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Old 05-20-2019, 07:04 PM
 
Location: Washington state
5,610 posts, read 3,060,081 times
Reputation: 17280

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To give you guys some background, I have a cleared and stumped half acre. That was done almost 4 years ago and when I bought the land, the cleared area had weeds 6 feet tall on it. I had a guy who said he was going to mow and chip the weeds. Well, he mowed them, but I question the chip part of it because I still have large stalks from the Scotch broom laying on the ground.

So now it's summer and the ferns and blackberry bushes are coming up. Does anyone have any cheap suggestions (that doesn't involve spraying) to just kill everything on it?

I've thought about tarps, carpet, hay, straw, newspapers, and cardboard (the biggest problem is finding enough of anything). I've called people about bulldozing the area and tomorrow I want to talk to someone about doing what they call forestry mulching. I'd throw out ground cover now, but just about every one I've seen will get about 1 to 2 feet high and I don't want to be walking through that and tripping on large branches of dead Scotch broom. Plus I'm worried about making a tick farm.

Am I missing something here and if so, what is it? What would be the cheapest, easiest, and most effective thing to do?
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Old 05-20-2019, 07:53 PM
 
2,811 posts, read 1,537,378 times
Reputation: 12136
What are you planning on doing with the land? Building on it?


We bulldozed about a half acre, then built raised beds, hauled in garden soil, and that's our vegetable garden now, along with fruit trees, paths, decks, and a greenhouse.
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Old 05-20-2019, 08:24 PM
 
Location: Puna, Hawaii
2,148 posts, read 2,336,317 times
Reputation: 2933
Yeah if you are not planning to do anything with it in the near future the best course of action may be to do nothing for the time being.


If the area is well fenced you may want to check if any neighbors want to let their goats run on it.
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Old 05-21-2019, 01:19 PM
 
Location: Washington state
5,610 posts, read 3,060,081 times
Reputation: 17280
I'll eventually be building on the land and I'd like to get the start of a garden this year.

I don't want to do nothing to it, because I have a feeling that in 3 more years of doing nothing, it will have weeds 6 ft high again. The land isn't fenced (there's trees and underbrush surrounding the cleared area and I defy a fence or a goat to get through that brush), so goats are out for now.

I need the brush to sort of hide me anyway. I won't clear that out until I'm on the property with a legal place to live.

So maybe bulldozing is the answer for right now? I had thought of that, and then of ordering a ton of straw or hay to lay down over the cleared area to keep the weeds down. The soil is thin and there's nothing but rocks underneath it, so I'll need to bring in something to build it up.

Right now my concern is more that the weeds don't take over again.
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Old 05-21-2019, 01:21 PM
 
Location: Washington state
5,610 posts, read 3,060,081 times
Reputation: 17280
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldgardener View Post
What are you planning on doing with the land? Building on it?


We bulldozed about a half acre, then built raised beds, hauled in garden soil, and that's our vegetable garden now, along with fruit trees, paths, decks, and a greenhouse.
I'll eventually be building on the land and I'd like to get the start of a garden this year.

So maybe bulldozing is the answer for right now? I had thought of that, and then of ordering a ton of straw or hay to lay down over the cleared area to keep the weeds down. The soil is thin and there's nothing but rocks underneath it, so I'll need to bring in something to build it up.



Quote:
Originally Posted by terracore View Post
Yeah if you are not planning to do anything with it in the near future the best course of action may be to do nothing for the time being.


If the area is well fenced you may want to check if any neighbors want to let their goats run on it.

I don't want to do nothing to it, because I have a feeling that in 3 more years of doing nothing, it will have weeds 6 ft high again. The land isn't fenced (there's trees and underbrush surrounding the cleared area and I defy a fence or a goat to get through that brush), so goats are out for now.

I need the brush to sort of hide me anyway. I won't clear that out until I'm on the property with a legal place to live.

Right now my big concern is more that the weeds don't take over again.
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Old 05-22-2019, 06:49 AM
 
1,947 posts, read 636,713 times
Reputation: 4337
Let the weeds grow. The purpose of weeds in nature is to keep thin top soil down. Sound like your soil is a problem, so let nature solve with weeds. If you remove the weeds on a half acre, then there is nothing to soak up rain, you could produce water problems on the land.

Quote:
I'll eventually be building on the land and I'd like to get the start of a garden this year.
Are you starting a garden by where you will build? Heavy construction machines compact soil. "A compacted soil has a reduced rate of both water infiltration and drainage. This happens because large pores more effectively move water downward through the soil than smaller pores. In addition, the exchange of gases slows down in compacted soils, causing an increase in the likelihood of aeration-related problems."

If you are planning a garden, it has to be away from your building site. I would leave the rest of the land alone.
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Old 05-22-2019, 06:56 AM
 
Location: Virginia
4,897 posts, read 2,512,419 times
Reputation: 13982
Quote:
Originally Posted by rodentraiser View Post
To give you guys some background, I have a cleared and stumped half acre. That was done almost 4 years ago and when I bought the land, the cleared area had weeds 6 feet tall on it. I had a guy who said he was going to mow and chip the weeds. Well, he mowed them, but I question the chip part of it because I still have large stalks from the Scotch broom laying on the ground.

So now it's summer and the ferns and blackberry bushes are coming up. Does anyone have any cheap suggestions (that doesn't involve spraying) to just kill everything on it?

I've thought about tarps, carpet, hay, straw, newspapers, and cardboard (the biggest problem is finding enough of anything). I've called people about bulldozing the area and tomorrow I want to talk to someone about doing what they call forestry mulching. I'd throw out ground cover now, but just about every one I've seen will get about 1 to 2 feet high and I don't want to be walking through that and tripping on large branches of dead Scotch broom. Plus I'm worried about making a tick farm.

Am I missing something here and if so, what is it? What would be the cheapest, easiest, and most effective thing to do?
I was at another Master Gardener's house last week who has two acres with part of it forested. She and her hubs have extensive gardens (they run the PlantsMap website - check it out) but they wanted to leave part of the acreage natural They had the forestry mulching done on that portion and it has held up very well, even though they previously had noxious and invasive vines and poison ivy growing there.
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Old 05-22-2019, 07:06 AM
 
Location: NC
7,217 posts, read 8,917,103 times
Reputation: 15219
What do you have against spraying? That would be the least disruptive to the soil and the good bacteria that are recovering there. Then remove the dead debris as best you can and in the proper season plant annual rye grass as a cover crop. Ask your agricultural professional what the best herbicide would be. You want one with a short soil half life but that is true for most anyway. Glyphosate would kill existing plants only. Burndown types will kill only leaves. Pasture types will kill all but the grasses and so forth. Otherwise use your paper and plastic but that contaminates the soil.
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Old 05-22-2019, 07:52 AM
 
Location: USA
600 posts, read 159,610 times
Reputation: 501
drag your lawn mower out there and mow it. get some exercise. burn the stalks (burn barrel if necessary).
only 'cheap' way to maintain acreage is Hard Work.
buy a used riding-mower if you are lazy (be sure to get a twin-cylinder, whatever brand you get).
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Old 05-22-2019, 09:11 AM
 
Location: Raleigh
9,366 posts, read 7,001,678 times
Reputation: 13287
I'd bulldoze/till and plant grass seed. Assuming you get enough rain to grow grass. Get cheap contractors mix and dispense.
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