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Old 05-19-2014, 05:09 AM
 
Location: Near the Coast SWCT
69,011 posts, read 51,154,580 times
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One year I used a free bale of Hay for my strawberries only to find out I had a big weed problem I'm still regretting after 3yrs.

Following year I used the straw type Hay sold at nurseries which was fine but left me broke. (very expensive!)

This year I went to a local farm for this...

I plan on taking a chainsaw to this and using it for my Potatoes.

Does anyone know if this contains weeds?

It's been sitting a long time so wouldn't the weeds be dead or once they touch the dirt they will germinate?

Is there a trick to prevent the weeds from coming up if this does contain them?

Thanks




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Old 05-19-2014, 06:14 AM
 
Location: Floyd Co, VA
3,414 posts, read 5,113,502 times
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Straw should not present a problem. Here's a link to a short post about the difference:

My mental glitch: hay vs. straw | Root Simple

Hope your garden if very productive this year.
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Old 05-19-2014, 06:33 AM
 
Location: Pennsylvania
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hay will always have seeds. Straw never. Straw is actually the shaft/stalk of grain.

Good site, zugor.
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Old 05-19-2014, 06:35 AM
 
7,332 posts, read 10,763,732 times
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That straw looks old to me, which may be o.k.

My straw is bright yellow and shiny. No weeds. Yes, there is quite a difference between hay and straw. To keep it simple, cows EAT hay, and cows SLEEP in straw. Life experience - Farmer.
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Old 05-19-2014, 07:10 AM
 
Location: NC
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Look for seeds in the bale. Hay has lots of seed heads and straw has none.

Hay is always baled green, usually just before the grass seed ripens. If there are hay seed heads, then it is likely there are also weed seed as well. Straw is collected after the seed has matured and been harvested (wheat, barley, oats). By this time most of the weed seeds are gone as well. Straw is just the dried stems and leaves from fully matured grain plants. Good straw is golden and somewhat shiny, and should be weed free. If the straw stems and leaves are densely stippled with tiny black dots, then it may be a tad moldy and not fun to spread.

There is also something called mulch hay or maybe mulch straw. This is something that the farmer did not want to use for animal feed either because the field was full of weeds, or he had to cut his hay at a bad time. Do not use this! It is only good for highway departments.
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Old 05-19-2014, 09:10 AM
 
Location: Near the Coast SWCT
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Nice guys, thanks! Looked back at the email from the farmer and they said that bale of Hay I got is dried yellow hay with mostly "grass hay".

So not sure where that falls in the Straw/Hay situation. There looks to be a weed head there in between the blue rope, sorta yellowish.

No cows on the farm, just horses & Lambs.s.


Quote:
Originally Posted by rdlr View Post
To keep it simple, cows EAT hay, and cows SLEEP in straw. Life experience - Farmer.
Cool. Interesting.
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Old 05-19-2014, 09:52 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
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Well, you could put it in black plastic and let it bake in the sun...

Or put black plastic down over the ground, around your plants, then put the straw/hay on top of that?

I dunno. Some things are worth the money. Maybe there's a completely different mulch option that's cheaper in your area?
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Old 05-20-2014, 12:51 AM
 
Location: Pennsylvania
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luv4horses View Post

There is also something called mulch hay or maybe mulch straw. This is something that the farmer did not want to use for animal feed either because the field was full of weeds, or he had to cut his hay at a bad time. Do not use this! It is only good for highway departments.
Or it has gotten wet. Mushroom growers love it!
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Old 05-22-2014, 08:12 AM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
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The best strawberry crop I ever had was planted in soil but then mulched using composted horse manure mixed with fine wood chips, acquired from a local stable.
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Old 05-22-2014, 08:20 AM
 
Location: Central Texas
20,391 posts, read 37,724,158 times
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As said above, hay will contain seeds of something that you would likely consider to be weeds in your garden, even if it's just grass. Native hay bails are used in restoration of some areas for seeding - you just break up the bails and distribute them and they will seed the area while preventing erosion.

Oh, and cows and horses WILL eat straw, though if given more tasty alternatives, they won't. It's just roughage to them. This I know because I have both and have seen them do it (NICE straw bedding, NOT dinner - I said, NOT DINNER!)
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