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How do I do this?

Posted by Kerazhen NJ (My Page) on
Tue, Jun 14, 11 at 9:30


I am buying this house as is, and I'd like to attempt to clean it up as much as possible myself. It's now a little bit more outgrown than the pictures show. I will be doing the work mostly by myself and don't have access to heavy artillery. What's the best way to attack this monster?
I'd just like to plant prairie grass. More detailed work will be done next year when it's not so late in the year already and when I have it in the budget. It's facing north so my options are more limited, but at least I want it clean and clear and safe for my kid to play in.

Thank you very much!!

Here is a link that might be useful: views of the garden

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: How do I do this?

Is the photo of the house the street side, or the backyard?

First, examine what's growing there. Poison ivy or sumac? Thorny brambles? Multiflora rose? Do you see the same plant growing everywhere, trying to take over? Get rid of the bad stuff.

What are the trees (large and small)? The shrubs? Decide which areas must be grass and which trees and shrubs you wouldn't mind keeping if they turn out to be good varieties. It may be helpful to make a diagram of the yard.

If you're not certain what you have, take a close-up photo with a clear view of at least one leaf, as well as where the leaf attaches to the branch and whether the leaves are alternate or opposite (flowers and fruit as well, where possible). If it's a tree, a good shot of the bark on the trunk can be helpful. Post the photos on the Name That Plant forum. If you post multiple threads, make sure they have different titles. If you post multiple plants on one thread, it's helpful to separate the photos; if you number the photos or have text, be clear which numbers/text relate to which photo(s).

RE: How do I do this?

You have three options: mechanical, chemical, or manual. Mechanical equipment can be rented. But if you want to be successful, you must understand two things. One is the behaviour of the weeds you have, and the other is the behaviour of the weed seeds lurking in the soil.

This is quite aside from whether they are poisonous.

The weeds that you have may be spreading by root or by seed. If they are spreading by root, you have to get every bit of root out of the soil. If they spread by seed, you need only pull the weed itself and make sure no further seeds sprout. This can be done with mulch or some other sort of covering, even newspaper or cardboard, until your new grass grows in.


RE: How do I do this?

What I would do is to cut back the small stuff to ground level. Then the next time the lawn gets mowed, that section gets mowed also. Then do another section, and mow it. Eventually, the whole thing is cleared out, and none of it has regrown. It will end up covered with lawn weeds, but compared to the woody brush, those are harmless.

There is the possibility that the underlying land is too rough to mow and that is why it became overgrown in the first place. Unless the entire lawn was abandoned? If that was the case, then clearing out the scrub will accomplish a great deal.

RE: How do I do this?

Both pictures are of the backyard.

It doesn't appear that there is any lawn under the brush.
The property has been vacant/unattended for over 6 months, and what's been going on beforehand with it cannot be found out (no surviving relatives to tell).

Would it be stupid to clear and plant the lawn as I go, by sections, rather than wait until it's cleared up entirely?
I have a good idea of how I want to dedicate the yard. For example, the SW quarter is where the swing set will go. I'd like it to be ready first so my kid can actually join me outside and enjoy the summer while I work on cleaning the rest of the yard.

Thank you again!

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