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  1. #1

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    Grass Runway Maintenance.

    I have been back in the hobby 2 years and have a home grass runway. I mow it every time I mow around the house. So I had to drive a truck load of furniture down to Florida. I left during a rainy stretch and the rain stayed around while I was gone. I was in Florida for 12 days then flew back home.


    Wow, the grass had grown. The runway was a mess. Grass 12-18 inches. I had to use my brush hog to do a first mowing. Then let the grass dry a few days. Yesterday I mowed again to mulch the grass some. I will let this dry a few days then will use my finish mower to get it down to 2 inches. I hope I don't have to do any raking.


    Flying has been on hold this year but runway maintenance goes on. Hope to be flying again end of September or early October.
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  2. #2
    flyboy2610's Avatar
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    Pave it.
    \"Never put passion before principle. Even if win... you lose.\" Mr. Myagi

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by flyboy2610 View Post
    Pave it.
    Pave it = big bucks. Besides I like the grass runway. My Lab likes it as a dog run. Once I get it in shape again, mowing it is easy.

    Today I was cleaning up an area close to the runway and I found tell-tale signs of a problem. Wild hogs rooting in the pasture. They can do some awful damage and ruin the runway if the attack there. My Lab was barking around 3AM. I figured it was the deer coming around but now think it was the hogs. Time to Start carrying my rifle n pistol: dangerous animal especially if babies are involved. If they come back a second time, I will have to set my trap for them. I trapped a whole bunch a few years back. I hope they leave me alone.
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  4. #4
    raptureboy's Avatar
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    Wow, 12-18 you should have cut it for hay and baled it
    I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by raptureboy View Post
    Wow, 12-18 you should have cut it for hay and baled it
    Good idea but the equipment for cutting and baling is large and would leave ruts on the runway. I have cone markers identifying the no trespass zone. The rest of the grass you see in the picture, now that gets cut n baled.

    Today I made two mowing passes. One cut at 5" and the other at 3". I should be able to just do my regular mowing cuts now. Runway will be in shape. My plan is to maiden fly here then fly here and at the club. The club is just over an hour away so having this runway comes in handy. I've only flown my trainer plane so far. I have 4 airplanes built that will need maiden flights once I get back to flying.

    First picture 5" second 3". A little rain and it will be all green again. Then comes winter.

    BTW, the wild hogs seemed to be a one night visit. I still have to check other pastures for signs of them. Just a busy time for me.
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  6. #6

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    Are those wild hogs any good to BBQ? Maybe hold a "free" BBQ for your club mates, they just have to bring their mowers and do a few laps each. How about mower races at the BBQ (blades down and cutting) and a keg of cold beer to fuel the drivers? Gotta think "out of the box" with these problems !

  7. #7
    raptureboy's Avatar
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    Our club just moved to a new location at a private airstrip, and they only cut the grass every 10 days. Its taken multiple cuts to get it down to 2-1/2" now. One of the members had a walk behind blower that really blew the cut grass off the runway. This thing blew air at 300 mph We only mow a 100 x 400 ft piece of the 2700ft runway for our planes and the rest the owner mows. After you have a good soaking rain you should roll the field with a 500# roller to get it smooth.
    I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you.

  8. #8

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    Well, I've been away a few days. 52larry52 all good ideas. Distance to my home is the problem. BBQ wild hog is very tasty. Messing with wild hogs is very time consuming. Set trap, check trap, trap hogs, transport, hold, butcher then BBQ. Some I've given to friends who cook n share with me. Most I sell to certified buyers. Best year I trapped 28. Wild when trapped.

    raptureboy I'm glad you got a new field. Read your thread on losing your old one. My runway is looking good again. Next mowing will be at 2 1/2". I have a diesel mower with a 6' deck so mowing does not take long. Runway is 60 x 300. I use the mower to blow the clippings to the side. I have some mulching blades that I want to try. Not sure how they will work. I need to make some baffles for them to work best. Too expensive to buy the mulching kit.

    I have a drag I can use on the runway. Some day, when I find time, I would like to make a roller from a 55 gallon drum. I have a 10-15 foot area on one end that needs some work. That area has not interfered with flying. I'll post a final picture of runway cut at 2 1/2".

  9. #9
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    Everybody says to roll a bumpy lawn. In fact rolling is the wrong thing to do. A slower but better approach id to aerate and drag the plugs back in. This does several things. The plug holes will fill with grass roots as they love oxygen, Each time you cut a root you have the potential for two new grass plants, and the dirt brought up will fill in the low spots and help to relax the high spots. Throw down some fertilizer and grass seed before aeration.

    A quicker way than plug aeration is trench aeration. A tool such as a Simplicity Revitalizer can be used. The Revitalizer is long out of production but used ones come up for sale from time to time. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8fS6XRXVPw

    With aeration you should stop after you think you have completely ruined the grass. When I was involved in the Iowa Sports Turf Managers Association it was recommended to have fourty, 3/4" holes per square foot for maximum effect when plug aerating. A couple of weeks and a little rain will make it better than new.

    Ken
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  10. #10

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    Ken, thanks for the info you posted on runway maintenance. I have read about what you posted before. Not sure I want to invest time n effort in this runway. It is pretty smooth as is. Just some bad area on one end. The area was used for hay baling so had some rough area.

    I finally did my finish cut at 2.5". Looking good again. Had to position an airplane for the picture taking. Airplane is eager to go. I may be back into flying at end of month. Still a few projects to complete before then.
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  11. #11
    raptureboy's Avatar
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    I would love to have a private strip in my backyard. Looking better.
    I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you.

  12. #12
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    You don't need to do the whole thing, just the bad spots. You could if you have the means just add some loose dirt to the rough spots and drag it in to smooth. It might take the grass a bit longer to recover doing this but it will smooth out the bad spots.
    Sent from my Dry-Erase-Board

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by kenh3497 View Post
    You don't need to do the whole thing, just the bad spots. You could if you have the means just add some loose dirt to the rough spots and drag it in to smooth. It might take the grass a bit longer to recover doing this but it will smooth out the bad spots.
    That is the plan I was going to follow. Wait for the rainy season to get here and fill in the low spots. Hopefully, by then, I will have more time available to do the work. Thanks.

  14. #14

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    Well, some good news. My latest project involved doing some dirt work. One, I finished it sooner than expected. Two, I have some dirt left over. I put the dirt in my utility trailer. Now I can walk the rough end of the runway and fill in some of the ruts.

    I built a new longer fuselage for the plane pictured in this thread. I set up my Venessa Rig n checked CG. CG came out at the rear limit. I'm going to add a couple of ounces to the engine mount. This will give me a more favorable CG. Getting closer to flying again. YES

  15. #15

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    I had a neighbor down the road call me ref a hog problem. She has been hit 3 days now. This is too close for comfort. So I went there today and set my trap. Thought you might enjoy a few pictures. First two is the damage these hogs do. My damage was just a little bit close to the runway. This ladies damage is extensive. Imagine damage like that to my runway. Bad news. The last picture is my trap set and armed. The hogs will feed on the corn and work their way in. When they set off the trigger, the door will drop and lock. No way out.

    Hopefully I'll have some hogs in the morning.
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    Sig Kadet Brotherhood 185
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  16. #16
    kenh3497's Avatar
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    Sounds like a hog hunt is in the works. My choice would be .308 at about 100 yards. On the other hand the trap works without any human intervention and 24-7. Doesn't sleep or get tired and doesn't drink all your beer

    Hope you catch those suckers! Might want to set up an electric fence around your runway.

    Ken
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  17. #17
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    As to whether those things are good to eat, the answer is a resounding YES. I had my first experience with them about 3 months ago. A friend told me he was going hog hunting and I told him in a mocking tone that I wanted a chunk of wild pig if he got one. Much to my surprise, about a week later, here he came with a whole ham off a young female. I soaked it in brine overnight and smoked it the next day. It didn't take all that long, about 4.5 hours to do it. We took it in the house and even my two teenage girls, who don't like any meat unless it comes from a fast food joint, really enjoyed it. I took what was left the next day and put in in a crock pot with various seasonings, and it was delicious. There was absolutely nothing left of it that evening. Hope to try some more of this in the near future.
    \"In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; In practice, there is\"

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  18. #18

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    Well the hog trapping is going slow. The critters are not showing up as expected. Sometime it takes a while to trap. And sometimes you come up empty handed. Right now East Texas has been under a constant rain. It's been like this all day and the same is forecast for the next two days too. So I deactivated the trap. I will arm it again once the weather breaks. I will post a picture if a get to trap a few hogs.

    Jolly Popper is correct. Wild hog is mighty tasty. I have a friend on call in case I trap some. He will take them and process them for eating. I just get a share of the meat.

    I have completed all my major projects but one. That one can wait as equipment not needed til Spring. I'm taking advantage of this wet weather. I started completing a low wing scratch built that I started a while back. In the days ahead I will get my plane and equipment ready for when a good flying day comes along. I'm sure I will have to relearn flying again. Only one flight this year so far. After I get comfortable again I have a few planes that will need maiden flights. I'm getting those ready too. Looking forward to flying again.
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  19. #19

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    Well the hogs are back on my place. I took a, look around, ride on the land and found many areas with hog damage. Just a few hundred feet from the runway too. The WAR is on. I retrieved my hog trap and set it up. No luck on the ladies site. Hope for better luck on my site. Will post a catch picture if I get some.
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    Sig Kadet Brotherhood 185
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  20. #20
    flyboy2610's Avatar
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    Good luck on your trap. You'll have some fine eating there!
    \"Never put passion before principle. Even if win... you lose.\" Mr. Myagi

  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by flyboy2610 View Post
    Good luck on your trap. You'll have some fine eating there!
    Thanks. I found out why the hog problem in the area. A nearby land owner clear cut his land including areas along a creek. Hogs like to wallow in mud along a body of water. It is how they keep cool during hot days. Now they are displaced and looking for greener pastures. My next door neighbor also has a problem. This may be a long term ordeal for me. That same creek flows on and alongside my land. These hogs got closer to the runway than I thought, about 100' away. Fortunately the runway grass is dry and brown, cut short, so it may not be too attractive to them. Just have to keep fighting the critters and I have to check the trap daily to see if any got caught. It is gun carrying time.

    My neighbor had the hogs 30' from his swimming pool. Not good.
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  22. #22
    kenh3497's Avatar
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    A good .308 and about 100 rounds of ammo should do the trick!

    Ken
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  23. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by kenh3497 View Post
    A good .308 and about 100 rounds of ammo should do the trick!

    Ken
    That would be fun. A few years back I did some shooting at them. You only get one shot as they quickly scatter after that first shot. These are nocturnal creatures so hunting Is done at night. No time for me so trapping is best. Although I don't understand this sounder. They hit me and have not returned. In the past they returned a few nights. I thought I would have had a few trapped by now. But no signs of them so far. The runway is still safe. HOORAY.

    While they are nocturnal I have seen them in the daytime on my property and along a local highway. Once I was in Florida driving I-4 from Lakeland to Orlando and I saw a sounder rooting along side the highway. A rare sight.
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  24. #24

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    Well an update. Since I had set my trap no hogs have showed up. So I went down to Florida for a few weeks. Just got back early Saturday. On Sunday I checked the property and found some extensive hog damage. Worse yet they were down by the runway. They rooted on the eastern edge of the runway but not on the runway. See pic 2. On Sunday I moved and set the trap see Pic 3. You can see cones marking the approach end of runway 20. I also cut the runway 2.5. In this location I could check the trap from the house using binoculars.
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  25. #25

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    Today SUCCESS. I checked the trap and saw that the door was down. I could not see inside. Driving up to it I saw 2 decent size hogs. Time to call my friend to come get them and dress them out. Yum yum.
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    Sig Kadet Brotherhood 185
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