Should I mulch the wooded back lot or do something else?

agurkas(5)June 16, 2014

Just bought a place in a town close to Boston. Love the 1 acre we got, but 1/3 of it is wooded and looks like previous owners did zero to maintain it. Walking into that area gets you covered by ticks and I assume it is prime area for mosquito breeding too.
I have a toddler and I am sure she may run in there while she catches me off-guard, because little lady is fast.

So I need to clean it up. Saplings I can take out. I did find some poison ivy vines going up two trees, so that will be battle on it's own.

Torn between covering large area with either needle or pine bark mulch. Or maybe there is some ground covering I could seed/plant that would make the area more walkable and less of a mess. Open to all suggestions but keeping it the way it is.

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Heh...I'd keep it the way it is, at least until such a time as I've managed to learn what I've got there. For example, you mention removing saplings. I ask, why? Do you not want regeneration of this patch of forest to procede? And what species are these saplings? Box elder? Buckthorn? Then yes, remove with extreme prejudice. But if high-value (For whatever criteria) species, why take out the next generation?

Then too, the ground layer vegetation is apt to surprise you-if you let it. Where I live, spring ephemerals can be simply amazing. The same is true in your neck of the woods. Why not at least see what you have there before setting out to change it into yet another "mulch desert"? I like mulch-have for decades-but in and of itself, it is no landscape. For that you need plants.

Poison ivy? What would result if your child was able to learn-actually learn-what this plant looks like? What if your child actually got exposed to poison ivy once or twice. Would the world end ? Your world?

Sorry, I'm always puzzled by folks that purchase wooded property while seeming to have no interest in or liking for same.


    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 8:27AM
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junco East Georgia zone 8a(zone 8a)

Maybe you could clear some paths and pine straw them to make it safer to walk in there. A fence separating the two areas of the property would help contain your child and could look charming as well. I'm with wisconsitom--take the opportunity to observe and learn about what you have there.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 12:30PM
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junco, that might be one way to approach it. Might do like a perimeter walk and then slowly clean my way inside. There is a clearing area where bunch of old trees had to be removed for whatever reason. Strongly considering putting a greenhouse there and a vegetable garden.

wisconsitom, next time, just move on to another thread. I asked for advice, not judgment.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 6:33PM
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mikebotann(8a SE of Seattle)

I thought what +om said was right on.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 7:32AM
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I wasn't aware that you moderated this forum, agurkas. In any case, what I suggest is meant in good faith, and if you stop to think about it instead of reaching for the immediate emotional response, you will find merit in what I suggest.

Or, just thrash around thoughtlessly. Why try to learn anything?


    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 9:24AM
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Let me put it for you this way: you may have good information, but your delivery is like putting a cup of manure in a barrel of honey. There are better ways to deliver a message. Yours is not it.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 12:11PM
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dekeoboe(7B NC)

What would be the purpose of the mulch? It won't keep things from growing or prevent the ticks. Why do you think it is a prime area for mosquito breeding? Do you have standing water?

I am wondering what you end goal is here. The forest is going to keep trying to grow back. How much do you want non-forest, and what do you want to have there instead? It is not going to be an easy process. I too live in the middle of the woods and it can be very difficult to keep the forest from reseeding right up to the house.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 8:17PM
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I got what I needed from other threads. Thanks.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 8:22PM
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You can do both. Plant native ferns and Mayapple then cover with mulch...the ferns will have no trouble growing through pine mulch.

It is generally a good idea to wait a year after acquiring property before doing major clearing, so you can see what has pretty flowers.

Unfortunately, the nature of the internet is that you will get opinions you don't agree with.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 8:00AM
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And to be clear, agurkas-who has likely moved on from this thread-has every right to do as he/she wishes with his/her private property. And too, my wrath at the wanton destruction of wooded land going on all across this county gets me very upset, not just here on this forum. So sure, maybe I let some of my own emotions through in my initial response. But the thing is, I'm not mad at, nor do I dislike agurkas. We don't know each other. But I do, and always will, dislike when folks take actions without what is in my opinion sufficient forsight and without what I consider sufficient respect for the resource. Other than that, it's a free country!

I agree that mulching can coexist with plants like ferns, mayapple, etc, and also that whether mulched or not, nature is going to come roaring back here in one guise or another, be it really fine native woodland species, or invasive junk. Something's going to want to grow there. A mulch/non-selective herbicide regimen could keep areas cleared, if that interested you. But yes, most perennial woodland species quite easily break through mulch layers, unless these layers are extraordinarily thick, which I would not recommend.


    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 8:53AM
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