Total kill/Restore of Backyard

gosar(z9 CA)July 27, 2005


Have lots of weeds/off-shoots of a big tree from the roots which was removed couple of years ago and these off-shoots

keep coming back every year...

Now i want a do a total wipe-off of the area (it is samll around 500 sq.ft). I want to remove everything from there ..and pile it up black plastic and then mulch.

Does anyone know whether there is any available "total Vegetation kill" kind of solution so that everything gets killed. I do not mind even if I cannot get anything to grow for a year or so after the total kill...if there is no organic solution to get rid of all the weeds/offshoots.

any other ideas ? I would not like to do a manual labor of diggin a half-foot to get rid of everything.

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If it were my 500 sq foot back yard I'd do this.

On Aug 13-14 I'd spray all the weeds with Miracle-Gro or another hose sprayed fertilizer. This will make the weeds happy and make them grow.

The next weekend I'd spray the weeds with Roundup according to the directions on the package. This will kill them roots and all. Maybe 4 days later spray Roundup 1 more time.

The last weekend on Aug rake up the dead weeds and trash 'em. Level out the lawn area and prep the area for seeding. Buy about 10 to 12 bags of compost and some grass seed that will grow where you live in CA. Make sure you have a hose and a sprinkler.

On Labor Day plant the grass seed, cover it with 1/4 inch of compost and water it in. Keep the area moist until you see those little grass shoots then water until they are growing.

You could try the plastic to smother the weeds but often they just grow back as the leaves fall off..but the roots are still alive. Getting 500 sqft of plastic and the stakes to hold it in place would be more money than a gallon jug of Roundup and a small yellow jug of Miracle-Gro liquid plant food.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2005 at 10:06PM
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njcher(Zone 6)

If it were my area, I'd use the "briquet" method of getting rid of the stump. Just dump your burning briquets in the middle of the stump until you eventually burn it out. Another method is to saw in a cross hatch fashion and then pry/split the tree stump apart with a crow bar.

As for the rest, I'd mow it down close to the ground and start putting mulch everywhere. I'd use free mulch: call some landscaper guys if you know any you can trust. Tell them you want clippings from lawns where no chemicals have been used. I'd also chop leaves and put them all over, too.

When you do eventually grow things in this area, you will have very rich soil. I once did this and grew cleome in the area. One of my cleomes was 8' tall and had a stem that was three inches thick.


p.s. be careful about Roundup--please read up on it before you use it. IMO it is a dangerous lawn and garden chemical.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2005 at 7:30AM
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What do you want to do with the area? Will it be lawn or will you do flower beds? If it is flower beds, I would use newspapers, under black plastic with mulch on top. That is what I did with a large lot that I turned into a flower area. Where I wanted to plant, I would just cut an 'x', dig a hole and plant whatever I wanted. Eventually some things will come through the plastic and mulch, and some weed seeds will blow onto the mulch, but they are a lot easier to pull than to worry about the whole area. Right now since it has been several years since I did this and Pensacola has had 2 tropical storms and 2 hurricanes since last September, now I am having a lot of weed problems since the storms washed and blew away the mulch and the black plastic is full of holes from the limbs down and the sun has caused it to fall apart. Storms also blew in a bunch of weed seeds. This Fall I will have to replenish the plastic in some areas. Some folks use cardboard instead of the newspapers.
I also did this behind our cabin in Indiana, where there was heavy clay and wild raspberry bushes. It worked there too.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2005 at 5:37PM
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bruggirl100(z9 FL)

If you use black plastic, make sure you poke holes in it to allow water to get through. A lot of people use cardboard.

There are "total kill" things you can buy, but I wouldn't recommend them, because they are soil sterilants, and you can't plant anything in that soil for at least a year.

To kill the stump, drill several holes and fill with full strength stump killer. That will kill the roots and keep those shoots from coming up.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2005 at 4:47PM
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gosar(z9 CA)

Thanks for all the replies...

I think i need to update you more on this...

The area is my backyard which is "C" shaped from the concrete towards the fence...This area has not been used for sometime and in the meanwhile whole lot of weeds have come out along with the of-shoots of a pre-existing tree which was cut..Hence i just want to clean-it up and let is stay as is till i decide what to do with it...At least for next year or so i am not going to grow anything there...maybe some flowers later on but no-lawn...

Also by saying "black plastic" I meant the "Black Landsacping Fabric" or the "Weed Fabric" which you get in the stores..sorry for my wrong choice of words...

    Bookmark   August 4, 2005 at 4:59PM
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Gosar, I MEANT 'black plastic' in my post,LOL. Don't use clear plastic, because it only acts like a 'greenhouse' for the weeds.
Bruggirl, I only poke holes in mine, after a rain and I can see where the depressions that collect water are. Everywhere you poke a hole, a weed is likely to come up.
The landscaping fabric has never worked for me. Nut grass, dewberry vines, and other things just come through like it wasn't there. Anywhere I cut an 'x' for planting a plant, I pull up the edges of the plastic and put folded newspapers around the plant,(leaving about 2 inches of dirt around the plant) because it prevents weeds, as well as holding moisture.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2005 at 11:01AM
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drasaid(zone 8)

In fact, I'd overdo it, layer and layer---paper mache' the place. Then, dump grass cuttings and coffee grinds (I bet you can get some free) and other organics on it; then poke holes when you want to plant things.
Black plastic will kill what's under it, but you may get mosquitos from puddles in it.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2005 at 8:31PM
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frog_ladyofTX(z8 TX)

when I have a large area I want to kill I use 20% vinegar and clear plastic. I buy the cheap plastic painter's drop cloths (couple of bucks or so). On a bright sunny day spray the area down with the vinegar, cover with the plastic, put rocks or dirt or something around the edges of the drop cloth to hold it in place. 9% vinegar will work too, just a takes a little longer. After a few days just cover the area with 5-6" of mulch (remove the plastic 1st). It won't stop the old tree, but everything else is history and your dirt is now amended. I'd try the stump killer on the old tree even tho I HATE chemicals.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2005 at 6:54PM
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