Groundcover roses

katrina1(OK)June 2, 2005

there is a corner of my yard that children rudely cut through as they walk to and home from school, or during after school activities. Some of them are so inconsiderate that they even cut across that corner of my yard when they are riding their bike.

I have nicely requested they instead please use the sidewalk, which request they now only comply with if they see me in the yard when they pass by.

Now I am resolved to make that corner more of a problem for them to cut through than they would encounter just using the sidewalk.

I plan to install some strategically placed rocks and either plant some Yuccas or groundcover roses. My question is "are there simple ways to keep the Bermuda grass out of this large corner bed?" Or is installing a labor intensive 12 - 18 inch deep root barrier the only solution?

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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

Hi Katrina,

I don't have any experience with Bermuda grass, but when it comes to keeping the kids out, why don't you consider some of the hardy cacti? They'll look great with your rocks, they'll keep kids and animals out, and they are absolutely spectacular when they bloom.

Good luck,

    Bookmark   June 3, 2005 at 6:39PM
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gabehart(5a OH)

Bermuda grass will always be a problem but minimalize it with heavy mulch or hardware cloth.
Have fun and make a news garden with multiple uses!

    Bookmark   June 4, 2005 at 7:58AM
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Thanks for the responses. Skybird, I think a rock garden with cactus would most likely be the best idea, My young 'New Dawn' climbing rose growing in that area could be easily relocated.

If I lay down several layers of cardboard over the bermuda, cover the cardboard with two inches of river rock and cover that with 6 inches of sand mixed with 2 inches of compost.

That would give me a depth of 10 inches above the cardboard. Will that be deep enough for the cactus roots?

since not many people have responded to my first question, maybe I should also seek an answer to this follow-up question from the succulant forum.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2005 at 7:10PM
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I can't help with the Bermuda grass question because luckily (!) I don't know what it is, but I can tell you that I have 2 Sea Foam rose shrubs growing in my front yard that work beautifully as ground cover. I pegged some of the longer canes by using a landscape staple to anchor them horizontally to the ground, like spokes in a wheel, and the blooms cover the length of the canes.

The blooms are white with something of a pale pink blush and the leaves are small, dark and shiny. I am not a spray, fuss, weed or feed type of gardener and these are perfect for me. Vigorous, attractive and low maintenance!

    Bookmark   June 15, 2005 at 11:07AM
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That sounds worth all the work getting rid of the Bermuda

The Sea Foam roses descripton sounds amazing and almost better than some of groundcover roses.

Thanks, I will search out that rose.

I have been researching the cacti information, and have decided that my clay soil base will need too high of raised sandy bed to grow cacti. In addition the humid climate here most like would give any cacti I plant fits.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2005 at 4:54PM
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endora(Denver, CO)

Have you tried bear traps or poisoned candy or maybe just a ferocius dog with barb wire. We are talking about getting rid of them right? I don't think I've ever heard children discussed like a "pest" to be dealt with. I'm sure they are ruining your perfect lawn; but in the grand scheme of things so what. It's just grass and flowers. You're right they are tresspassing and they are being distructive and inconsiderate; and instead of teaching them respect you are getting even. You did say thorns and rocks , right? Instead of a barrier have you thought about making a path for them. I imagine not.
Obviosly , you can do whatever you want. Just remember that you are making the memories of their childhoods.
Everyone remembers the mean neighbors house.
In the future this type of post should go in the morality forum.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2005 at 11:25AM
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Endora, I do not look at it as getting even, I want it to be a a place they do not want to go instead of a place where they feel rewarded for going.

If it was an area I could put up a fence that would be simple, but that is not the case since it is on the front corner of my lot that has two streets which intersect A fence high enough to take care of the problem would cause problems for drivers turning the corner, and for all them and us trying to get out of our driveways safely.

Yes I do see how the intent could be viewed as you described, but I do not believe that is the intent even if I feel dismayed at the destruction. In other words, I see it as me putting forth an attempt to establish boundries with them in a manner that motivates their want, or gives them a reason, to choose change rather than a cruel game of my trying to control their actions.

I do not see how this action will abuses them. There are many other places around where they can play, and my motivating them to take just a few steps more to walk on the sidewalk around the corner does not seem to be an abusive consequence for them.

You do bring up a valid point, that makes me realize how carefull I will need to be to make this change seem reasonable to all.


    Bookmark   June 19, 2005 at 1:07PM
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endora(Denver, CO)

Well I was obviously being sarcastic- but I do believe that we all have community obligations to keep out yards safe for people that might happen into them; especially children. Kids are really clumsy and I know if it was me I would feel horrible if a kid got hurt by something I planted; especially so If I had intentionally put something dangerous in the path. I really don't think that children will feel rewarded by a path but unless you plant the whole corner than they will just wind up going around it anyway. Perhaps a raised bed would impede traffic more without being dangerous.

You remind me of a house I once saw for sale.
Beautiful 3 bed 2 bath large yard- no pets, no kids. It sounded really nice but it seemed joyless.
You won the battle- putting up metal and thorns. I'm sure your yard is great- too bad many people don't get to see it anymore.
Life is too short. I would rather see children picking flowers in my yard than a fence or metal bars, and if that meant I had to plant double than I would. But thats just me.


    Bookmark   June 19, 2005 at 5:33PM
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vetivert8(NI-NZ zone 9a)

Would a low fence, perhaps curved, help? With the corner covered in deep gravel so the area doesn't become an unsightly mud puddle.

I am surprised that children are riding bikes on the footpath at all. For someone coming out of their driveway in a vehicle it could be very hard to stop in time to avoid a youngster riding on the footpath.

IMHO if a child is old enough to ride a bike that child is old enough to follow the road code.

Perhaps it is old-fashioned to lay down groundrules. However, if anyone, regardless of age, wants something from my garden they have only to ask. If they don't ask and take it, they are thieving. If they're too young to know better then whoever is giving them care has the responsibility to show the way of being mannerly. It doesn't have to be harsh or restrictive, but it does need to have regard for the rights of others.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2005 at 4:37AM
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I occasionally have that problem; but have chosen to ignore it. I don't mind a kid cutting across the lawn; but I do mind if they leave trash on the lawn. For the most part nothing really bad happens except I am resolved to go out and check for trash once or twice each week. Maybe I'll hire some birds to eat their bread crumbs so they can't find their way home.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2005 at 9:43AM
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Yes, I also find lots of trash the children leave in my yard. Even the ones who stay on the sidewalk drop trash in my yard at whatever place they happen to be when they finsh the candy, drink, or breakfast item the are eating as they walk to school.

Good thing now that Summer is here, the quantity of chldren walking past and causing the problem behaviors has decreased by nearly 50 percent.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2005 at 3:28AM
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I can see both sides; one question is, are they actually wearing a path in the lawn, and/or is the amount of traffic such that it is likely to do so? I'd hate to think that walking on someone else's grass on foot or bike occasionally is rude; I don't feel that territorial myself. But if there is a lot of daily traffic and noticeable wear and tear, that's something else. The problem as noted before is that depending on how you would "plant" the corner, people could still cut inside of that.

You don't need to feel bad about thinking about your property and "boundaries" ; just think a little more about the pros & cons, the ability of different types of plantings to send different messages (and get different and perhaps unintended results)--"beauty" vs. "keep out"-- and you'll come up with something .

    Bookmark   June 22, 2005 at 9:27AM
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It is not an occasional one or two people walking across my yard. It is a daily cut across of at least 10 children and their friends, going to school each morning and coming home. Then after arriving home from school many of the same children do it again when they go to play at a friends house after school and come home again. The constant traffic hard packs the ground. Which makes that area difficult to dig, or to punch holes in for the grass and tree roots to access any absorbed moisture, supplied minerals or nutrients, and also deprives the roots, of anything attempting to grow, their needed oxygen.

Earth worms are never found in the dirt in that area. Any compost applied to the top just gets packed and trampled into a layer that cannot be worked down into the hard pack. Nutrients leached from the compost by rain or even slow soaking just runs off.

Franke, for nine months of the year the described activity happens repeatively not occasionally. Only from early June through mid August does the described activity decrease to occasional occurances.

This is not a what if or what's about to happen problem.
But thanks for all the comments, because each of the response either seemily positive, or negative have helped me in selecting the better choice of action.

I have chosen to cut down the corner spit rail fence, and tie the White New Dawn rose to a corner trellis that will be installed, then extending from the ends of each side of the corner trellis I plan on installing rows of Dwarf Yaupon 'Nana' holly shrubs. Inside of the triangle this will create, which also comprises the area that is cut across by foot and bike traffic, I plan on arranging rocks in a random pattern and between those rocks to plant a variety of the suggested roses, which will stay under 4 feet tall and will spread wider than they grow tall. Even the Fairy ground cover rose might be one cultivar which will be included.

I am still open to considering any other suggestion one cares to offer.

Once again thanks to all.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2005 at 10:18PM
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I think it is fine to create a deterrent. With proper planning and execution your area can also look attractive and not just functional--therefore speak "this is my garden" not just "keep off". Also, as noted in your original post, there is an alternative road and sidewalk that are perfectly usable, and so while it is just human nature to take shortcuts when we can, "no children or animals will be harmed in this venture". Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 23, 2005 at 6:10PM
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lindac(Iowa Z 5/4)

I would welcome children cutting across a corner of my lawn!....For years my yard was the path to school.....both grade school and Highschool. They walked through Marlene's garage ( she always left the door up until after school time) down their back yard, across June's yard, up thouugh mine, through the archway and down the drive a bit and across the front lawn. I enjoyed the parade! Often waved from the kitchen as they passed through. Alas....some poeple built a huge 10 foot fence where Marlene lived.....and the kids all have grown up.
No matter what you do it won't help. You have established yourself as the "neighborhood Meanie" and they will go out of their way to ruin whatever you put up.
Relax....they will grow up, they are walking across your grass....not painting swastikas on your garage or egging your house.
Just wondering....did you ever have children?
Linda C.....grandma to 7....and a gardener

    Bookmark   June 23, 2005 at 7:19PM
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For years I have had children in the neighborhood and through the years only a few have cut through the yard. They never were a problem. They did not trash up the yard, tear up my shrubs or ride bikes constistantly across the same area of the yard.

Those children grew up and moved away. This is now about the third new crop of children and an extra home daycare next door that contributes to the greater number whose activity in my opinion goes beyond children being just children.

Currently there are 3 houses of long time residents within view of my home, which have for sale signs in their yards only, because the owners are fed up with similar and sometimes worse problems these same children are also causing them. So please do not try to tell me that the destructive behavior is a normal "children being children" problem.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2005 at 1:28AM
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I just read all of the posts and had to add my 2 cents here. First, I thought nothing killed Bermuda grass, at least that is what I have observed. Second, if they have ruined your grass then do what I did. I invited all of my "problem" kids to pick out some plants that I bought these was thier plants to take care of. We all garden together now. After weeding and garden chores they come to the porch for cookies and lemonade. They are very protective of their lovely little garden now. My corner is planted and cared for. The kids respect me and my property and they all seem to be having a good time. Not only do they have their own little corner but they love working in the rest of my gardens too. They are getting bit by the gardening bug and learning a lot in the process. AND I have found 7 more friends that bring a lot to my life. It was a win/win solution.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2005 at 12:53AM
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daybreaker(z5 MI)

I have young children, and if they were daily cutting through someone's yard, especially on bikes, I would tell them to use the sidewalk. That is just plain common courtesy. If people don't mind their grass and plants getting killed that's fine. Doesn't make the one that wants a nice living yard an "old meany". Kids should be taught to have a healthy respect for others property.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2005 at 6:38PM
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I heartily agree with daybreaker. You're not laying bear traps or land mines, just gently encouraging children to think abut what they do. How is that being "mean"?

The split rail fence idea sounds nice, especially with the cultivars ytour thinking of. The roses will look wonderful! I've seen folks with similar situations put a fence on just the corner, maybe 5-6' on either side. You get the visual impression of a boundary, but your yard isn't actually enclosed and doesn't feel limited. In one case, it was a formal white fence, which gave the whole yard a nice formal feel, while still feeling open.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2005 at 1:23PM
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littlekinder(z8 DFW Tx)

Good Grief! The question was regarding plants and gardening, not how kids should be raised! If you read the original post, Katrina has politely asked them to stop.

So you need something that will be up and growing during the school year - that is something to consider. Nandina is pretty. You might put a birdbath in there somewhere, too... another attractive barrier.

The only reason I posted to this was to say I HATE my groundcover roses and want to remove them as soon as I can get around to it. But it sounds like you have roses in mind that you are happy with. Mine just get too tall and leggy and don't bloom enough.

The New to Gardening forum should feel like a comfortable place where questions about gardening are answered. Everyone has strong opinions about kids, myself included (two teenagers, Lord help me). No one has all the answers about kids, but gardening is (somewhat!) easier. At least plants don't talk back!

    Bookmark   June 29, 2005 at 6:55PM
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littlekinder(z8 DFW Tx)

Oops forgot which forum I was on! Guess I need to be on Gardening for the Senile.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2005 at 10:50AM
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daybreaker(z5 MI)

littlekinder - Not trying to tell people how to raise their children, just standing up for a fellow gardener that seems to be getting bashed for wanting a nice looking yard.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2005 at 9:47AM
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