Converting weedy lawn to shrubs

loribee2(CA 9)April 26, 2011

I've been reading a lot of threads on this subject and am wondering how the fine folks here would go about this.

I'm trying to get rid of the lawn in my back yard. It will end up all shrubs and trees. However, I'm not ready to plant all the shrubs. In some cases, I need to give a couple trees some time to grow before I plant the shade-loving shrubs around them (right now it's in full sun). In other cases, I simply can't decide what I want to plant and would like to take my time.

What I AM sure of is the outline of the beds, and that I'd like to get them covered with something so that I can stop mowing.

I've been reading about lasagna gardening as an easy way to cover the area and prevent new weed growth, but I think I'm running into a snag. It seems to kill the underlying weeds/grass I need to lay down a solid foot or so of cardboard/mulch, etc. Problem with that is I've got trees already planted at grass level in areas I want to convert to shrubs. Thus, I can't build up the soil that high around them.

I'm curious to know how any of you tackle this situation. Do you think I'd have a fair amount of success if I weed whacked the area down to the soil, laid down cardboard/newspaper then covered with 2-3" of compost? Any alternatives?

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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

Remember, with lasagna composting, all that material eventually breaks down to just a few inches. You can continue to lay rows of material down to mulch, just keep a circle clear around the trunk of your trees, and you can even lay some bark mulch down to make it a bit more attractive. Just remember with any mulch, to keep it a little bit away from the trunk of your trees. The grass will break down faster if you scalp it and leave the grass clippings there, and just lay down a brown layer of mulch (like shredded newspaper), and then continue the layering.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2011 at 6:56PM
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calistoga_al

Remember that the feeder roots for your trees are at and beyond the drip line. Do not lay anything on the soil that will preclude the air needed for the roots or you could damage your trees. I lost a couple of established trees in just this way. Al

    Bookmark   April 27, 2011 at 9:19AM
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loribee2(CA 9)

Thanks much Al and Patty! That's exactly what I'll do. I hadn't thought about the height sinking over time (duh!). And thanks for the caution about the trees.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2011 at 10:10AM
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