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Old 02-03-2020, 03:21 PM
 
Location: Jersey City
6,584 posts, read 16,566,433 times
Reputation: 5828

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Y'all,

I moved into my place 2 yrs ago and I have a tiny "side yard" (I guess you could call it that), about 25 feet long by 7 or so feet wide. It was full of JUNK. There was:
  • A tree of heaven about 15 feet tall
  • One of those wild pear trees about 10 feet tall
  • Weeds of every variety several feet tall
  • HUGE virginia creeper vine
  • Other vines that I don't even know what they were

It's a pretty shady area on the north side of the building, but I'd like to reclaim this wilderness of misery and plant some nice shade-loving perennials come Spring. I've been clearing out all of the mess above the ground (I cut the tree of heaven down during the summer and removed the stump down to surface level last weekend, also cut the pear down last weekend), and have dug up a few feet of the creeper vine. I'm sure there's more under the ground somewhere, and I worry about what lurks beneath the surface. I'd hate to plant the whole area and then have the tree of heaven or something else reappear and try to reassert its dominion. Short of digging out every piece of organic matter to a depth of 5 feet, what do you all think is the best approach to get this area ready to plant?

1. Plant desired plants this Spring, deal with the weeds/bad stuff if and when they pop back up?
2. Cover the whole area with 8" or so of wood chips to suffocate anything under the surface, and then maybe uncover it and plant next year?
3. Attack with chemicals now and try planting later
4. Weed fabric (I really do NOT want to do this)
5. Other ideas?
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Old 02-03-2020, 11:00 PM
 
Location: Mid-Atlantic
26,939 posts, read 25,556,708 times
Reputation: 33604
What is "one of those wild pear trees"? Kill everything else that you mentioned.
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Old 02-03-2020, 11:14 PM
 
Location: West Coast U.S.A.
598 posts, read 254,507 times
Reputation: 1093
Girdling might work. It takes a few months but no chemicals needed. I did it once to get rid of a maple sapling that was in a bad spot.
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Old 02-04-2020, 03:49 AM
 
Location: British Columbia ~🌄 ☀️ ♥ 🍁 ♥ ☀️🌄~
8,444 posts, read 7,272,166 times
Reputation: 17311
If it was mine I would want to ensure that all vegetation (or seeds) remaining in there now will be totally eliminated so I would do this in the following order even though it will require some patience and waiting:

1. Attack with chemicals first to kill everything above and below the surface that may still be alive - that includes drilling and chemically treating the remaining stumps and any large surface roots of the two trees that were cut down to ground level.

2. Immediately cover the entire 25 X 7 foot area with a strip of heavy black plastic, then cover the plastic with a layer of wood chips to weight it down (and look nicer). Plan on shifting the wood chips out of the way to remove the black plastic in 18 to 24 months, so don't put down too much wood chips for now, just enough to cover.

3. During the waiting period I might take the opportunity this spring to start obtaining some of the perennials that I will be wanting to plant in the ground later. I'll put them in large temporary plastic nursery containers placed on top of the layer of wood chips for the interim .... or .... maybe just wait to obtain the perennials in 18 to 24 months.

4. In 18 to 24 months, rake the wood chips into a long row to one side to expose the plastic. Lift and remove plastic. Loosen the compacted soil very well with a garden fork and pull up any remaining dead and rotted surface roots or vines as it will be a lot easier to get them out then than it will be now. Then dig holes for the plants and add supplements to the soil if desired.

5. Remove the perennials from containers and plant them into their permanent locations. Pat the soil down lightly to make the whole bed even and level.

6. Rake the row of wood chips back into place on the flower bed and all around the plants. Obtain more wood chips if necessary to create a thicker layer of wood chip mulch.

7. Always be vigilant about making regular inspections for any weeds growing up through the wood chip mulch and pull them out as soon as sighted.

.

Last edited by Zoisite; 02-04-2020 at 04:16 AM..
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Old 02-04-2020, 05:47 AM
 
Location: Near the Coast SWCT
71,783 posts, read 54,348,931 times
Reputation: 12250
Quote:
Originally Posted by lammius View Post
2. Cover the whole area with 8" or so of wood chips to suffocate anything under the surface, and then maybe uncover it and plant next year?
On that note... just heads up, be ready to spray some bug spray throughout the Spring/Summer. I added wood chips to an area on my property and there were considerable amount of mosquitoes/bugs all year. I couldn't figure it out until I realized the wood chips stay moist and they nest in between. It was in a shady area too.


On the good side, it does look nice, it does hold weeds down, and does break down over time.
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Old 02-05-2020, 07:03 AM
 
Location: Jersey City
6,584 posts, read 16,566,433 times
Reputation: 5828
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerania View Post
What is "one of those wild pear trees"? Kill everything else that you mentioned.
These: https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifes...689_story.html
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Old 02-05-2020, 07:08 AM
 
Location: Jersey City
6,584 posts, read 16,566,433 times
Reputation: 5828
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoisite View Post
If it was mine I would want to ensure that all vegetation (or seeds) remaining in there now will be totally eliminated so I would do this in the following order even though it will require some patience and waiting:

1. Attack with chemicals first to kill everything above and below the surface that may still be alive - that includes drilling and chemically treating the remaining stumps and any large surface roots of the two trees that were cut down to ground level.

2. Immediately cover the entire 25 X 7 foot area with a strip of heavy black plastic, then cover the plastic with a layer of wood chips to weight it down (and look nicer). Plan on shifting the wood chips out of the way to remove the black plastic in 18 to 24 months, so don't put down too much wood chips for now, just enough to cover.

3. During the waiting period I might take the opportunity this spring to start obtaining some of the perennials that I will be wanting to plant in the ground later. I'll put them in large temporary plastic nursery containers placed on top of the layer of wood chips for the interim .... or .... maybe just wait to obtain the perennials in 18 to 24 months.

4. In 18 to 24 months, rake the wood chips into a long row to one side to expose the plastic. Lift and remove plastic. Loosen the compacted soil very well with a garden fork and pull up any remaining dead and rotted surface roots or vines as it will be a lot easier to get them out then than it will be now. Then dig holes for the plants and add supplements to the soil if desired.

5. Remove the perennials from containers and plant them into their permanent locations. Pat the soil down lightly to make the whole bed even and level.

6. Rake the row of wood chips back into place on the flower bed and all around the plants. Obtain more wood chips if necessary to create a thicker layer of wood chip mulch.

7. Always be vigilant about making regular inspections for any weeds growing up through the wood chip mulch and pull them out as soon as sighted.

.
This sounds like a good programme. It’s a longer timeframe than I want but probably worth it in the long run. Thank you for this advice.
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Old 02-05-2020, 07:09 AM
 
Location: Jersey City
6,584 posts, read 16,566,433 times
Reputation: 5828
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cambium View Post
On that note... just heads up, be ready to spray some bug spray throughout the Spring/Summer. I added wood chips to an area on my property and there were considerable amount of mosquitoes/bugs all year. I couldn't figure it out until I realized the wood chips stay moist and they nest in between. It was in a shady area too.


On the good side, it does look nice, it does hold weeds down, and does break down over time.
Good point! Mosquitoes are a nuisance around here so I’ll have to be careful not to encourage their breeding.
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Old 02-05-2020, 11:13 AM
 
27,658 posts, read 34,462,017 times
Reputation: 35713
Quote:
Originally Posted by lammius View Post
Y'all,

I moved into my place 2 yrs ago and I have a tiny "side yard" (I guess you could call it that), about 25 feet long by 7 or so feet wide. It was full of JUNK. There was:
  • A tree of heaven about 15 feet tall
  • One of those wild pear trees about 10 feet tall
  • Weeds of every variety several feet tall
  • HUGE virginia creeper vine
  • Other vines that I don't even know what they were

It's a pretty shady area on the north side of the building, but I'd like to reclaim this wilderness of misery and plant some nice shade-loving perennials come Spring. I've been clearing out all of the mess above the ground (I cut the tree of heaven down during the summer and removed the stump down to surface level last weekend, also cut the pear down last weekend), and have dug up a few feet of the creeper vine. I'm sure there's more under the ground somewhere, and I worry about what lurks beneath the surface. I'd hate to plant the whole area and then have the tree of heaven or something else reappear and try to reassert its dominion. Short of digging out every piece of organic matter to a depth of 5 feet, what do you all think is the best approach to get this area ready to plant?

1. Plant desired plants this Spring, deal with the weeds/bad stuff if and when they pop back up?
2. Cover the whole area with 8" or so of wood chips to suffocate anything under the surface, and then maybe uncover it and plant next year?
3. Attack with chemicals now and try planting later
4. Weed fabric (I really do NOT want to do this)
5. Other ideas?
I have never heard of a wild pear tree. If you are referring to a Bradford pear - someone planted that thing, or one nearby. It does shoot up roots. To eradicate it completely, you'll need to dig it up.
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Old 02-05-2020, 11:15 AM
 
6,208 posts, read 7,096,126 times
Reputation: 16106
Quote:
Originally Posted by lammius View Post
This sounds like a good programme. It’s a longer timeframe than I want but probably worth it in the long run. Thank you for this advice.

Keep in mind that gardening is strenous work. Most gardeners fail because they tink it is just dig a hole, throw in a plant, oogle their work, and they are done.


Doesn't work that way. Good gardens require contstant vigilance.
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