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How to let part of my lawn grow longer and avoid issues?

How to let part of my lawn grow longer and avoid issues?

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  #1  
Old 03-30-15, 06:11 AM
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How to let part of my lawn grow longer and avoid issues?

Hello, I'm new to the forum. We've recently moved and I have a DIY project list that feels a mile long!

The house we just bought is on 5 acres, and we love it! The house is basically in the middle of a rectangle shaped lot, and nearly the entire lawn is grass. Neither of us really feels like mowing all 5 acres regularly, and we're considering letting part of the lawn grow long. I toyed with the idea of planting something like wildflower seeds where we're not going to mow, just to make it look less messy - but everyone keeps saying that if we don't mow all of it we'll get mice, snakes, mosquitoes, etc and live to regret it.

So my questions are: is there a "good" way to let part of the lawn grow long? We wouldn't pick any area close to the house, since we want a yard for the kids to play in anyway. Maybe the area we'd consider letting grow might be 1.5 acres (at the most) of the 5. If we did let it grow, should we plant something else in addition to the grass, or is that a bad idea? And will it really make snakes/pests more likely to visit? I have young children and the idea of them finding a snake bothers me. I want to be able to enjoy our lovely wrap around porch without being eaten alive by mosquitoes, too.

Anyway, thanks for any advice. I've been really overwhelmed with naysayers every time I ask this question to people I know.
 
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  #2  
Old 03-30-15, 06:26 AM
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5 Acres

I have a farm background. I would mow one acre of lawn around the house and grow hay on the other four acres. Contract a local farmer to cut and bale the four acres twice a year (spring and fall).

Or buy a nice, heavy duty commercial mower and mow the four acres every two weeks. Just my 2 cents.
 
  #3  
Old 03-30-15, 07:06 AM
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I agree, mow what you want for a lawn and turn the rest into a hay field. Many farmers will cut the field for free if they get to keep the hay.

btw - welcome to the forums!
 
  #4  
Old 03-30-15, 07:18 AM
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If you're only letting an acre or two go I'd just mow that area every other time. Or, just let it go. Eventually Mother Nature will turn it into something. You can speed things up by planting trees and return it to forest.
 
  #5  
Old 03-30-15, 07:34 AM
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Thanks, did you ever notice more insects around because of the hay?
 
  #6  
Old 03-30-15, 11:23 AM
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There will be more insects [rodents too] with tall grass than you'd have with a manicured lawn.
 
  #7  
Old 03-30-15, 12:25 PM
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As Mark said, yes, of course you will have more insects. And yes, more insects may bring in more snakes, etc. And I don't care for snakes, but none of this is necessarily bad. Depending on the lay of the land, drainage, etc., the taller grass is typically going to shade the ground, keeping it slightly more cool and damp, and who knows what has blown in there over the years, ready to pop up once it's not getting mowed off regularly, so the environment changes a bit. But it's not going to turn into a literal jungle in a few weeks, a few months, or even a few years. If you don't want to mow it, and don't have an HOA that requires it, don't mow it, and see how you like it. I have an acre and a half along the east side of our property that I typically let some go for a while, primarily for the rabbits, but it saves me time and gas too. Then, after a while, I stop mowing a different section for a while. The main thing that I watch for though, particularly in the taller areas, is rabbit and turtle nests. The rabbit nests I give a lot of space to, don't bother mowing around until they've left the nest, and the snapping turtles I mow a lot closer too, but keep an eye out for toward fall when they might come out. Depends on the weather though, because sometimes they won't come out until the following year. And sometimes it's mute, because the raccoons find them.
 
  #8  
Old 03-30-15, 02:04 PM
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I returned some area on my property back to Mother Nature. I have the proper equipment but after a couple years keeping everything mowed and when diesel shot up in price I really started to question why I was spending so much time and burning so much fuel to just have more yard. More on top of an already huge yard.

One section I planted magnolia, red bud and dogwood and mow it a few times a year when it starts to get knee high. I just wanted the area to look prettier, and have nice color. From the house and even when you get closer the tall grass doesn't look bad. It's not trying to be a manicured lawn. It's a "designed" forest and the look works.

On another spot I just let it go. The wildlife loves it and it has been interesting to see the transition. First there was tall grass and some odd weeds. Then some cedar trees appeared. Then some deciduous and pine trees. Mother Nature was kind enough to cover the area with the most delicious blackberries which we can pick from the edge without getting into the brambles. I live in the country so the full on natural look is totally normal and nobody pays any attention to it. It's just natural. That's what people expect to see when they look at it so it fits.
 
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