Weeds, what would you do?

Discussion in 'HortForum' started by Buddleia, Jul 5, 2009.

  1. Buddleia

    Buddleia Active Member 10 Years

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    I moved last Fall to a house where the front garden was basically 3 huge weed maples that were shading the house to the point where lights had to be turned on during the day and nothing grew under them. When it rained the ground became a mud pit because not even weeds grew under the trees.
    The trees have been cut down and I have created a garden but in the area where I want to have grass I pretty well have a weed patch. If I were allowed to buy Weed N Feed I would happily go after the weeds that way and overseed in the Fall but in Ontario we aren't allowed to use those products anymore and cannot buy them in stores. I cannot imagine hand weeding this mess but that is the only thing I can see as getting rid of the weeds. I have been hand weeding some as they grow taller or flower because I don't want them going to seed. Or should I just mow it all and pretend it's grass?
     
  2. joclyn

    joclyn Rising Contributor

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    there has to be something, somewhere up there, available to kill weeds - even if it's not the best and doesn't get everything!! if you could get rid of the majority, then, hand pulling the rest wouldn't be so bad...

    barring finding a weed-killer that's available on the market there, you could use some kind of organic treatment. vinegar, vinegar/salt mixture, pure salt solution (which would cause it to be a couple years before anything would grow).

    someone posted, recently, about a mixture of salt/vinegar to use to kill weeds...if you search for vinegar, i'm sure you'll find it.
     
  3. Buddleia

    Buddleia Active Member 10 Years

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    Unfortunately for me all the chemicals have been banned and no longer for sale as of this year.
    I considered using the softened water from the house, but then realized that would effect the soil and make it unuseable for a while.
    I know the non-chemical means are ok for a the odd weed here and there but I see myself using many containers of vinegar for my area. I wonder if that stays in the soil for a prolonged period also?
     
  4. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Can you smother (sp) the area with cardboard or paper, carpet or woodshavings. Get on top of the weeds then prepare the soil and sow with the grass that best suits your area OR you might consider a different ground cover altogether. We are using less and less lawn here because of the water situation and people are turning to ornamental fine gravels, mulches or planting gardens over the lot with paths and seating areas amongst the shrubbery. Artificial grass has also been used in some city gardens.

    Liz
     
  5. Buddleia

    Buddleia Active Member 10 Years

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    Hmmm, I may have to do this. I thought about roto-tilling the area and starting over but I thought I would leave that as a last resort because there is some grass growing amongst the weeds and ideally I'd like to foster the grass and eliminate the weeds.

    I agree that bypassing the grass altogether would be a good solution however, I just learnt the hard way that not having grass is not good for property values in my area. My former property was completely gardened, no grass to mow at all, and it took a very long time to sell and not for a good price due to the lack of lawn. I know this defies what many of us who are into gardening know but the mainstream public haven't got there yet in my area. Apparently they still cling to the notion that you have to have a lawn. In my defence, 3 quarters of the front is garden so I just hope to have a small token piece of lawn.
     
  6. cindys

    cindys Active Member

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    What about getting someone with a little bulldozer in to clear the area (my son did this in Victoria BC and it wasn't expensive at all...cleared the area in no time at all). I would certainly not rototill it...all the weeds that spread by underground runners would be delighted if you were to do that! Once the area is clear, I would sod the area - adding some new topsoil if necessary (actually, I wouldn't put grass in at all, but I do understand Ontario...we made the mistake of building a very west coast house in Ottawa in the 1970's and no-one would buy it for ages because it wasn't like all the developer houses and they couldn't switch their curtains...). Make sure to get a sod that is good for your area.
     
  7. ShearMe

    ShearMe Active Member

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    If you go with cardboarding your front lawn, you can put hay or mulch, then cardboard then some top soil and in a year or so the cardboard will have degraded and any grass you put in the soil on top will be able to spread downward. If you do it now, the grass on top should be healthy in spring.
     
  8. Sherrie

    Sherrie Member

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    http://www.ottawa.ca/residents/healthy_lawns/lawns/maintain/corn_en.html

    I think this might be the answer to your problems. Can't believe I would have an answer but this is from learning the tough way.

    I am fairly new to gardening and have owned a home for 2 years. The first year a co-worker told me a great way to kill weeds (and farmers in Alberta use this methodt) is to throw a layer of corn down on the area. The type they feed to chickens but finely ground. I
    didn't know how to find this. I live in Langley, B.C. On the drive home I always noticed a hay feed store. I bought some huge sacks of the corn grain that they feed chickens. Loaded up my Jetta and zoomed home so excited to of found an inexpensive, easy, non back breaking way to kill weeds.

    That very night I emptied the contents of all the sacks of corn onto my front lawn and back lawn. I back onto a forest by the way. I think you can probably see where this story is going.

    I ended up with Stanley Park in my front and back yard for two weeks. It was a nightmare.
    I had waddling, raccoons, squirrels, birds all FEASTING on my property. They had found their mecca. My Chiropractor freaked when I told him what I did. *He knows alot about gardening* He told me I was going to end up with my property infested with rats and bats.

    OH GOD! I'm a CITY GIRL. Condo living 30 years. What the hell have I done?

    I stayed up most of the night with a flashlight watching for rats and bats. Sigh....

    After that first night I just gave up. Couldn't take it anymore and decided to let nature win.

    Happy Ending though :D

    I HAD NO WEEDS AT ALL ON MY LAWN OR GARDEN :D

    When I next saw my co worker *a good year down the road* I asked him what the lksjflsjfs

    I explained to him what I did. He roared laughing. He said I had to use the corn thats a gluten. Its fine. Then I needed to water it very well into the soil and lawn.

    So there ya go :D Hope my story sends you in the right direction and helps you
     
  9. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    OHHH my aching sides. Wonderful tale. All the animals scrabbling around getting a free hand out would have helped too i am sure. Maybe next time just borrow the local goat. They are very good removers of all green wanted and unwanted . :) Take it from bitter experience.

    Liz
     
  10. Buddleia

    Buddleia Active Member 10 Years

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    Cindys, thanks for sharing your story about Ottawa, interestingly this was in todays paper that you might find of interest.
    http://communities.canada.com/ottaw...318476.aspx?CommentPosted=true#commentmessage
    Fortunately the readers comments are for the gardeners and against the mean neighbours. I'm glad that there are lots of people that feel this way but none of them live in my neighbourhood that's for sure. They love their ride'em mowers to much.

    I'm wondering if this is a sign and I should rethink the lawn thing and go with something more practical. I'm worried it will cost a fortune though. I was thinking one of the creeping thymes might be lovely or creeping phlox. I think the creeping phlox might be more cost effective as it grows to 4 feet whereas the thyme is only 2 feet. Any other suggestions for a groundcover that will be cost effective? Clover?

    Sherrie thanks so much for that link, I think I will get some of that stuff for a fall application. However, I still have existing weeds to deal with and they did mention the vinegar and lemon juice thing but it's not selective so it will kill the grass that is there too. I guess it won't kill me to continue handweeding but I am afraid my neighbours will turn on me before I get them all.
     
  11. Sherrie

    Sherrie Member

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  12. cindys

    cindys Active Member

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    I have a small clover lawn in my backyard. I actually like it...it solves some problems for me: regular doggy loo; too much shade; clay-based soil. Last year (the first year it was in), I had our lawn guys mow it once a month. When mowed, it sort of looked like grass from a little distance. However, we had a really horrid winter (for us) and it looked quite bad once it emerged from the snow. I re-seeded in spring and asked the lawn guys to leave it alone. So, now it is quite lush...no problem with the horrid buttercup weed that used to take over the lawn; excellent for the dog; no problem growing in the shade...and the bees are having a field day. Elsewhere in the forum is a photo that I sent in last summer and some photos from jimmyq of clover lawns in Burnaby. Cheers...
     
  13. ShearMe

    ShearMe Active Member

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    Why mow the clover so often? I imagine it'd be nice to walk around in much gentler than regular grass.
     
  14. Buddleia

    Buddleia Active Member 10 Years

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    Cindys, thanks for guiding me towards the photos, I've never actually seen a clover lawn before. Do most people mow theirs or do they leave it be? I just can't imagine the reaction that would get here but as long as I don't get into trouble with the by-law people it won't bother me.
     
  15. cindys

    cindys Active Member

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    Several online sites - ones where I had found information about the clover - mentioned mowing it. Frequency varied. Since I have a lawn mowing service to do the front yard, it was simplest to ask them to do it once a month. As I mentioned, I am not getting it mowed this year at all. It is about 8 inches tall and has lots of blooms. That means that there are lots of bees. It can be walked on...the dog does so all the time. I don't - certainly not barefoot!!! What I wanted was a small patch of green to rest the eyes from the colourful cottagy garden that is the rest of the back yard. We already had lots of patio space, so I didn't want anymore stone. Grass simply doesn't want to grow in that space, it is not suitable for vegetables, and I have more than enough perennials and shrubs to take care of...clover looked to be the best lawn alternative for me...and has proven to be so.
     
  16. ShearMe

    ShearMe Active Member

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    Oh, ok. :)

    Bees ought to be a good thing to have in a garden anyways.
     
  17. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Can by-laws be so strict?
    I am having a hard time with this unless clover were considered a weed which as far as I am cocerned it is not. In many ways I think it would be a better alternative to grass given it's attraction to bees and nitrogen fixing properties.

    I personaly am over lawns but then I have a clover riddled paddock to go to for my green fix.

    " I just can't imagine the reaction that would get here but as long as I don't get into trouble with the by-law people it won't bother me"
    Buddleia


    Liz
     
  18. Sherrie

    Sherrie Member

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    I'm sorry to say this but I am from the other camp.
    A field of clover makes me think of an unkept piece of land.

    Can anyone post a photo of their clover lawn?

    I get the odd few heads of clover in my lawn and i religously pick it out.

    You would hate me but I'm a freak for trying to get the perfect lawn. Had no idea how costly, timely etc it was. Who knows.. I may be a convert in the making for a clover lawn. I sure would be the first I've seen in the suburbs
     
  19. ShearMe

    ShearMe Active Member

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    I like the look of a kept lawn as much as the next suburbanite, but a field of clover just makes me wanna run barefoot though it. It's always nice to find a four-leafed clover too. :)
     
  20. Sherrie

    Sherrie Member

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    I'lm too phobic of snakes to run through a field of anything but a golf course cut length of grass. It sounds nice though :)
     
  21. cindys

    cindys Active Member

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    Here is the link to my photo from last year of my clover lawn:
    http://www.botanicalgarden.ubc.ca/forums/showthread.php?p=151963#post151963

    Here are the photos jimmyq posted:
    http://www.botanicalgarden.ubc.ca/forums/showpost.php?p=77072&postcount=30

    I will post another pic of the clover lawn now...covered with flowers...but I want to wait until the sun comes out (supposedly tomorrow)...everything looks better in the sun!!!

    Another alternative lawn surface is called Eco-lawn:
    http://www.wildflowerfarm.com/index.php?p=catalog&parent=4&pg=1
    It looks like grass but is meant to be kept on the longer side. Since the place is in Orillia, Ontario, it might be perfect for Buddleia's yard.
     
  22. Sherrie

    Sherrie Member

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    OH Cindy
    That clover looked gorgeous. I sure would have to do some research
    I have been trying to grow the eco lawn by the way. The exact same one that was linked.
    I just got invited out for drinks.
    Gotta go
    IF you need feedback on the eco lawn just holler :)
     
  23. Buddleia

    Buddleia Active Member 10 Years

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    Liz, I posted a link yesterday to a newspaper article where they poor couple are being hounded by neighbours who set the By-Law people onto them. By-law officers will tell you to mow and if you don't they will send city workers to mow for you and bill you on your property taxes. Right now they are taking 2 weeks to think about things because right now the couple have an Eco Lawn type set up and the everyone else in the neighbourhood has the traditional lawn and the by-law states that everyone must conform to the same standards as their neighbours. If they ALL had Eco Lawns that would be ok too I guess, as long they were all the same.

    Today I thought about mint for my patch of green, I love mint and the smell and the bees like it too. It spreads like crazy too so it would be economical. Thoughts?
     
  24. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Oh yes I know about the mowing bit when it comes to the council here. BUT it was for my paddock. The stupid fire surveyor did not even come in an inspect the state of growth just looked over the fence from the road saw the tall grass heads and did not realise we had done all the cutting of perimeter areas near other properties. I also had grazing animals on the block and there was virtually no undergrowth. So when the bill arrived I went into orbit and got the whole thing waived. Told him to do his job properly next time and ring me ifhe wants to come and inspect.

    As far as every property looking the same here there would be a riot. Diversity in gardens is what makes us the garden state. The only time there may be council trouble is if it is a fire hazard or run over by noxious weeds. Then the blackberry and ragwort patrol say get rid of it or we will come in. They actualy allowed me to use my goats to get rid of blackberrys. Absolutly non in paddocks now. Still fighting the garden ones. Years ago I rented an old house in an expensive seaside suburb. Just up on the corner the architect owner built a fabulous wood and glass concoction. But what made it so stunning was tha native garden and bark peeling off trees when all around it was formal suburbia. He inspired me to also create a bad hair day garden which many people commented on. In fact a slight trend started in the street. Further up was the old original house and they had a fully operational vegetable garden and chooks in their front yard. Many of our immigrant gardeners have beautiful vege patches in front gardens. Lawns are slowly phasing out here as they take too much water and we are not allowed to use mains water on them any how. As a result there are some realy interesting suburban blocks probably in line with an eco garden. In fact we are encouraged to use native plants and they are a bit wild and wooly at the best of times. I hope they win. There is more than one way to create a garden.

    Liz
     
  25. eldumas

    eldumas Member

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    I think if you put mint in for a lawn, you will really tick off the neighbours. Mint spreads like wildfire run amuck, and the neighbours that are trying to keep a "weed free" lawn will view your incoming mint seeds as weeds, and know exactly where the fragrant mint came from!

    I like the previous idea of removing the top-soil and starting again, or covering it up with something that slowly decays and planting again. If you are worried about the length of time for grass to sprout vs weeds to re-infest, then use sod. Once the weeds and seeds are covered, little will come through, and those little bits can be dealt with individually.

    Weeds require sun to germinate, and sod will take care of that issue for you. Once you have the sod planted, grow it taller and use a mulching mower. This will help keeps the weeds down.

    The best weedpulling device I ever found was from Lee Valley and was called "Grampa's Weeder." It is so effective at pulling weeds that I think it is actually faster than mixing chemicals and fussing with sprayers! 30 minutes with that thing in my yard, and every dandelion was history.

    Ed
     

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