Do I have anything worth trying to keep?

Liz321(6 - Detroit Metro)June 20, 2012

Hello all,

I'm a newbie so please be gentle.

Lets start with the back fence line.

My new-to me-house 1949 ranch had the original shrubbery and trees chainsaw pruned by the previous owner. I also lost two older pines this winter and am left with major sun and poor soil. The lousy removal methodsby the previous owner now mean that there are stumps and mystery bushes growing on the back fence line in several places. At each bunch, there are multiple plants all together.

I was told there is some buckthorn in various spots, but other than that, I don't know what is invasive or just too darn big to leave in that spot. There is a maple-type something with leaves as big as my hand, another 10 ft. away that has much thinner frillier leaves with more of a wandering habit, in with the deeply ridge leaved stuff that doesn't want to be killed. Near guesses on any of this?

Most of these pix are taken along a back fence line with overhead wires and growth on both sides of the fence. My neighbor has allowed one tree and ??? grow behind her uggo shed, but they are suckering in to my yard. I want to keep at least my side clean enough that Edison doesn't give me trouble. She is not a cooperative person, so should I just keep cutting what comes through the fence? What if any is worth saving and if so, should I just prune or poison or??

Is any of this worth saving? FYI, neighbor feels it is a good idea to leave cut branches piled against the fenceline. I am not a fan of chemicals, but as you can see, the back of the yard is suffering due to a flood/drought cycle and loss of the large pines. Nothing grew under them, but at least I didn't see her yard as much.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/48139520@N00/sets/72157630199511386/

Here is a link that might be useful: Back fence mess

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Dzitmoidonc(6)

You are right, it is a mess. The good news is, you have a tabla rasa, a clean slate. My IDs aren't worth the paper they are printed on, but I think pic 020 is Oriental Bittersweet. Nasty vine that strangles everything. Tough one there. Maybe your area has it classified as a noxious weed (we have such a list in PA) and it can be eliminated.

Pic 025, among others, is Mulberry.

Pic xxxx944 could be Flowering Quince. If you keep any plant at all, it would be this one, but only if it where you want it.

You have a chance to start over. Take it. Kill everything back there and make your own world. In a few years you can have something a lot more pleasing. Plants aren't that hard to come by. Attend some swaps (cookies for plants is common), read about plants you like, ask questions. And from the looks of the stuff coming through the fence, keep your pruners sharp.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 3:29PM
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lisanti07028(z6NJ)

I think that you've got a privet in there, and a willow of some kind, but I agree with the previous poster - go through there like a dose of salts and get rid of it all so you can have plants that YOU want.

As far as your neighbor's piles of branches - such piles can be very attractive to wildlife, which is not usually good in an urban/suburban setting. I would keep an eye on that area and call the town if you start to see critters; opossums aren't much of a problem, but rats are a different story.

Is it your fence or your neighbor's? If it's yours, you could find a bushy but well-behaved vine to cover it so you won't see her mess.

Good luck-it will take a while to get it into shape, but you can really have fun; remember, Round-Up can be a good friend.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 3:57PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

too many pix.. to go back and forth.. over and over ... ID posts are best with only one or two plants per post.. with the pix showing right in the post itself.. there is usually an HTML code.. and if you paste it here where you type.. on preview.. if you see it we will ...

but i see a bunch of what i call weed trees and shrubs.. which i exterminate.. but never learned the name of ...

and i saw the mulberry also.. and it is a wreck of a plant.. on a small suburban lot [and if you can see your neighbor.. its a small lot.. lol]... i have a couple million seedlings per year.. if you want a babe or 10,000 ...

lets simplify it ... its a jungle.. get out the machete.. and go to town ... and right at the fence line.. you can cut at ground level.. and apply stump killer or 100% roundup to the cut.. to kill the roots .. some of the stuff just wont be worth digging out ...

i have a very large lot ... i have stumps everywhere.. use them to put a nice decorative pot on.. i dont believe in spending money on removing them ... unless you are very young.. and would like a massive workout ... if you have a chainsaw.. or a friend with one.. cut them flush tot he ground.. to make them appear to disappear ...

as to the other stuff ... cut to about 3 foot pieces.. strip them down.. and start digging ... using whats left as leverage.. to work them out as you dig ...

ignore the neighbors mess for now.. we can cover that with plants next year ...

what it boils down to.. is a lot of hard work ...

i would target building nice beds in late fall.. and in the mean time.. i would spend the rest of the summer.. digging it all out.. and creating that clean slate.. mentioned above ...

just go out every saturday and sunday morning.. and spend a few hours digging.. until you have stripped it bare ...

this is an issue of doing it right from the get go.. rather than hoping you might find a pearl in a pile of compost ... the hard work upfront .. will save you years of crabbin and whining about the problems you left behind .. trust me.. been there.. lived that ...

lets analogize.. you bought the house.. and presumably.. you painted.. cleaned.. carpeted.. etc.. to make your new castle.. lets do the same out here ...

ken

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 4:30PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

too many pix.. to go back and forth.. over and over ... ID posts are best with only one or two plants per post.. with the pix showing right in the post itself.. there is usually an HTML code.. and if you paste it here where you type.. on preview.. if you see it we will ...

but i see a bunch of what i call weed trees and shrubs.. which i exterminate.. but never learned the name of ...

and i saw the mulberry also.. and it is a wreck of a plant.. on a small suburban lot [and if you can see your neighbor.. its a small lot.. lol]... i have a couple million seedlings per year.. if you want a babe or 10,000 ...

lets simplify it ... its a jungle.. get out the machete.. and go to town ... and right at the fence line.. you can cut at ground level.. and apply stump killer or 100% roundup to the cut.. to kill the roots .. some of the stuff just wont be worth digging out ...

i have a very large lot ... i have stumps everywhere.. use them to put a nice decorative pot on.. i dont believe in spending money on removing them ... unless you are very young.. and would like a massive workout ... if you have a chainsaw.. or a friend with one.. cut them flush tot he ground.. to make them appear to disappear ...

as to the other stuff ... cut to about 3 foot pieces.. strip them down.. and start digging ... using whats left as leverage.. to work them out as you dig ...

ignore the neighbors mess for now.. we can cover that with plants next year ...

what it boils down to.. is a lot of hard work ...

i would target building nice beds in late fall.. and in the mean time.. i would spend the rest of the summer.. digging it all out.. and creating that clean slate.. mentioned above ...

just go out every saturday and sunday morning.. and spend a few hours digging.. until you have stripped it bare ...

this is an issue of doing it right from the get go.. rather than hoping you might find a pearl in a pile of compost ... the hard work upfront .. will save you years of crabbin and whining about the problems you left behind .. trust me.. been there.. lived that ...

lets analogize.. you bought the house.. and presumably.. you painted.. cleaned.. carpeted.. etc.. to make your new castle.. lets do the same out here ...

ken

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 4:31PM
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denninmi(8a)

The willow appears, by the foliage, to be a pussy willow, which might be worth keeping.

You also have a flowering quince in the mix, it is the shrub towards the end of the photo set with the reddish tint to the new growth. This one is the flowering quince:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/48139520@N00/7404308058/in/set-72157630199511386

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 6:15PM
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lisanti07028(z6NJ)

sorry about the double post - the website farted when I was posting.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 7:37PM
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Liz321(6 - Detroit Metro)

Thank you all for the help! I think I will keep the quince and dig out my large pruners and go to town on the rest of the mess.
denniinmi - where did you see the willow? If I could take the rest first and see what it looks like keeping the willow, I might want to try that.

I avoided chemicals last year because the pines were still nearby and I didn't want to harm them. Mother nature took care of that question and uprooted them during a winter storm. Now,I have no real reason to not do it. Is this a place that Roundup brush remover might work?

The stumps are all at ground level, except the one that would require removing the fence. I don't mind the stumps per se, but the crud that tries to regrow from them. I knew this would be a multi-year reclamation project when I undertook it. I got a heck of a deal on the house, haven't lost a dime even in the market nosedive and come from mecosta county farming stock, so I'm game. :) It might take me longer because of my physical limitations, but it will get done. Thanks for the willingness to deal with a noob.
Lizze

I'll work on shorter post, in text pix. in the future. I

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 7:40PM
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karinl(BC Z8)

If the area has a high water table, roundup may not be desirable - something about its effect on aquatic ecosystems.

I'm not convinced that is flowering quince but also don't know anything else with those roundish stem-leaves. If it is, be aware that it is an evil suckering plant with huge thorns, something to be eradicated with great glee and afterwards grown only in a container on a hard surface if you like the flowers.

If you cut off anything growing from a stump for a couple of years, they will die. We left willow stumps in place, and after two years and rigorous clipping of new growth, they have nothing left.

Neighbours can be complicated. I am not a lawyer but have had to read up a bit due to a situation I once had. You can make polite requests of neighbours, you can report them for infractions of bylaws, and finally you can take them to court in the event of real nuisance, which obviously won't improve relations. You can also make friendly offers, such as, "that tree is causing me a lot of problems, so if you would remove it and replace it with a more co-operative tree I would be happy to pay x proportion of the removal cost and buy a new tree..."

Before you take any action such as putting roundup on brush that originates from their property, it is good to try options like this and make sure they understand how frustrated you are and what options you feel you have, ideally by registered mail.

Karin L

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 8:48PM
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wisconsitom

Roundup or its generic equivalents are of no particular harm to the water table, unless that water table is sufficiently high that your feet are wet as you do the spraying. What I'm taking a lot of words to try to say is that regular glyphosate-the active ingredient-will be perfectly safe in this application.

What Karin alludes to is using regular Roundup (Or its generic equivalents) which contain surfactants-detergent-like substances which help it penetrate foliage cuticles-in direct proximity to waterways, including wetlands. For this, non-surfactant-containing versions are available. But you needn't concern yourself with that in this situation. It is these surfactants that can cause serious problems to aquatic ecosystems, not the glyphosate itself.

+oM

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 10:26PM
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Liz321(6 - Detroit Metro)

Karin, Thanks for the thoughts. I've talked to the side neighbor and he and I are on the same page with the overgrowth from the stump. The area is a big problem for us both because of the grading that was done by the neighbors decades ago. It is against code now, but they were grandfathered. His side of the fence was simply covered in stone because it floods. Odds are when the weed trees are gone, we will both have to modify the soil and add dirt.
Now sure what else to do, but that is another project.

I'm not too worried about the neighbor's big tree simply because it is getting to the size that the power company will force her to remove or substantially cut it back. The overgrowth and suckers however, are my problem.

As for roundup - the water table is very high, but given the copious amounts that another neighbor pours straight along her fence line, the small amount I paint on weed trees won't make much of an impact. She is 85 and goes out with huge jugs at 5 am to practice serious chemical warfare. She takes no prisoners and doesn't plan to stop after 30 years or so.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 10:30PM
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lisanti07028(z6NJ)

The willow is "tree one right corner fence" and also 120619-0013; the privet is 06151631.

Hopefully Ken will share his tricks about applying Round-Up without lots of fuss and bother; it involves a mustard bottle.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 10:46PM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

The other fellas have hit on many good points. My biggest advice is to get the soil grade right before planting. Then look up tree planting techniques.

120619_0019 might be a silver maple. Or at least something darned similar. To me they have value out away from houses where quick growth, interesting bark, subtle early spring flowers and and fall color are desirable. On the downside you will probably outlive the tree and they are prone to branch drop from maturity to death. There are better choices where they do not fit.

I think you have a good slate to work with there. Have fun!

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 10:56PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

oh lisa.. you ruined the surprise .. lol ...

get the very expensive applicator at the link ... remove product.. and for the $1.79 .... you have our permission to throw it away ...

fill with 100% round up or its cheaper generics [which is labeled as 41%]

cut ANYTHING to ground level ... and apply a bead of 100% to the cambian layer.. which is the thin green line inside the bark.. before the whitish wood ... consider the wood inside the cambian.. to be dead .. do not waste RU on it ... the cambain.. loosely speaking.. is the vascular system of the plant.. and will move the killer down into the roots ...

if per chance.. it resprouts .. cut sprouts.. and put one drop on each cut ...

i will yell... THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH WAFTING SPRAY ALL OVER THE NEIGHBORHOOD ... got that???

i would also recommend a good tree saw for about $15.. rather than lopping shears ... we could link you to such if you are interested ...

again.. do NOT spray large bushes ..

really now.. if you do it right.. 2 to 4 ounces of RU will do the whole yard .... if that ... its very minimal application.. and has nothing to do with ground water ...

and forget about the neighbor.. you mention them too often.. inside a couple years.. your new garden of eden will have removed them from sight.. and mind ....

and get rid of everything ...

if you want a pussywillow .. when you are all done and ready to plant .. go buy a named variety.. of some worth.. rather than some hedgerow piece of carp.. that a bird planted a decade ago ...

ken

Here is a link that might be useful: its the applicator not the brand name

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 8:39AM
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Liz321(6 - Detroit Metro)

HAAA! I already love you folks! Off to grab a cheap squeeze bottle and a machete perhaps. I have a tree saw, but it has seen far better days - as old as me I suspect - so if there is a particular one that is good, I'd gladly take the name.

I made a dent in the corner last night so today I can at least see how many trees I'm facing in that location.
Progress reports to follow!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 2:37PM
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denninmi(8a)

Liz321, the plant that looks to be a pussy willow is apparently growing at the base of the silver maple in this photo (the first one on your flickr page).

http://www.flickr.com/photos/48139520@N00/7404307588/in/set-72157630199511386

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 2:38PM
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