planted anywhere and everywhere. It survives the most harsh conditions, including severe overgrazing. The people that have posted previously on this post about removing invasive grasses clearly haven't dealt with Bermuda grass. You can pick at with a garden fork all you want. Leave one piece of root behind and it will grow back. Leave a pile of grass on top of the soil it will not die, it will simply root again. Increase the fertility of your soil it will grow stronger. Bermuda grass is no joke and for those that aren't familiar with it they need to study it's natural history beginning with the Serengeti in Africa.

My recommendation is simply learning to live with it. Around your plants mulch the hell out of them and pull what you can by hand. If you create enough shade via cover cropping, trees, veggies, etc... it will not be able to compete. My observations conclude that Bermuda grass doesn't like shade. It loves growing in the full sun when the weather is 110 F. Around your garden (once it is fully removed) build a chicken run. They will pound the hell out of the soil, but it will keep the grass from creeping into your garden area.

Good luck! I've been fighting it for 15+ years and you aren't going to win. Best advice is learn to cope with it just like anything else.

,Travis Krause

6 years ago
I believe it may have been grasshoppers. We had a ferocious problem here is Soutwest Texas this year. They destroyed about 10 8' Mulberry Trees in a few days here. Leaves and small branches were gone. Even ate some of the bark off bigger limbs.

,Travis Krause
7 years ago

I'm in Zone 8A in Texas. Here are a few to add.
Tall Trees:
Southern Live Oak or any Oak Tree for that matter (you have a greater variety than we do)
Honey Mesquite (not sure if you have those in Florida, but here they are everywhere)

Low Trees:
Purple Vitex
Black Cherry
Black Gum
Chickasaw Plum
Mexican Plum
Creek Plum
Crab Apple
Any kind of Nitrogen fixers: we use native Acacias, Guajillo, and Lucaenea.

Herbaceous Layer:
Turks Cap

By the way I see that someone mentioned Comfrey once again. I have had no luck with Comfrey here. Too hot and dry. If it doesn't see water for more than one week it is done.
Hope this helps with the list. Really cool online retail nursery catered to wildlife folks ( Have a nice selection and good prices. Ordered over 100 seedlings from them and all are thriving. Highly recommend them.

7 years ago

Jeff Thorpe wrote:Travis,

Thanks for the info, this is what I wanted to hear! How high should their roosts be?

Their roosts don't need to be very high. Just enough to get them up off the ground. Perhaps 24 to 36". Keeps them clean and away from wet weather. Will try to post a picture of our portable turkey shelter in the next few days.

7 years ago

Jeff Thorpe wrote:
Can I run them with the chickens, or no?

You can run chickens with them if the turkeys grew up with chickens. A lot of people will tell you not to because of Black Head disease, etc...
We have had good luck running them together. Just make sure the turkeys are familiar with chickens. If they aren't they tend to be aggressive towards them.

7 years ago
We raise a few hundred turkeys every year for the farmer's markets around our area. We raise Midget Whites, White Hollands, and Broad Breasted Bronze. They will respect an electronet if it is electrified and they learn from an early age. You want to brood turkeys for about 8 to 12 weeks depending on weather conditions. We have moved away from electronets for our turkeys and fenced in 5+ acre paddocks to rotate them throughout the growing season. We used 4"X4" sheep and goat fence 48" tall. We shall see if it works. In theory if you provide them with a roost, fresh water, and plenty of forage/feed they should stay in that area. I don't expect many will go past it. Turkeys by nature don't like crossing fences.

The biggest problem with the electronet is that the turkeys tend to bum rush the fence and push it over. They will only do this if they are hungry, out of water, etc..

Good luck!

,Travis Krause
-Parker Creek Ranch
-D'Hanis, Texas
7 years ago

Barton Parson wrote:Thanks fellas. Copy the cedar mulch. The hoserkulture is promising in that it doesn't harm the roots. I'm not sure a drought-stressed tree would survive having an augur poke holes through its roots. Maybe so, but I wouldn't risk it without lots of reassurance.

Drill holes or dig them with a post hole digger by hand near the drip line of the tree. There should be any major roots out that deep, just fibrous. Those will recover quickly once you start to squirt water, fish emulsion, kelp, etc... into the hole. Good luck and I hope that you can save the trees!

7 years ago
I live about 50 miles Southwest of San Antonio near Uvalde where many of the large Live Oak trees are long gone due to drought. I think you need immediate results to help the tree now. For this I suggest #1. The other stuff can be done later.

A few suggestions that I have found useful:

1) Never used them but check out this link for Deep Tree Watering Stakes ( The same thing can be accomplished by digging a hole near the drip line of the tree. Say 4 to 5 ft in depth with a post hole digger and bar. In the hole bury a 4" PVC with small holes drilled in it (small because you don't want dirt particles coming into your pipe). Septic PVC is cheaper than the other stuff. You can even back fill your hole with river gravel to create a sort of reservoir. I would put several of these around the tree depending on how big it is. Fill with water. You can also add compost teas, fertilizers, etc... This will allow water to get down deep where it needs to be with minimal budget.

2) Add compost under tree then mulch. I would use cedar mulch versus cypress. Cypress mulch is very unsustainable due to poor harvesting ethics. Cedar mulch is readily available in the Hill Country plus it has many beneficial properties for keeping away weeds, grass, and some insects. The compost will bring the soil back to life.

3) I agree with terracing the land since it is on a slope. Must catch whatever water falls. And the roof catchment/greywater usage is also a must for the long term sustainability.

My personal opinion is get the tree/s help as fast as possible. Water is our #1 limiting factor. Save the trees! Good luck.

,Travis Krause
7 years ago
Maximilian Sunflower and Goldenrod.... Very easy to establish and drought hardy.

Both grow very dense (and tall).

,Travis Krause
7 years ago
We have been using Plantra tubes for several years now. Great results. Haven't tried other brands, but theirs work fantastic.

-Travis Krause
7 years ago