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Anonymous
05-27-2003, 08:14 PM
I am planning to remove or substantially reduce the lawn on our property. I`ve planted two trees in the current lawn area by first scraping a 4 foot circle out of the lawn, taking and discarding the grass roots and all, then digging the planting hole. Once the tree is planted and the hole back-filled, I cover the exposed soil around the rootball with shredded redwood mulch to keep the soil cool and to reduce weed infestation. So far, this has removed and kept out the lawn we don`t have grass with runners, so I`m thinking of using this technique to remove other areas of the grass as well. Any thoughts on this, and more importantly, will using shredded redwood or cedar mulch pose a hazard to natives I`d like to install in the former lawn zones? I really don`t want to use herbicides to kill the grass. I`m in Citrus Heights, Sunset Zone 14. Thanks!</p>

Anonymous
05-28-2003, 06:16 AM
I removed all of the grass from my property by digging it out by hand and removing the roots and the soil. Then I bought in a few yards of new soil and organic compost. The following year I had some grass return as the remaining grass seeds in the lawn sprouted in the winter rains. The third year I had almost no grass returning. I used redwood compost around the plants that like acid soil, such as our native azalea and rhodedenderon. For the other plants I used redwood bark to cover the ground and keep the weeds down. A few of the worst weeds, oxalis in particular, visit me each year, coming up through the bark, but I am told that if I continue to pull the green leaves off of the oxalis, eventually the bulb underground runs out of food and dies. This may take eight or ten years. Do be careful to avoid digging the redwood bark into the soil, because as it decomposes it uses up the nitrogen that your plants will want. I hope you are as pleased with your grass-free garden as I am with mine. Regards,--Galen </p>

Anonymous
05-28-2003, 06:44 PM
We do 5-10 lawn replacements per year I am a native plant landscape contractor. We generally kill and remove the entire lawn, or reduce its size. I don`t like to plant natives in 'lawn holes' because of the lousy ecology associated with grass cow pasture, fresh-water marsh?. We like to remove as much organic matter as possible with the sod, because most chaparral/CSS plant communities absolutely hate high fertility and the bacterial ecology associated with it. Interestingly, we usually use shredded redwood bark as the top dressing but not cedar-different ecology. Do not worry about potential nitrogen uptake - the less the better. As an example, Mike Allen at UC Riverside has found that raising soil nitrogen levels just a few PPM is totally degrading the local chaparral. The source of the excess nitrogen? NO2 smog. Hope this helps.</p>