Help with large overrun yard

crojj42November 16, 2013

Hi. We bought our home 3 summers ago and have been working on several indoor projects since that time, ignoring our front and back yard. My focus now is on the back yard. We have a small ugly but weedless level area of yard that is fenced off from a large (about 1/3 acre), sloped major segment, which is the part i am concerned about right now. It is totally overrun with huge weeds. I'm talking so overrun that you can't see the ground. It literally looks like an amazonian jungle. When we first moved in we had pulled out as many weeds as we could but obviously that have grown back exponentially. My vision for this yard is to clean it out and just plant grass and eventually fence it off but I don't know what I should do first. I read about smothering and it makes sense to me, just don't know if it would be practical for such a large area. I was going to pull out the weeds first and i figured it was best to wait until the fall. As a note, the underlying soil is hard and of poor quality as it appears the prior owners had buried glass and other construction debris in the back yard.

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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

I'm confused. What is weedless and what is overrun with weeds? Where are the weeds? inside the fenced area or outside?

Wherever they are, mow them down and let them lie there until spring. They will help to mulch the soil there. Drag all the leaves you can find in there, too to help mulch. 10 inches of leaves would not be too much.

If you are concerned about trash in the soil, you should probably work on that project over the winter. If you soil doesn't freeze, there are tools which help you filter out the trash and throw it away leaving the soil behind.

Poor quality soil can be fixed. Is it poor because it lacks the proper minerals, or is it poor because it lacks organic matter? If it has been left alone for months or years while getting adequate rainfall, and is still poor, it could be poor minerals. The $20 soil test at Logan Labs in Ohio will tell you if it needs anything. Organic matter should be the lease of your worries. That's trivially easy to fix. Getting the chemistry right can be a much bigger project...or not so big. Actually, hard soil should be the least of your worries. I would not even think about that concern until after all the construction trash is gone to your satisfaction.

Have you been to the Amazon? You might be surprised what it looks like.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 12:34AM
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The small, fenced off yard is weedless (for the most part). The unfenced part is huge, sloped and overrun with weeds. You say to just mow them over, but these are huge weeds, taller than me with extremely long intertwining vines that have formed an underground web of roots. Looking at the yard from above during the summer (standing on our deck), you couldn't even see the ground.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2013 at 12:21PM
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The best way, as has been said, is to cut the weeds. I don't know what type of mower you have but if you have some larger rider that may work. After the first cut any mower can be used to keep it cut.

If you do not have a capable mower, you should get a good weed trimmer like the Cub Cadet BC509 4-Cycle Trimmer/Brushcutter. With the fence and Trees? you will need a good trimmer. If the area is not too big you could cut it with a grass whip, or if too large you could rent some thing for the first time.

Once you get it cut, keep it cut until you decide what to do with it. While you may not have the lawn you would like, it will at least be green. If kept cut, over time the native grasses will take over and provide a low maintenance meadow.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2013 at 11:39AM
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Alright it seems to me that you think I actually have a lawn beneath these weeds. I should clarify - there is no grass! Not a single blade! I basically want to start from scratch. Having been pulling what I could by hand. Some are so large and thick I can't pull them out, so I've left them behind for now. I have a regular electric lawnmower, not the ride-one. I don't think the mower would be able to cut the problematic weeds i'm talking about.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 3:03PM
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With your electric mower almost anything is beyond its capabilities. My JD is 15hp, my push mower is 5hp, and my string trimmer is a 29cc 4 cycle motor and with the brush cutter that will take off a 2" tree.

To clear the lot you will have to rent something that will cut the weeds whether it is a large mower (Rider or push), or a good string trimmer.

Depending on the area that will need cutting you MAY get by with the electric mower. Do you have a cord that will reach the remote area of the lot

As for what I said about native grasses, any field properly mowed will eventually have native grasses. but to do the mowing you will need more of a mower than the electric, As you say there are going to be large weeds stems to cut off in the initial couple of mowing.

I have an area beside my lot (not mine) that was grown up in shoulder high weeds. I first cut it back with the string trimmer and maintain it with the mower. After a couple of season, while it does not look like a golf course, it is slow being populated with all kinds of native grasses.

My son in law tries to maintain his half acre lot with a rechargeable electric but it takes a couple of days to do it, as he mows a short time and then has to recharge. A little gas gets it done in a half hour or so. My 3/4 acre can be cut in just over an hour.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 8:51PM
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OK thanks for the feedback. Been pulling out what I can but will get an appropriate mower to try to mow down the rest. I hope to have a simple green yard. After mowing down the weeds, what should my next step be?

    Bookmark   December 22, 2013 at 11:18AM
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