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Old 07-11-2013, 11:31 AM
 
6 posts, read 26,486 times
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Hello All! First time poster and visitor.

My new family bought a 4 acre property in Temecula wine country, about 5 miles off the main wine trails, closer to Lake Skinner. We bought in 2011 when prices were the cheapest and thus were able to afford such a large property. The property is hilly with a creek running through part of it. About 2 acres are thick with overgrown trees and brush lining the creek. The other 2 acres is dirt/weeds with mustard weeds, wild dill(?), and coyote melon(?) that get out of control every year.

Unfortunately, being apartment dwellers for the last 10 years, I'm at odds at how to maintain the property. We have a lawn mower and weed wacker that I use to clear around the house. I've also paid someone to do brush clearing once a year after all the tall weeds die. We do not have a garage to store big equipment and cannot afford a tractor mower at this time.

It seems we will fall into a cycle of letting the weeds and creek area get out of control every year. Get the brush cleared (very messy btw).

I need some sort of game plan to tackle my property.

At this point, I'd like to do a combo of self-maintenance and paying someone with good equipment to manage my property.

Any and all advice would be very welcome! I've also posted this in a local forum but thought I might have better help here.
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Old 07-11-2013, 12:07 PM
 
Location: southwestern PA
20,416 posts, read 43,336,026 times
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You say you mow what you can and have someone come clear the brush. So that's taken care of.

Are you asking how to create a garden? Wildflowers, vegetables, ???
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Old 07-11-2013, 12:55 PM
 
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We were in the same position six years ago when we moved to a three-acre place in Kansas. It was completely undeveloped except for a big front lawn and a bit of back lawn. The rest was weedy fields.

Here is what we did. We invested $5500 in a good John Deere lawn tractor, and another $275 in a good Brinley dump cart to attach to it. After developing a number of large ornamental and privacy berms (I went overboard), we were left with large swaths of field. I mow all of it. Once you have the weeds cut back by someone else, you can mow regularly to keep them down, and it looks nice and tidy.

But I do something else to give the large area some interest. Imow paths through the weeds. Beginning in the spring, I get on the mower after the field weeds have grown about a foot tall. Then I mow shapes, paisley shapes mostrly, into the field. This year I mowed so that we get privacy from the road behind us. The grasses grow quite tall and look really pretty right now, and there are some wildflowers coming up as well. As long as I keep the mowed sections mowed, the whole effect looks manicured.

We put in more lawn than we really needed to, as you can see in these photos, but had we just decided to mow weeds between the berms, I think the "country lawn" would have been just fine.

At the end of the season, for my last mowing before servicing the John Deere, I mow it all down. That's why you need a good, powerful lawn tractor.

The cart holds all my supplies and planting materials, as well as mulch, for coming along with me as I work in the garden.
Attached Thumbnails
Maintaining Country Property-img_1564.jpg   Maintaining Country Property-field-mowed-2.jpg   Maintaining Country Property-img_1934.jpg  
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Old 07-11-2013, 01:23 PM
 
Location: SE Michigan
6,191 posts, read 17,270,376 times
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Part of my property (basically two city lots) is as you describe, OP. Woods and weeds!

Things I do to keep it under control:

A couple of times a year I get a burn permit from the township, so I can burn up logs and fallen branches.
Hire someone with a brush hog tractor to keep the heavy undergrowth down. That costs me $75 about 4x a year.
I have thought about getting an old-style scythe so I can do that myself.

I may eventually do what TinaMcG suggests and get a tough riding mower. But for now, with some minimal work and expenditure to a local handyman/garden guy it's at least tamed and I am not getting love notes from the township LOL.
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Old 07-11-2013, 01:48 PM
 
Location: NC
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Ask your county extension agent for advice. There may be something you could plant that would minimize your upkeep requirement, or at least look nice while it is growing. Your being in such a dry area may be limiting.
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Old 07-11-2013, 05:10 PM
 
6 posts, read 26,486 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pitt Chick View Post
You say you mow what you can and have someone come clear the brush. So that's taken care of.

Are you asking how to create a garden? Wildflowers, vegetables, ???
Nope, just wondering how to better maintain what I have. My current system leaves a very unkempt property and it really only looks good in the fall and winter after all the brush and weeds have been mowed and before they start growing again.

We have grand plans for the property but couldn't pass it up for the price, even though we are a little in over our heads.
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Old 07-11-2013, 05:18 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TinaMcG View Post
Here is what we did. We invested $5500 in a good John Deere lawn tractor, and another $275 in a good Brinley dump cart to attach to it. After developing a number of large ornamental and privacy berms (I went overboard), we were left with large swaths of field. I mow all of it. Once you have the weeds cut back by someone else, you can mow regularly to keep them down, and it looks nice and tidy.
Thanks for the advice and pictures! Beautiful property! I'll start saving for a lawn tractor... I could see it being endlessly useful.
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Old 07-11-2013, 05:20 PM
 
6 posts, read 26,486 times
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Also, thank you Chiroptera and Luv4Horses. I'll look into burn permits and contacting my county extension agent.

This forum is proving to be a lot more helpful than the others I frequent!
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Old 07-11-2013, 05:54 PM
 
3,339 posts, read 8,849,714 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tucalota View Post
Thanks for the advice and pictures! Beautiful property! I'll start saving for a lawn tractor... I could see it being endlessly useful.
I put more miles on the JD than I do on my Jeep! Endlessly useful doesn't begin to describe it. I see my neighbor dragging a garden hose out to the back of his 4 acres, from the house. He's going to water trees. He's tired after working all day. And I'm wondering why he doesn't just hold onto the hose and drive out to the trees and then drive back to turn on the water? I get tired just watching him. I dunno, maybe he wants the exercise, but I think he's killing himself needlessly.

Another great use for the lawn tractor and garden cart is what I call my Redneck Swimming Pool. Clean out the cart, fill it with water, and add two neighbor kids in swimsuits (with mom's permission) and carrying water pistols. Then drive all over our property and theirs as they laugh themselves sick. That right there was worth the cost of the mower.
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Old 07-12-2013, 09:21 AM
 
1,134 posts, read 2,315,957 times
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Id personally let it grow wild, maybe plant some hemlock trees scattered about for privacy. we have 3.5 acres of which about 3/4 of it is yard, driveway house and gardens, that alone is WAY more maintenance then ideal for one person (wife isn’t much help when it comes to yard work) the rest of our property is densely wooded and very private.
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