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I'm currently managing a perennial grassland that has been established for several years, serving as a habitat for various plants and potentially supporting biodiversity. I'm considering plowing a portion of this grassland during the winter for specific reasons, but I'm concerned about the potential consequences.

I'd like to understand the implications of plowing a perennial grassland, particularly in the winter season.

Following garden plan I implemented:

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    Is there a reason the norm of mowing once in Spring is too simple? Plowing is not the natural route and will actually unearth weeds. Commented Nov 25, 2023 at 23:30
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    So you would advice plowing once before implementing the garden, and afterwards only mowing once in Spring?!
    – János
    Commented Nov 26, 2023 at 1:31
  • No one plows perennials unless they want to kill them. Do you mean mowing instead? If so, then springtime is the time to do that.
    – Jurp
    Commented Nov 26, 2023 at 3:28
  • You can till lightly without plowing heavily, which breaks native water exchange. See Plowman's Folly. Commented Nov 26, 2023 at 14:02

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If I understand you correctly, you are considering plowing under a portion of your perennial grassland in the winter to plant a planned garden in the spring.

My first advice to you is to contact agriculturists / farmers in your area and ask them for advice. They will give you far better information than I can. They know your local soil, water, and climate better than I do, and have actual experience with it. Plowing is a big subject!

What I would consider:

  • Fall / Autumn is a common time to plow. Plowing frozen ground in the winter is not always practicable, but is also done.
  • The vegetable matter and chaos you plow into the soil will need time to settle before it is suitable for planting.
  • Your soil may require additional tillage, probably in the spring time, to be suitable for planting.
  • If you intend to do any soil conditioning, when you plow may be a good time to incorporate the additions.
  • You may get new weeds growing that you haven't seen before when deep, dormant seeds are turned up to the surface.

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