We use Roundup around here on Roundup-ready crops (corn, soybeans), but it is kinda tough on dirt-germs and really requires dirt replenishment (compost tea, etc.) after each use - trying to get away from it by organically building the soil. Have to something in the meantime, however.
Aerway is a implement, generally pulled by a tractor, that penetrates and aerates the soil - mostly used on pasture or grassland to open up the soil ( www.aerway.com
). An Aerway has a platform upon it to add weight to allow the special toothed coulters to penetrate the soil. It is available in a variety of widths. Requires some horsepower to pull.
With respect to "ripping": Performed by another implement: a ripper
. It consists of one or more teeth an inch wide by 24" or more long. REALLY tears up the dirt. But it is used primarily for breaking up hardpan, generally 12-to-18" below the surface of the ground. To be effective, this operation needs to be performed when the dirt is bone-dry, in order to shatter the hardpan. Hardpan is a sub-surface layer of fine colloidial particles that effectively serves to seal off the dirt above it from the dirt below it. It is generally 1-2" thick. If it is ripped while it is still moist, it will re-seal itself and the effort is to little avail. The horsepower required to pull the implement will vary with the type of dirt you have. We have black gumbo, here. It turns to granite when it dries out (when the best time is to rip).
You need to determine if you indeed do need to rip, as this will largely depend upon the sort of soil you have. You can determine this by digging down a couple of feet; stick a knife into the side of the bottom of the hole and pull up. If you hit a point where the knife won't pull, you've hit the bottom of the hardpan (if it exists).
A neighbor asked me to come over and auger some 9" holes for fence-posts. We got down about a foot and the auger stalled out. He had to get on top of the post-hole-digger and jump and wiggle about in order to get enough pressure on the auger to penetrate, after awhile, his hardpan. I was amazed at how hard it can really be...
Hardpan, by the way, can be highly localized. Some of the holes we poked were not a problem at all - took 30 seconds to drill. Others took at least 15 minutes to do with him on top of the digger... All were dug to a depth of three feet.
We have a JD 4430 (125 Hp, I think), with singles on the back and 800# weights on the front so that I don't spend most of my time looking at blue sky anymore, here (a problem when pulling a five-bottom moldboard). Howard and I have had several discussions concerning till versus no-till - I have results (though maybe not economics) to prove my point... Have been looking for a three-shank ripper, expecting to have to take off two shanks just to be able to move. Our hardpan is at about 20" down - would have to sink the shank(s) all the way.
The importance of breaking the hardpan is to allow water to penetrate the subsoil, thus minimizing runoff (and increasing storage) and providing more available water to the plants... It also provides a conduit for the plant roots to extend themselves (the roots generally cannot penetrate hardpan).
The problem is that most used rippers available have seven to 13 shanks -any of which would require a whole lot more tractor than I have...
Suggest that you subscribe to FastLine
- a monthly that advertises new and used farm equipment. Educational, at the very least. Check out www.fastline.com
Remember, it takes the same equipment to work 30 acres as it does to work 3,000.....................
Money had better not be an issue...
Sorry if a lot of this is stuff that you already know, but nobody told me any of this, years ago.... No need for you to waste a lot of time and money, like I did......
Suggest that you consider AcresUSA
- another monthly (Howard turned me on to this). Go to their web-sight, www.acresusa.com
, then go to reprints, then look up an article styled, "Digging Deep" (at least, that is the headline of the reprint I printed out). It gives considerable detail concerning hardpan.
Hope that some of this is of at least a little benefit to you...........
P.S., Am amazed that you are annoyed by bermudagrass. Just seeded $10/lb ($40/ac). exceedingly aggressive hybrid, here, for the animals. Expect to bale a lot of it and sell some. Suggest you check around and see if you can get someone to come in and cut and bale - then sell it to the rubes. A couple of months ago, I had to buy 19 1,650# round bales @ $87.10/ea. for the animals.... we had to start buying hay back last July - local supplies ran out in October.
RE: Mesquite - lots o' luck - we always had to use the most Draconian methods possible to get rid of it...........