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Surfrider’s Paul Herzog in Slow The Flow’s Film #2: Lawn Be Gone

June 24 2014 | Ocean Friendly Gardens,
by Paul Herzog

The 2nd film in this series of 7 shorts by California's lead water quality protection agency has been released. It covers how to kill your turf grass through "sheet mulching." It involves a few easy steps, kind of like making lasagna.

NOTE: In the film, Paul forgets to mention two things:

  • When testing for soil compaction - fill the hole once with water and let it drain, then fill it a second time and see how long it takes to drain.
  • When applying paper and mulch - saturate them with water to help start the breaking down process.

How To Sheet Mulch:

  1. Removing the grass - if it's "warm season" grass (i.e., grows by sending out runners below ground or at ground level like Bermuda, St. Augustine, etc.), make sure to remove all the roots and throw them away.  If it's "cool season" grass (Marathon), you can just mow it to a low height and smother it.
  2. Test for soil compaction - we want good air and water flow in the soil so we support soil organisms - which are what bring food to the plants. Dig a hole, fill it with water and let it drain (if it doesn't drain, you have compaction). Fill it again and if it does not drain a few inches within 30 minutes, you have compaction. Loosen you soil with a spade or pitchfork.
  3. Restore soil life - we are talking about soil organisms. Use a fine layer of a good quality compost or worm castings (poo), or apply compost tea.
  4. Put down paper - use a painters paper-type roll, newspaper or cardboard. Saturate it with water to help it start to breakdown by soil organism. We want to re-build soil.
  5. Apply mulch - ideally, fresh tree trimmings and leaves. Saturate the mulch, as well.

Get more details and an easy-to-follow one-pager here.

The rest of the films will be released every 2 weeks. Follow the film series @LetsSlowTheFlow and http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/stormfilm/.

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