Starting from scratch...

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12 years 1 week ago #32229 by pangbernard
Working towards my Kiwi dream....starting from scratch with a 2 hectare block to create a life style I always dream off when first move to NZ 8 years ago. ALL ADVICE, DOS AND DONT'S, are most welcome.
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12 years 1 week ago #430757 by Ruth
Replied by Ruth on topic Starting from scratch...
Welcome, Pangbernard; in what part of the country is your block?

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12 years 1 week ago #430913 by pangbernard
Rural property in Mangawhai Heads. Flat land, and am planning the site preparation to put up a barn and water tanks. Hope to be able to at least sleep in the barn for the summer, or camp under the stars.

Am looking into "plants" for the boundary hedges....fast growing and can be maintained to 2 meter height. Any experience and advice you can share is most appreciated.

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12 years 1 week ago #430914 by pangbernard
Mangawhai Heads...[?]

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12 years 3 days ago #431270 by cj4a
Replied by cj4a on topic Starting from scratch...
welcome pangbernard
pittisporums grew most place quickly and can be kept to 2mtr high by trimming anually, well down here anyway

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11 years 9 months ago #438568 by pangbernard
Has been a while planning the setup for the block....and now the grass is at least a foot tall. Hoping the weather will turn for the better, am seeking advice on the use of "Round Up" to clear the site for the driveway and the barn. Will this method of clearing the site have later repercussions? All advice will be most appreciated.

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11 years 9 months ago #438590 by LongRidge
Replied by LongRidge on topic Starting from scratch...
Hi, for the drive and buildings, then glyphosate (the active ingredient in RoundUp) is great. There are various concentrations of glyphosate, so when buying a "special" check carefully that the concentration is the same as the more expensive brand.
I add a spray dye so that I can see which places I have missed, and to not double-spray.
The place to not use glyphosate is in a pasture, because it will kill the grasses much better than the weeds, so it leaves a dead patch that the weeds colonise very quickly.
If your grass is kikuyu, I don't know how well glyphosate kills that.

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11 years 9 months ago #438614 by KiplingAngel
OOh Yikes - I won't let Roundup or any Glyophosphate product anywhere near my land. It not only kills the plants, but kills the soil bacteria which feeds the plants - it takes about 20 years to START breaking down, and will be all through your food plants in the future. It has been linked to birth defects, lung and lymph cancers, and other nasties.

You would be better to simply hire a bulldozer to scrape out the driveway, and a channel along the side to take the water off it. Might cost a bit more in the short term, but better in the long term. We have covered our driveway with gravel, but have a little LPG burner to burn out the weeds as they poke their noses up.

Pittos are great as a wee shelter belt, but you will have to underplant as they get bigger, but it's a great opportunity to put in bee friendly and native bird friendly plants.

What are you wanting to do with the land? Any specific crops or plants?

When we bought our block, we got a comfy wee caravan that I lived in for 6 months - much more comfortable than a shed really, and comes kitted out with a bed, stove, fridge, shower etc. It now serves as a spare 'room' for guests staying over, and is really very comfortable. The one we got didn't have a draw bar on it, so was really quite cheap, but it's weather tight, and up on blocks now, so it's not going anywhere anyway. Biggest plus is that it's a hell of a lot more 'mouse proof' than our sheds!

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11 years 9 months ago #438615 by Ruth
Replied by Ruth on topic Starting from scratch...
KA, could you please post references for those glyphosate assertions? I'd be interested to read them. I've always been told it has a short break-down.

Yes LR, it kills Kikuyu, but sometimes may appear not to have done, if you didn't get all of the Kikuyu. But why would anyone want to kill Kikuyu? [}:)]

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11 years 9 months ago #438621 by Hawkspur
Replied by Hawkspur on topic Starting from scratch...
A quick search of academic research on-line found the following:
Glyphosate has a "moderate" breakdown period, with a half life varying dependent on the soil temperature and the soil type, but averaging around 50 days, with a range from 1-174 days in one study. It is however, not very active once in the soil, as it binds fairly tightly to soil particles. This binding can allow levels to build up if glyphosate is applied several times.
It can leach into groundwater, but this has been shown to be at low rates, because it is tightly bound, but if there is a high amount of glyphosate in the soil the amount leached may be significant.
It has a toxic effect on aquatic life, including tadpoles.
Glyphosate has been shown to have a toxic effect on some soil micro-organisms.

The surfactant used with it has been found to have higher immediate toxicity.

So overall, use it with caution as you would any other toxic product, and be aware that it can build up in soil, and this can affect the soil biology. Don't use it with frequency near aquatic environments.

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11 years 9 months ago #438627 by KiplingAngel
Here's one - there are many...

(Extract from: GM SOY - Sustainable? Responsible? by Michael Antoniou, Paulo Brack, Andrés Carrasco, John Fagan, Mohamed Habib, Paulo Kageyama, Carlo Leifert, Rubens Onofre Nodari, Walter Pengue. Summary of key findings) GLS Gemeinschaftsbank eG / ARGE Gentechnik-frei
HEALTH EFFECTS OF GLYPHOSATE

The rapid expansion of GM RR soy has led to large increases in the use of glyphosate. It is often claimed that glyphosate is safe for people and the environment. But scientific research challenges these claims.
Studies show that glyphosate has serious toxic effects on health and the environment. The added ingredients or adjuvants in Roundup increase its toxicity. Harmful effects from glyphosate and Roundup have been found even at levels that are commonly used in agriculture and found in the environment.
Findings include: In human cells, Roundup causes total cell death within 24 hours. These effects are found at levels far below those recommended for agricultural use and corresponding to low levels of residues found in food or feed.6 • Glyphosate herbicides are endocrine disruptors (substances that interfere with hormone functioning) in human cells. These effects are found at levels up to 800 times lower than residue levels allowed in some GM crops used for animal feed in the United States. Glyphosate herbicides damage DNA in human cells at these levels.7 • Glyphosate and Roundup adjuvants damage human placental cells in concentrations lower than those found with agricultural use.8 9 10 • Glyphosate and Roundup damage human embryonic cells and placental cells, in concentrations well below those recommended for agricultural use.11 • Roundup is toxic and lethal to amphibians. Applied at the rate recommended by the manufacturer for agricultural use, Roundup caused a 70 per cent decline in the species richness of tadpoles.12 An experiment using lower concentrations still caused 40 per cent mortality.13 • Glyphosate herbicides and glyphosate’s main metabolite (environmental breakdown product), AMPA, alter cell cycle checkpoints in sea urchin embryos by interfering with the physiological DNA repair machinery.14 15 16 17 Such disruption is known to lead to genomic instability and the possible development of human cancers. • Glyphosate is toxic to female rats and causes skeletal malformations in their foetuses.18 • AMPA, the major environmental breakdown product of glyphosate, causes DNA damage in cells.19 These findings show that glyphosate and Roundup are highly toxic to many organisms and to human cells.
New study confirms glyphosate’s link with birth defects
In 2009 Argentine government scientist Professor Andrés Carrasco20 announced his findings that glyphosate herbicide causes malformations in frog and chicken embryos, in doses much lower than those used in agricultural spraying. The malformations were of a similar type to those seen in the offspring of humans exposed to such herbicides.21
Carrasco commented, “The findings in the lab are compatible with malformations observed in humans exposed to glyphosate during pregnancy.” He added that his findings have serious implications for people because the experimental animals share similar developmental mechanisms with humans.22 Carrasco said that most of the safety data on glyphosate herbicides and GM soy were provided by industry and are not independent.
In their study, Carrasco’s team criticized Argentina’s overreliance on glyphosate caused by the expansion of GM RR soy, which in 2009 covered 19 million hectares – over half the cultivated area of the country. They noted that 200 million litres of glyphosate herbicide are used in the country to produce 50 million tons of soybeans per year.23 24
Carrasco said in an interview that people living in soy-producing areas of Argentina began reporting problems in 2002, two years after the first big harvests of GM RR soy. He said, “I suspect the toxicity classification of glyphosate is too low ... in some cases this can be a powerful poison.”25
Carrasco found malformations in frog and chicken embryos injected with 2.03 mg/kg glyphosate. The maximum residue limit allowed in soy in the EU is 20 mg/kg, 10 times higher.26
Argentina: Proposed ban on glyphosate and and court ruling
After the release of Carrasco’s findings, environmental lawyers petitioned the Supreme Court of Argentina to ban glyphosate. But Guillermo Cal, executive director of CASAFE (Argentina’s crop protection trade association), said a ban would mean “we couldn’t do agriculture in Argentina”.27
No national ban was implemented. But in March 2010, a court in Santa Fe province, Argentina upheld a decision blocking farmers from spraying agrochemicals near populated areas.28
Argentina: Chaco provincial government report
In April 2010 a commission opened by the provincial government of Chaco in Argentina completed a report analyzing health statistics in the town of La Leonesa and other areas where soy and rice crops are heavily sprayed.29 The commission reported that the childhood cancer rate tripled in La Leonesa from 2000 to 2009. The rate of birth defects increased nearly fourfold over the entire state of Chaco.
This dramatic increase of disease coincided with the expansion of glyphosate and other agrochemical spraying in the province.
A member of the commission that prepared the study, who asked not to be identified due to the “tremendous pressures” they were under, said, “We don’t know how this will end, as there are many interests involved.”30
Argentina: Sprayed community prevented from hearing glyphosate researcher
There is intense pressure on researchers and residents in Argentina not to speak out about the dangers of glyphosate and other agrochemicals. In August 2010 Amnesty International reported31 an incident in La Leonesa, a town where residents have actively opposed agrochemical spraying. An organized mob violently attacked people who gathered to hear a talk by Professor Andrés Carrasco on his research findings that glyphosate caused malformations in frogs. Three people were seriously injured and the event had to be abandoned. Carrasco and a colleague shut themselves in a car and were surrounded by people making violent threats and beating the car for two hours. Witnesses said they believed the attack was organized by local officials and a rice producer, in order to protect agro-industry interests.
Epidemiological studies on glyphosate
Epidemiological studies on glyphosate exposure show an association with serious health problems, including: • premature births and miscarriages32 • multiple myeloma (a type of cancer)33 • non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (another type of cancer)34 35 • DNA damage.36
By themselves, these epidemiological findings cannot prove that glyphosate is the causative factor. But the toxicological studies on glyphosate cited above confirm that it poses health risks.
Indirect toxic effects of glyphosate
Glyphosate is marketed as a product that breaks down rapidly and harmlessly in the environment. But this is not true. In soil, glyphosate has a half-life (the length of time it takes to lose half its biological activity) of between 3 and 215 days.37 38 In water, glyphosate’s half-life is 35–63 days.39 Glyphosate reduces bird populations40 and is toxic to earthworms.41 42 Claims of the environmental safety of Roundup have been overturned in court in New York43 and France.44

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11 years 9 months ago #438634 by Hawkspur
Replied by Hawkspur on topic Starting from scratch...
I am by no means a proponent of glyphospate(!), but I do think we need to be cautious about the use of scientific data, and use it in context. For example, the first study quoted, which found "total cell death within 24 h" ( abstract here ) is an in vitro study of cells. The effects do not directly translate to in vivo effects, but do mean, as the study says, that we should apply caution to the use of the product, and be aware of issues with bioaccumulation.
The concentration that caused cell death was lower than the recommended level for use, but this is not the same as the amount that would be absorbed into the cells of a living organism if the glyphosate was used according to instructions.
The significant finding of the study was that the combination of glyphosate and one of its metabolites/breakdown products (Aminomethylphosphonic Acid AMPA), and a surfactant commonly used with it (polyethoxethyleneamine POEA)were more readily absorbed, and therefore more harmful than glyphosate alone, and that these surfactants and metabolites were not "inert".
The study did not look into the amount that would be absorbed by organisms, humans, cows etc, that ate food with residues at these levels, but concluded that these "adjuvants" should not be discounted as inert.

Sorry about the hijacking of your thread pangbernard - we do usually get back to the point!

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11 years 9 months ago #438697 by LongRidge
Replied by LongRidge on topic Starting from scratch...
pangbernard, with the building site you are going to have to scoop out the topsoil, and then replace it with a base of stones and sand, then plastic, then concrete and steel. Thus there is not much need to kill the vegetation before you start excavation.
ditto the water tanks, some of which will be below the barn and house site, and 25000 litres or more above the house site.
So, there is not much need to spray the grass, except to prevent it becoming a fire risk.

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11 years 9 months ago #438701 by pangbernard
Thank you all so much on the discussion on the use of 'RoundUp', and the experiences you all have shared; it is going back to basic for me and what my grandfather had told me: "there is no substitute for hard work".
I welcome what ever advices you all are prepared to share
........it is back to clearing of the driveway and the site for the Customkit barn plan for construction in November/December.

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11 years 9 months ago #438716 by Andrea1
Replied by Andrea1 on topic Starting from scratch...
I haven't read the above scientific data, I just don't like using chemicals to kill things if I don't have to. Yep, it means more work, but I like work. I've cleared many hundreds of square feet of grass, turf and weeds with hand tools. I've got quite a knack with a shovel, and can clear a lawn area 50 meters square in an afternoon. Ok, maybe not now with my knackered back, but even a few years ago I was doing that to clear areas for planting veggie gardens and building sheds.

Good luck with everything, and welcome to the forum!

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