New lot has invasive plants

dottyinduncan(z8b coastal BC)January 14, 2014

My daughter and husband have bought a sea-front lot that has many thugs growing on it. Ivy has trunks 8 inches in diameter, both side boundaries have huge, overgrown laurel hedges, blackberries, daphne, you name it, they've got it. They are going to remove what they can when the bulldozer comes but any suggestions, especially about the laurel and the ivy would be appreciated. They also have to have a landscaping plan to give to the planning department and I suggested hybrid mahonia along the seafront but now I worry that they may be introducing another thug that will grow too tall and impede their view. They are putting a retaining wall in with steps to the beach and I hope the biggest ivy stumps can be rooted out while this site is being prepared. They both work at pressure jobs and don't enjoy gardening so need everything to be easy-care. I'd appreciate any thoughts, suggestions or?? to pass along to them. And since we live in Canada, there are a whole lot of restrictions on herbicides that we are allowed to use.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Remove the roots and re-infestation can only come from seedlings, which are easy to remove when small. There won't be any way to avoid all future property maintenance unless they hire it all out.

Especially since it is waterfront if it is like here the authorities will probably require permits before anything major such as walls is undertaken. The couple will definitely want to have all their ducks in a row before investing in site alterations of much size as otherwise they could be shut down or fined if a neighbor alerts any concerned regulatory agencies.

A movie actor bought a local waterfront residential property and had a long, high pier out into the salt water partly finished when a complaint from a neighbor brought it to the attention of the state. State agents ordered him to discontinue all work and to in addition not remove it as it was built on pilings that had been drilled into the bottom, and they did not want any additional agitation of polluted bottom sediments.

It would not surprise me if some fines were assessed as well.

He sold out and moved back to Hollywood.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 2:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
George Three LLC

the biggest expense of big earth moving equipment is getting the machine to site and operated. tacking on another job is marginally very cheap. if the lot would benefit from some new grading, this is most likely the best option. but still, after that site is cleared, it will have to have some final human leveling, some new topsoil or compost brought in and spread. and they will be left with disturbed soil that might be prone to erosion, may not take plants well. etc.

sometimes just hiring one knowledgeable gardener with a bunch of day labor is the best way. you can get very strong people to put in a good 8 hour day at $100-$150. arm them with mattocks/shovels/etc that are very cheap to rent. you'll need a big truck or dumpster to haul, but again, i would not be surprised if the total cost would be low compared to the heavy machinery option. although i would factor in another day of that in 6 months to take out stuff that they missed.

or what the heck, if they are getting a loan on their new construction just hire it all out! there are plenty of people that would love the work.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 4:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
dottyinduncan(z8b coastal BC)

I appreciate your answers. Yes, bboy, they are getting proper permits and have talked to the neighbours who are all happy that they are planning to get rid of the invasive plants. Of course when they are excavating for the new home they will have big machinery there and that's when they should try to pull roots out. I hope that they spend the money necessary to get as many roots out as possible. It has been really eye-opening for them that when they first took possession of the property they went out and cut down as much ivy and laurel as they could and where the ivy is still down, the laurel has regrown with vigor. They are young enough to not mind hard work but I'm worried that they will get really discouraged with the horrible invasives. The lot is lovely, gradually sloped to the water but it is only 53 feet wide so when the house is built access to the waterfront will be quite limited and they can't let the laurel hedges grow too much.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 2:04AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

With those kinds of weeds, I don't think it's unreasonable to use heavy machinery to dig out the laurel stumps, and as much of the ivy as you can. I doubt seriously unless they simply remove all the topsoil from where the ivy is you will get it all, and it will regenerate from small pieces, but that might be the best way to at least start with as clean a slate as you can.

On the other hand, I have to admit that especially if you have the time to go the manual labor route, that is a much better option soil wise. Heavy machinery will in effect compact the subsoil down to hardpan in many places, but especially in the tracks where they go back and forth the most. This has a number of often all too hidden consequances later on- odd pot holes and unseen pans or lenses where water can collect and literally rot the roots out from under newly planted trees and shrubs, weird run off issues that are often unseen underground until they become a minor problem, and of course, if the new topsoil is significantly richer than the subsoil, the very real possibility that the two won't mix well, ever. Especially if you have the heavy clay like silt so much of the NW is blessed with. Sand in this case would actually be better, as it won't compact easily under the machinery, and will mix quickly and easily with the highly organic topsoils usually used for large scale landscaping like this.

Whichever is the case, make sure you get competent, fully licensed people to oversee this, cause especially on the water like that, people will be watching, and doing it wrong the first time will cost you even more than hiring someone who knows what they are doing, and can do it right.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 2:29AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Just a thought for consideration.....

If ivy is planted as a groundcover on a seaside slope, it is often preferrable to leave in place rather than to remove and potentially disturb the slope. Yeah, we all know ivy is a serious thug but if properly managed/contained, in situations like this it can be more helpful to leave than replace.

In fact, if you are dealing with a slope at all it may be advisable to bring in a soils engineer to evaluate and make recommendations. Beachfront slope subsidence is becoming a serious issue in many areas of the PNW.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 2:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

>In fact, if you are dealing with a slope at all it may be advisable to bring in a soils engineer to evaluate and make recommendations. Beachfront slope subsidence is becoming a serious issue in many areas of the PNWDing! And they need a contractor that is not going to run roughshod over the site, is attuned to its specific limitations.

This post was edited by bboy on Wed, Jan 15, 14 at 16:11

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 2:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mikebotann(8a SE of Seattle)

GardenGal says,"In fact, if you are dealing with a slope at all it may be advisable to bring in a soils engineer to evaluate and make recommendations. Beachfront slope subsidence is becoming a serious issue in many areas of the PNW"
Yeah, just ask Burlington Northern RR between Everett and Seattle.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 2:03AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Problem is houses being built on top of blue clay layers which liquify beneath their weight under certain weather conditions, resulting in them becoming mobile homes - or in the possible worst case scenario, house boats.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 12:56PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
One month early bolssom - Apricot
PNW (8A) Due to warm winter my 5 year old Tomcot Apricot...
OK to plant garlic in February in Portland, OR?
Would it make sense to plant garlic in February in...
Re:Anyone growing citrus in PNW
Hi everyone, I have an indoor tangerine plant for 4-5...
What seeds r u planting now this early warm spring?
My arugula is up fine but carrots havent germinated...
evergreens for by gate
I have a couple of Columnar Dwarf Siberian Dogwood...
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™