March 30, 2011 at 2:08 pm #254760
I have just bought a house and one section was a yard for the previous owners dogs. It is full of huge holes and now very tall weeds. I am trying to remove all the weeds (prefer without spraying) and prepare the block for a fruit orchard and duck pen. First remove weeds and rubbish, then perhaps see if I can get free clean fill to fill the holes.
The block in question is this one:
I have already spent several hours weeding and cleaning. What are your suggestions? Do I continute the very time consuming job of pulling weeds one by one or do I spray or do you have another suggestion?
KristyMarch 30, 2011 at 2:42 pm #493685
Depends on what sort of weeds they are. Many if you pull them out will still grow via any roots left. If you pull them up, then it will disturb the soil and could help any seeds leftover to germinate.
A few options I can think of:
Smother all the weeds with plastic.. although it would look horrid with that amount of land.
You could mow the weeds, hire a rotary hoe, which will then help to decompress the soil and flatten it all out. You WILL get weeds overtaking the disturbed ground. But if you put down grass seed you might be able to get the grass growing before the weeds can take over, and any weeds that come through- pull those out.
Or spray with a selective herbicide to kill off the broadleaf weeds, but not the grass and fill the holes.
Are the future ducks likely to eat the weeds? could you put them in there to help with the weed control (I don’t know much about ducks sorry, so not sure!)March 30, 2011 at 3:11 pm #493686
Chances are, any work you’re doing now to clear out weeds is most likely going to be wasted, unless you can sheet mulch the entire area. If you were to spray them, the weeds would die, then by the time you get to planting anything they’ll have grown back again. Same with weeding them out.
I’d suggest going over it with the mower or whipper-snipper, and putting the greenery down to help build up the soil. Gradually fill in holes, let the weeds come back and keep knocking them down. Once you have a planting plan, and the plants to go with it, you can hand weed, mulch, or spray the areas you want to work on and know you’ll be covering over again afterward with mulch etc, which will prevent the weeds coming back again.
Keep mowing the bits you aren’t currently developing and using that green matter to build up soil, make compost etc. You’ll also find the type of weeds change, and if you want grass you can throw down seed or include runners and the weeds and mowing will help it get established, though obviously the results wont be instant.March 30, 2011 at 3:32 pm #493687
Hi Kristy, it depends how keen you are but you could even rotary hoe it all and then plant a green manure crop. This could then be dug in in a month or two and will build up the soil prior to planting out your orchard. You would then have to mulch to keep the weeds down.
Depending where you live, it is getting close to time for green manure crops such as oats and wooly pod vetch. Green Harvest has info on this as well as seeds. See http://www.greenharvest.com.au/seeds/green_manure.html
I’ve also bought green manure seeds from Eden Seeds I think. See http://edenseeds.com.au/content/default.asp Both of these places supply innoculants with the legume seeds.
As Fozzie says, a rotary hoe will fix the hollows for you.March 30, 2011 at 4:59 pm #493688
Thank you Steve, Fozzie and Geoff for your quick responses. I’m not sure if ducks eat weeds, but maybe a goat or sheep could help lol. A good business could be started hiring out goats.
I don’t think I can mow it as it is very uneven, but I will have another look tonight and see. What happens if you are mowing and hit something? I’m concerned what might be hidden under the forest of weeds as it has bricks, balls, pretty much a dumping ground.
I don’t have a whipper snipper, so that idea is out. Although how much to buy? Could be worth buying one.
I am now leaning towards spraying or black plastic the whole lot (depending on cost of the plastic. I will measure up tonight and price. How long would the black plastic need to stay on for? Will it encourage mice, rats or snakes to live in it? Will it work now that we are coming into winter (I live in SA).
I like the green crop idea, but I don’t have a rotary hoe at the moment and again, couldn’t rotary hoe until I know there is nothing I am going to hit hiding in the weeds.
So can you fill holes whilst there are weeds in them? Does it matter? If I spray everything (not really any grass in there) mostly marshmallow, caltrop and some ground cover type weed that grows very well and thick, what do you do after spraying? Would you fill the holes in and then start the sheet mulching of the whole area to build the soil up? Can you use cardboard for sheet mulching as well as newspaper?
Sorry for the all the questions. I appreciatte your help.
KristyMarch 30, 2011 at 5:12 pm #493689
If you’ve got a mower with a catcher (rather than a side shoot), the worst that will happen when you mow over any obstacles is that the mower will stall, or you won’t be able to push it over any rocks/ cans/ whatever. The catcher will catch any objects, rather than sending them through a window or anything.
Perhaps look into a hire place. you might be able to hire a whipper snipper and rotary hoe for a weekend to get it all done. Again.. like the mower, the rotary hoe will stall if it hits anything hard.
Our place had lots of hidden nasties in it, we’re still finding glass, bottles and various junk after each mow… hasn’t hurt the mower thus far! Some people are just pigs!March 30, 2011 at 6:00 pm #493690
It is possible to ruin your mower or seriously injure yourself or others if you hit the wrong thing with it, so it might not be the best option.March 30, 2011 at 6:02 pm #493691
Thanks Fozzie, sounds like even mowing the weeds might be an option then. Just hope I don’t get too much blood and guts with mice or rats… Ewwww
I don’t have a plastic catcher, but fabric catcher. This should still do the same job though I would assume.March 30, 2011 at 7:43 pm #493692
I’d go with the goats, sheep (or even pigs and chooks) method of ridding the weeds, plus you get fertiliser 🙂
John Seymour’s Complete Guide to Self Sufficiency describes how a range of animals, over time, will clear a section of land.
I guess it depends on how much time you want to spend on it. I can’t see hiring .. or even buying a couple of animals, to be more expensive than buying a whipper snipper. And with pigs, you probably won’t need the rotary hoe at all.
:sick: A personal thing, but I wouldn’t even consider spraying poison unless it was a plant derived herbicide/poison onlyMarch 30, 2011 at 10:26 pm #493693
I wonder what it would it cost to have a “Bobcat” (or like machine) to get in there, run over the soil taking out the weeds while taking off the highs and filling the lows. Then use a levelling attachment to smooth the surface. The levelling attachment is a large rectangle frame that attaches to the bucket, does a great job in a very short time.
The area would be ready for the beginning of a great planned garden. Looks like good soils from the pics too.March 30, 2011 at 10:30 pm #493694
Yeah, that’s a good idea Bullseye. And I imagine a Dingo or Kanga being smaller would be good if access is a bit tight. Should be cheaper too.March 30, 2011 at 10:44 pm #493695
Good idea Bullseye!
I guess if you decide to mow please do be careful! I have the “she’ll be right” attitude, so mowing it would be something I’d do, knowing that I could break the mower, or possibly uncover something nasty… but I’d be careful! Ie check anything that starts stopping the mower, or that stalls it and would have it the highest height possible. And have good workboots on too.March 30, 2011 at 11:15 pm #493696
I’d second the use of ducks/chooks and then do patches with sheet mulching (newspaper/cardboard) as you plant. What I wouldn’t do is just pull weeds and wait for a bit while you get around to planting. From experience that is sure to end up with another patch of weeds. If you pull, immediately plant something – even if it is just sweet potato, pumpkin or some other spreader that will hinder the weeds.March 30, 2011 at 11:21 pm #493697
I will second the using animals – chooks, ducks and whatever else you can get in. You can always eat them when you have finished cleaning (can’t do that with a mower).
What I would not do is pull/poison/rotary hoe/graze and just leave it for a bit while you get around to planting. From experience this always ends up with a new patch of weeds. Do it patch by patch as you want to plant something (and fence it off from the animals). If you do have a bit of energy one day and clear a patch, immediately plant something, even if it is just sweet potato, pumpkin, green manure or other covering plant. The weeds need some competition.
HTHMarch 30, 2011 at 11:22 pm #493698
Oops, thought I lost that post…. oh well.
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