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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My question,

For Coastal's benefit to survive a winter...

Is it better to have 4 to 6 inches of coastal growing into the winter before a freeze and protect the roots....?

Or does it not matter, and I should cut the Coastal Hay where it's going into winter very short...?

What is better for the coastal for next year?

The facts are; I have enough hay for next year and year after...

I know in gardening around the house, cutting a bush before winter is a major sin, for you've exposed it to the winter chill and freezes...

Is it the same for Coastal Bermuda as well?

Thank you for your expertise!

Mark
 

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I have had seeded varieties for around 20 years and have cut a few times the day of the first frost when I was going to be short on hay. Not saying it's ok, but it never seemed to damage my stands when I did it. Those winters weren't as bad though either. The particular field I am referring to lasted 17 years before I worked the field and replanted with Cheyenne 2 this year. Several really dry summers and some really cold winters, temps below zero, took its toll and I had about half a stand left last fall. If I had a choice, I wouldn't cut any later than mid to late September here in west Tn. Our winters seem to be getting worse. For sure let a new stand get some growth before winter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Excellent! Thanks for the answers!

Following this topic to the Spring...

West of Houston near Sealy Texas

Early next spring is it sound to;

March 1 -

Step 1- shred the old frozen coastal

Step 2 - aerate with my aerway and drag my harrow behind

April 1 -

Step 1 - test soil

Step 2 - fertilize

May 1

First hay cutting

****i have a good amount of winter grass in the field as well... Best just to shred it in March to allow my coastal to grow competition free?

Thanks,

Mark
 

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I wouldn't waste my time shredding it. If you have winter grass just cut& bale it around the middle of April. May 1 is a little early for coastal in our area. I'm just a little west of you and I shoot for a May 15th at the earliest cut.
If you just have to clean it off I would burn it before I shredded it. Burning it is a lot better than shredding it & it's free.
 

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SilentH

You are in the ideal location for coastal bermudagrass.

No need to shred the old dead stems as they are so brittle they will not effect your quality the new season.

I envy your AERWAY and drag my harrow behind, that system will help smooth this heavy clay soil that likes to crack wide enough and deep enough to swallow a tire. Except those wide and deep cracks let a ton of water into the soil with out any runoff.

With our wide and deep cracking I have had a 5" rain with no ( that is zero ) runoff. When the soil is swelled up with water I have had all my drains running full with less than an inch of rain.

I agree with Colby here.

If your soil has a wide ranging pH then soil analysis is valuable. Here I lean heavily on hay analysis for monitoring fertility. It will tell you K, P, Mn, & Ca, plus N if you reconvert the CP back to the percentage of N in the sample. I do like the NIR hay analysis for the feed value. For a wider range of minerals a wet analysis is better.

My customers are only interested in protein so I ask for a plant analysis

I do like having a sulfur level and look for an 11/1 N/S ratio. with a 16/1 ratio need more sulfur, with a 8/1 ratio need additional nitrogen.

With a 6 week growth Coastal should test at 12% CP. That is if we do our job and do not loose tooooo many leaves, in harvesting and handling.

The best reference for saving leaves is from West Virginia. http://www.wvu.edu/~agexten/pubnwsltr/TRIM/5811.pdf

In short it tells us to rake at first light if the hay is close to cured.
To start to bale at 70% Relative Humidity for small squares.
To start to bale at 65% Relative Humidity for round bales

This works if you measure the humidity down next to the hay and the Hay was as dry as gun powder at yesterday's supper time.

I have noticed that bermudagrass will shatter off more leaves than alfalfa during baling and handling.

At your location you should do better with managed grazing than with hay feeding.
 
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