Overgrown Garden- tips or hints?
We recently decided to tackle a 40x100 ft section of our backyard that has been left to grow out of control. The house was built in 1926 and the previous owners stopped maintaining this section a long time ago. We've tried unsuccessfully a few times to tame it, but the shear amount of work involved was always overwhelming. I realize now we just have to suck it up and rip it all out.
From what I can tell, there is English ivy, virginia creeper, honey suckle, trumpet vine, HUGE patches on poison ivy, briars and a bunch of small locust trees. Maybe some kudzu vine too. It's hard to tell one thing from the next. There is a TON of brush to take down.
I am adverse to using chemicals, but after some reading and walking through the brush, I realized some chemical help was in order. Three days ago, I sprayed with Roundup poison ivy and then with Ortho tough brush killer right after using a nonionic surfactant with both. Some of the virginia creeper and honeysuckle is starting to wilt.
My sister suggested using some kind of ground clear, but that sounds too much like soil sterilant and I don't want to hurt the maple trees.
I plan to go in with a handheld brush cutter this coming weekend. I'll also be taking down all of the trees except for the two big maples. Most are small enough to cut with loppers. After we get most of it cleared out, we plan to go in and dig up as many roots as possible.
Ultimately we just want to have low growing ground cover with maybe some irises, ferns and old fashioned daylilies. No vines will be allowed to grow. The area ranges from almost complete shade (where the English ivy is most prevalent) to full southern sun (where everything else is growing).
We'll be digging up roots and battling this for a few years. But I'm hoping it we'll eventually conquer.
My questions about this project:
Am I using the brush cutter too soon? Should I allow the herbicide more time?
Should I use a pre emergent after we clear out all the brush?
How soon after pulling up the brush can I put down ground cover? Since the area is on a bit of a slope, I'm worried about erosion. I don't want grass, so I am planning on putting sedum, clover and maybe creeping Charlie up there once the area is cleared. Since these are pretty invasive lawn 'weeds,' I figure they'll have a fighting chance with the regrowing weeds.
Besides loppers, chain saw, brush cutter and shovel, are there any other tools I should have on hand?
Is there anything else I should be doing? Any tricks or hints people have found useful?
Thank you for any help.