Which Tool to Cut Up Weeds?

wobsieJanuary 14, 2010

I'm working on re-landscaping my backyard from scratch here in San Diego, CA. I'm doing it in my spare time, so it's taking a long time. I had used a rented motorized tiller almost a year ago on the whole yard. About half of my yard is still unfinished, and with winter rains, weeds are starting to grow on the unfinished part. I'd rather not rent a tiller again because of the hassle and the expense ($100). Is there a hand tool that I can use to easily cut up the weeds and just blend it into the soil?

My local Home Depot has the "Hound Dog Cultivator" (http://www.hound-dog.com/cultivator.htm), which looks like it might work. Is there a better alternative? Something w/ disks, rather than tines, maybe?

The dirt in my yard is loamy clay with a lot of rocks in it.


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There is a lot of information that is left out of your post.

If you have a lot of rocks in the soil, why are you not taking steps to remove them? The size of the rocks would dictate the tool needed. Perhaps a rear tine tiller or maybe you should have a small skid-steer loader.

As for the weeds, the more you chop up some varieties the more they grow back in quantity. You need to kill the weeds first. If permitted, use a product such as Round-Up and spray it on the weeds. You must do this on a day with ZERO wind because the Round-Up will kill anything it lands on. Another option is to go to a large tool rental store and see if they have what is commonly called a "Tiger Torch". This item consists of a long, hand-held wand with a large diameter pipe end on it. The other end has a long hose that goes back to a gas regulator valve that will attach to a common propane BBQ tank. You light the torch and turn up the dial to get the flame desired and then you walk around and fry all of your weeds.

No matter which method you choose, you cannot stand still with your landscaping because new weeds will appear eventually. Wildlife and the wind can bring new seeds to your yard.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2010 at 12:11PM
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Hi kompressor, thanks for your response.

The rock sizes range from pebbles all the way up to egg-sized. The rocks are equally distributed within the soil, so... I can remove the visible ones from the top, but the more I dig up the soil, the more rocks there are.

I was hoping to stay away from motorized tillers, but maybe I have to use one of those. The area in question is roughly half of a 50' x 50' yard.

I'll think about doing Round-Up too, although, I would have preferred a mechanical solution over chemical.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2010 at 1:05PM
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50'X50' is not very big, I am surprised you did not finish it the time when you rent the tiller.

The part you tilled before should be easier to retill again, it is the part that never get tilled before that is harder.

Weed killer like Roundup don't prevent weeds in the future, I am not even sure it would slow down the new weeds growing!!! I use it before, I gave up and keep tilling.

Unless you till and finish putting lawn or other means, you better off don't do anything because you are wasting money renting. I have a lot of bare ground in my yard, more than 50'X50'. I bought myself a front tine tiller and till it like 3 times a year. Renting is not the way to go, I would invest in a front tine tiller for about $350 from either online or maybe Sears. Too bad you have rocks or else after the first time tilling, you can get away with a Mantis tiller.

If you are to landscape it, you need to rent the tiller again and hurry up put in the lawn or whatever. Don't stop until you finish. THis time it would be easier because you tilled it last year.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2010 at 3:11PM
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The only mechanical solution is either a tiller to disturb the ground or field/brush mower to slash down the high weeds. Both items shake the plants and distribute mature seeds into the soil to germinate within a few weeks max. Round-up gets absorbed by the plants leaves and the best time to spray is when the plant is growing vigorously, the weather is hot and dry with no rain in sight for a few days. The Round-up is not persistent. It does not stay in the soil like the old herbicides such as Atrazine or Simozene.

It takes several days after spraying Round-up to see results. Some weeds are tougher than others so don't expect everything to die at the same time. On the other hand, the Tiger Torch is instant kill to both the plant and any seeds. It is quite safe to use and also easy to use. Landscapers often use them to eradicate weeds in walkways, driveways and patios.

I understand your problem with the stones. Short of putting a small screening plant in your yard and feeding it with a skid-steer loader, you will keep on encountering the stones everytime you disturb the soil with a shovel or a tiller. Further tilling is likely pointless, depending upon what it is you intend to plant in this area.

If everything is levelled to your satisfaction, then just deal with the weeds and move on with planting. If grass seed or sod is going down, they you will need to lightly rake the surface. Next year, you should use a weed and feed fertilizer on the grass to kill emerging weeds.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2010 at 6:38PM
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Wabbout a hoe?

    Bookmark   January 14, 2010 at 7:28PM
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I would lay sods, I don't think it is much cheaper to seed because you need to buy those Tuff Builder type and you get weeds along with it while you grow the grass.

Round up work, but the old one dies and the new ones grow back in no time and you still need to mow the dead weeds. I found continuous tilling works better. One till, you are free for two to three months, 3 tilling a year tie you over the rainy season. You just need to have a tiller at home. Renting is out of the question.

Spraying Roundup take just as much time, you don't just blind spray!!! you don't want to poison your ground by carpet spray!!! Tilling will fluff up the soil and the new weeds is not going grow for a while......longer than the Round up effect. Unless the weeds are very tall, I don't even rake the weeds up after tilling, it'll disappear, I just level the ground back. After the first time, tilling a 50'X50' is a matter of about 2 hours. Get a cheap front tine tiller if you don't want to put in lawn, do what I am doing until until you decide what to do. I have been doing this for 3 years already, I still have not decided what to do yet.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2010 at 8:20PM
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If you want to post about Round-up, then learn about it first. As I said in my previous post, Round-up is absorbed through the leaves of the plant. It is not systemic. That means, it is not taken up by the roots of the plant. Therefore, ROUND-UP DOES NOT POISON THE SOIL.

Just because tiller ownership works for you does not mean it works for everyone else. If the weeds are tall, then those will wrap around the tines of any tiller used. This is one of the reasons I recommended the Tiger Torch. It will kill weeds DEAD and make whatever does not burn, easy to rake up. We are talking about 1250 square feet here or about the floor area of a small bungalow. Aside from this, rototillers chop roots up into many pieces and spread them over a wider area. Many types of weeds will sprout from just a piece of root left in moist, warm soil. If you were a landscaper, you would know that. If you call yourself a landscaper and don't know that, then you've still got a lot to learn.

Laying sod is not an easy job for some people to do and it needs to be hand rolled after laying to make sure it is in good contact with the soil below. For many people, this would entail a trip to a rental store and a rental fee. Failure to do so will result in dead patches within two days. Sod is far more expensive than seed and often entails a delivery charge.

Seed is a lot easier and cheaper for a homeowner to buy and work with. And if you go to a proper seed house to buy custom mix, then they can include a "nurse seed" that will sprout quickly and provide some shade for the grasses you want to end up with. Nurse seed is an annual. It will die on its own and will not return the following season.

All the OP has to do is keep the seed lightly watered during the daytime until it is well established. Weed control can be done the following year with a selective spray.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2010 at 10:31PM
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I know exactly how to use Roundup and I know you spray on the leaves. This is no rocket science!!! I did it a few times already. YOu have to go to EVERY weed plant and spray on the leaves. THAT IS WHAT TAKE TIME. I timed it and I was surprice how much time it take. Have you ever spray a big yard?? I DID!!! A lot of weed have to be spray the second time. You have to wait a week in between to see which one die and which one alive!!! You count this as time??? After you spray, you have to clean the sprayer, the Round up is going eat your nozzle. I had to un-clog the spray nozzle after I left the Roundup in for two months. And you better buy the concentrate Roundup or else you can go broke spraying.

You ever use a tiller? I have been doing it for 3 years. If the weeds are too long, just mow it with a mower first if you insist.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2010 at 10:42PM
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When poster's like you make absurd statements about a product such as Round-Up poisoning the soil, it is obvious that weed spraying IS rocket science because you don't understand how that herbicide works any more then you understand rocket science. I used to spray weeds on a PROFESSIONAL basis for many years until they banned the use of herbicides and pesticides in my area so I think I know more about Round-Up then you do.

I have a Pesticide Licence and took courses to obtain it. How about you? We had six trucks on the road looking after contracts with the highway department as well as residential and commercial jobs. How about you?

What does anything you had to say about Round-Up have to do with the issue? The OP wants to know how to deal with weeds OTHER than using a tiller. Using Round-Up is one way of accomplishing that. It is a non-selective herbicide and is designed to kill everything it comes in contact with. The OP doesn't want to spend another $100.00 to rent a tiller. Are you able to understand that logic or are you unable to get beyond the fact that YOU own a tiller and think that it's the ONLY solution for weed control?

And just so you know, I've been using tillers since the 1960's when I worked for a gardening supply firm that sent me to customer's homes in the spring to rototill their gardens. Since then, I've owned front-tine tillers, rear-tine tillers, mini-tillers, tillers on garden tractors and tillers on Ag tractors. After more than 40 years of being involved with tilling, I've learned a few things along the way. I know what tillers are capable of doing and I know what happens as a result of using tillers. Currently, I own 2 Honda rear-tine units, a Mantis and a Case garden tractor with a 41" hydraulic drive tiller.

As for mowing the weeds in advance, I suggest that you pay more attention to what people write. The OP CLEARLY stated that there were pebbles, stones and rocks in the soil. Why would anyone take a mower into that situation? Not only is is dangerous but the mower could be badly damaged.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2010 at 8:43AM
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I don't suppose a spade would work would it? Not on its own of course but with you driving it.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2010 at 6:22PM
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Steven Laurin & Company

Manual approach - a spade and metal rake to remove excess rocks and weeds . . . certainly builds character.

But then again, if it was my lawn renovation project, I'd use my TroyBilt rear tine tiller to break up the soil, followed by several passes with my JD tractor + cultivator attachment to remove/collect all surface rocks, cover with screened loam, grass seed + water . . . ;-)

    Bookmark   January 15, 2010 at 8:05PM
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If the Roundup is so harmless, why are they banned?

Are you telling me that spraying save a lot of time? After a week or so and all the weeds died, what are you going to do then? Pull them out? Leave them there as an eye sorer? Or you then till it which mix all the chemicals into the soil?

You ever think of the consequence?

I can tell you, the weeds grow back just as fast with Roundup spray as with tilling. AND OP can till the land fast enough with a front tine tiller. I did it both ways and by far tilling is better.

For the size of the ground, you better buy a spray better than those $24.99 can sprayer that you have to hold with one hand and keep pumping. If you get a good bp sprayer, that is going to cost more, together with buying Roundup. Don't even think of those squeeze sprayer that come with the gallon size Roundup!!! I would buy a cheap front tine tiller any time of the day.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2010 at 8:55PM
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This thread is supposed to be about what the OP needs to solve a problem with weeds. I've presented two solutions and you've presented one.....which was already rejected by the OP in the original post. I've said all I am going to say to you. It's up to the OP to decide a course of action that he/she wishes to pursue. If you want to keep on waving your little banner and shouting "rototiller, rototiller" at the top of your lungs, be my guest.

You could always buy a tiller for the OP and ship it. That might solve the problem.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2010 at 9:54PM
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The OP did not rule out tiller, read it carefully. He hope not to buy a tiller. But for 50'X50', it is not hand doable. Roundup is going to leave poison if OP want to grow fruit AND I am convinced that it is not work saving to go Roundup route. I DID IT A FEW TIMES TO SAY THAT. I have no opinion about the burning, just the Roundup BECAUSE I BEEN THERE, DONE THAT. YOu ever try tilling instead of spraying to compare? I DID. Until you try it, don't knock it. I went from Roundup to tilling.

For the OP's health, I would stay away from the chemical if all possible. It is your choice to spray whatever in your garden. BTW, you never mention what you going to do after the weeds died!!! You going to just leave it or you suggest to dig it up? How are you going to get rid of the chemical from the dead roots if you don't dig it up? I know LCO kill off the weeds, then they till, then they rake very very carefully all the dead dried stuff before replanting or sodding. What is your suggestion on getting rid of the dead weeds that have the glyphosate?

    Bookmark   January 15, 2010 at 11:28PM
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Clearing waste ground that you want to turn into a garden or lawn is not going to be a 'one shot' deal whichever method you use. Depending on how bad it is you may need to cut down what is there (weeds thistles etc)with a weed whacker and clear it. If you decide to use Roundup, wait for new growth to appear before you spray, Roundup doesn't kill everything, only what is green, newly sprouting plants are most susceptible, Roundup is neutralized when it hits the soil. To be thorough you should do this again after approx. ten days. You will still have weed seeds in the ground and you will activate them as soon as you till so, once again you may have to spray the new growth.

Obviously this is not commercially viable and an alternative would be to clear the weeds, till, level and sod or seed. Any weeds that grow through the grass will be cut when you cut the grass.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2010 at 9:41AM
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I forgot to mention. I tried all sorts of hand cultivator tools, Hound Dog etc. Nothing work because the ground is too hard, you will find it very hard to step on the tool to push it into the ground to do anything.

That is the reason Even the OP want to avoid any power equipment, I don't think it can be done without. I don't think you can dig fast enough for the weeds to grow back.

Even using tiller, it has to be done in one shot, you cannot do it a part at a time.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2010 at 12:37PM
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Round up certainly does poison the soil. Everyone should do the research which is readily available before using. The active ingredient passes some tests but the carrier is very toxic. Sometimes, you have to read a few things besides the label... Depending on what kinds of landscape you want, you may not even have to go through all the digging. Build up beds above the ground and block out the weed growth with cardboard if you want.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 12:33AM
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Your absolutely correct Tom , all Herbicides and Pesticides have residual effects. There are numerous Eco friendly solutions to weeds that have been used for yrs. You have just indicated one , without O2 plants or weeds die lol. Sure Eco friendly products are more time consuming , but what is the rush it's Gardening ! Or Landscaping ! :)

    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 7:43AM
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Not only have I done my research but I have real-world experience with Roundup.

Farmers have used Roundup for years to control weeds in their corn fields long before Monsanto introduced Roundop ready seed. Prior to Roundup, farmers used Atrazine and Simazine that attacked weeds at the root level. After spraying either of those chemicals on a corn field, a farmer had to wait at least 2 years before planting wheat, oats, barley etc in that same field. Why? Because those two (now banned) chemicals did poison the soil and the farmer had to wait until rain and snow melt filtered down through the soil and carried the chemicals lower than the root structure of the grain crops I mentioned.

If a farmer planted too quickly, then his yields in that field were drastically reduced, often to the point of net loss. Round-up is not the same as those two chemicals. You can spray an area choked with weeds, let them die, remove the dead growth from the soil and then plant grass seed. The seed will grow and flourish. Why? Because Roundup is sprayed on foliage while the plant is growing vigorously. Roundup does not attack a plant via its root system.

So where this thought comes from that Roundup poisons the soil is bizzare. Farmers can use Roundup on their corn fields this year and plant winter wheat in the late fall just as soon as they've taken the corn off. And I'm not talking about Roundup ready wheat seed either.

There are thousands of articles about Roundup on the internet. One of them states the following:

"Roundup is a non-selective herbicide used to kill unwanted grasses and weeds. It is available in professional strength liquid concentrate and professional dry concentrate formulations. When Roundup is sprayed on plant foliage, it is absorbed and then moved or translocated  throughout the plantÂs tissues. Once inside the plant, Glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup) inhibits the production of an enzyme, called EPSP synthase, which in turn prevents the plant from manufacturing certain aromatic amino acids essential for plant growth and life. Glyphosate interrupts the metabolic process in plants, so its effect may not be visible for about four days in annual plants and up to seven days in perennial plants. After application, the plant wilts and turns yellow, and then turns brown as the plant tissue deteriorates. At the same time, Glyphosate decomposes the plantÂs underground roots and rhizomes. Ultimately, the entire plant dies, is incapable of regenerating, and enriches the soil as it decomposes.
Tests have shown that Roundup, when used according to label directions, has no weed killing activity once in contact with the soil. Glyphosate will not move in or on the soil to affect non-target vegetation, and it does not move through the soil to enter other non-target plants by the root system. Glyphosate is only effective when it comes into contact with the green, growing parts of plants. Other tests have shown that Glyphosate binds tightly to most soil particles until it is degraded. This means that the likelihood of Roundup harming nearby plants is negligible, and there is an extremely low potential for Glyphosate to move into groundwater.
Many professionals now prefer to tank mix their favorite Roundup herbicide with Scythe. This combination provides faster burn-off of grasses and new growth weeds and also accelerates the systemic action of Glyphosate."

I have included the link below.

Monsanto is currently embroiled in many lawsuits involving Roundup and its Roundup ready seed. What else is new? Companies that make products for consumers are often under attack. Morons buy used lawn tractors, back over their kids with them and then try to blame the manufacturer.

To be clear, I no more trust the studies conducted by Monsanto than I trust the studies performed by the eco-nuts. What I do trust is what I see and do. This thread is all about getting rid of weeds in a 1250 square foot area and then conducting some landscaping. There has been no indication that the OP intends to grow fruit or vegetable crops for personal consumption.

If I intended to grow such crops for myself, then I would still use Roundup to clear out the weeds. That's my own decision. Others can choose for themselves.

Wiki shows this:

"A 2000 review of the toxicological data on Roundup concluded that "for terrestrial uses of Roundup, minimal acute and chronic risk was predicted for potentially exposed nontarget organisms". It also concluded that there were some risks to aquatic organisms exposed to Roundup in shallow water."

In other words, if you direct the spray of Roundup on your weeds, there is minimal risk to anything else in the immediate vicinity. I see no reason why the OP should not use Roundup to destroy the weeds on the subject property and then continue with whatever plans for landscaping have been decided upon.

The OP also asked for ideas about tools or machines OTHER than a rototiller. So far, I haven't seen anyone come up with a better method for dealing with this problem than either of the two I suggested in my initial post. Perhaps some of you should turn your thoughts to that instead of flogging this dead horse called Roundup.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 12:28PM
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My whole point is not discredit Roundup. My point is you don't save effort using Roundup compare to tilling. The point is what are you going to do after the weeds are dead? How are you going to get rid of the dead roots from the hard soil to get rid of the chemicals? I still don't see any other way but to till and rake AFTER applying Roundup. Leaving the dead roots with the chemical inside is unacceptable in my book for the ground that is for growing fruit and vegetables. I was a bio-chem major, there is nothing that is absolutely harmless to people. Nobody know the long term effect, AND I wrote enough science report to know that any report is skew to the point of view of the author. There is no un-bias report. Don't believe this, look at the Global Warming issue!!!

I know OP don't want to use tiller and want to use hand tool. My point is THIS IS NOT DOABLE. It is absolutely unwise to rule out tiller. This is from experience of people that have been there and done that. I had ALL the hand tools for weeding for tight space where tiller cannot go. They are absolutely useless. I end up have to inprovise by take out one of the tine of the Mantis and put the wheel from the edging tool and run the Mantis into tight space. About the only hand tool that is of some use is the trench shovel that is 4" wide and with a pointed tip that you can step and push into harder soil. But still if the soil is too hard, it would be difficult.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 1:40PM
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The web is full of info dealing with these challenges that agri-business, environmentalists, and regular people who deal with the real ramifications of these products. Our earth, lives and livelihoods are serious stuff to me. If the OP cleans his yard up with it, life will go on. It is really time to try and be better, do better. Educate and evolve rather than depend on what was done and self serving research. Soil is is a major building block of life. Take it seriously. Fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides damage the whole natural cycle of how it and we stay healthy. And that is merely the tip of the iceberg. That aside I'm certainly not insulting your intelligence or your observations. But seriously- eco-nuts?

    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 10:46PM
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Don't get me wrong. The world needs the eco-nuts to offset what big-biz does. It's the eco-nuts like the GreenPeace guys who have the balls to try and stop Japanese whaling ships from destroying what's left of the whale population. Others are busy challenging Monsanto's apparent drive to rule the world by controlling the seed that grows our food. I could go on but you get the point.

Do I believe that Roundup is the end-all, be-all solution to weed control? Hell no. But we have someone here that is just trying to solve a problem without spending a lot of money. Yungman's myopic view is that they should go out and buy a tiller. Why? This is a temporary problem looking for a temporary solution. The OP probably has zero use for a tiller once the landscaping project is over with.

Personally, I prefer the Tiger Torch method. Totally eco-friendly and it provides an instant kill. Burn them all to the bare ground. Rake up anything that fails to burn and put it in the trash for pickup. And I'm sure that we both know that mankind managed to get rid of weeds long before the gasoline engine was invented. My Italian neighbour brought an adze type of hoe with him from his home town and I watched him use it in his garden all the time. And he owned a front-tine tiller too.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2010 at 12:08AM
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Yungman's myopic view is that they should go out and buy a tiller. Why? This is a temporary problem looking for a temporary solution. The OP probably has zero use for a tiller once the landscaping project is over with.

He can choose to buy one or rent one. Which part do you not understand that no matter how you look at it, tilling is the best way. First thing first for land scaping, you have to level the ground before you put in the lawn. That you have to fluff up the soil to roll it flat.

Which part you don't understand that using hand tools to dig is not possible for such an area. You ever try using those weed hog, hound dog stuff? I had them all. They don't work for any significant area and soil that is hard. Are you arguing just to be rightious and lead the OP to waste money on all the hand tools? You can easily spend $100 on a few of those to find out that they don't work!!!

I never comment of burning the weeds as I never done before, but is it a little danger particular during the hot summer days in Southern California? You are going to have to rent the equipment to burn the weeds, right? Would it cost as much as renting the tiller?

Which part do you not understand that the OP is busy and he has yet to be able to finish the job in one shot. Unless he is commited to complete the land scaping in one shot, you tell me it is a good advice to keep renting time after time? It is inconsiderate of you to keep insist using Roundup and not mentioned how to remove the chemical contaminated roots, because you have to till and rake them!!!

Seems like you just get bend all out of shape when someone have a different idea from you. I am only contributing my experience. You can contribute your experience. You can do whatever you want in your own yard, you can burn it or spray it to drawn it.

Just cool it.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2010 at 1:14AM
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Kompressor, You ever done landscaping on your yard before?

I am doing it as I speak!!!

I have been using my tiller three to four times a year in the past 3 years. YOu want to know why? Because it is hard to decided how to landscape. AND it cost a lot of money to do everything in one shot. Unless you have someone design the yard and do it in one shot, most of the people do it a part at a time to avoid spending a lot of money in one shot. And the most important of it all, most of us want to do part of it and then decide on the next step.

Unfortunately, weeds don't take time off when you are thinking and waiting. You are going to have to dear with them all the time. I am only half way done because it cost me $5K to redo the patio, then to plant all the fruit trees. Now I have to gravel part of it and maybe put in lawn to fill up the rest. At the interum, the tiller has been very useful in keeping the unfinished part need.

I am sure this is quite typical particular for working people, that you really spend like two to three years to complete the work. So you think OP should keep renting? Just a little common sense when you face with a large expensive project particular if you are working.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2010 at 1:26AM
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measure_twice(z5 MA)

One option besides tools and power tools is to lay down opaque material so any weeds die from lack of sunlight. Black plastic or newspaper will work, and the newspaper can be turned under.

Here is a gardenweb post with more information. the post also suggests the use of clear plastic to "cook" the weeds and kill them..

    Bookmark   January 18, 2010 at 5:17PM
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Definitely more than 1 way to skin a cat- so to speak. Cardboard, newspaper on to and build garden beds above. Screw the tilling and poison. Great way to care for the soil. Clear plastic seems to work when it is hot and dry better than wet, wintry times. At least in our world.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 12:26AM
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Plastic would keep the weeds out as long as you don't step on it too much. But check out the cost of plastic for 50'X50'. I bought weed blocker for graveling, it is pretty expensive. I got the cloth type which might be more, it was 6'X200' for $56. Check it in HD or nursery store.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 2:10AM
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Plastic is a temporary measure and shouldn't be used for underlayment. Like yungman, weed block is a good thing for under pathways, gravel etc. The more you learn about soil- the less you use in other open soil areas though.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 4:39PM
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Where is the OP? Enjoying the arguments?

I think we should end this thread until the OP post and ask more info.

When he/she plan to complete the landscape, what landscape it would be and some thoughts on the ideas presented so far.

Each individual have their own plan, own paste to complete the job, that dictate what method to use. We are all over the place because we are all assumming.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 5:05PM
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Hi All,

Thanks for the ... um ... spirited debate so far. I've been far too busy to respond to each of your messages. I'm very much a part-part-part-time gardener. I've learned a lot from your posts, however. I understand that there are no definitive answers, and every point of view has pros & cons.

Part of my problem is that I'm not 100% sure on what I want and when I think I know what I want, I don't have the time or the money to get it done that way.

Upon one of your advice, I had a local landscaper deliver a big load of mulch (for free), and started spreading that around a part of the yard. That seems like a good way to keep weeds down w/o using chemicals. I'm not particularly afraid of the chemicals' toxicity -- but all else being equal I'd prefer that fewer chemicals be manufactured and used.

I also bought a Hound Dog Cultivator to give it a try, and as someone noted above, it doesn't work all that well on rocky soils like mine.

If I could afford it, I'd probably buy a used tiller. But I can't. Nor do I have the space to store it. My 1-car garage is jam-packed.

So, my plan right now is to spread mulch to keep weeds down, and once I figure out what to do w/ a particular part of the yard, clear the mulch and plant stuff there.

Thanks all, and if you're in/near San Diego, come right over and help me garden! There's a cold six pack and some hot dogs in it for ya.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2010 at 1:48PM
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Hell Wobsie you got almost as much mileage on the Which Tool to Cut Weeds as Rc and Ray have spun on Stored Batteries lol . Good Luck with the Weeding and Landscaping Bro ! :)

    Bookmark   February 8, 2010 at 2:11PM
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Unless you put 3" of mulch, weed grow right through. I had experience. I wasted few hundred dollars on that already.

I think the best and cheapest is not to look at it. As I said, you can just set the mower at the highest cutting height and mow it. That would avoid the stones. I just did it. We have so much rain right now, I can't even till it, so I am just going to keep mowing until April and then till it.

If you go through the effort to mulch the place, why don't you go one step further and put the weed block before mulching, then you don't have to have 3", 2" is good already.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2010 at 4:32PM
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Good advice -- I'll mow/whack then mulch.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2010 at 4:36PM
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Hello Friends,

Good question. I read somewhere about Jenson Lake Mower tool which can cut or remove weeds from lake and river easily without using any chemical because chemicals can harm wildlife and water.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 1:08AM
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