How to keep a clearing clear?

jenva2010June 5, 2012

Two-thirds of our backyard is woods. When we bought the house, there was a small clearing in the woods -- no bushes or plants, just a few saplings. We knew we'd eventually want the clearing to be completely clear, so 3 years ago when we had some other tree work done, we had the tree guys take out the saplings as well.

Well, I guess the guys and equipment disturbed the many years of dead leaves that had presumably kept down the growth. Because now that "clearing" is full of plants, bushes, more saplings, etc. We haven't attacked it yet, because I don't know what to do to keep it from growing back. We wanted it clear to create a spot for our kids to play (either an open area or a swingset), so I can't just spray chemicals back there. Is there any child-safe, environmentally friendly way to suppress regrowth? (And does anyone have any suggestions of how to clear out what's already there?)

Thanks!

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adidas(6/7)

I'm on the opposite side of the fence...I'm trying to encourage the forest to regrow! What has stopped regrowth of the forest in certain areas is grass. Not sure if this is what you're looking for though. I guess small amts of herbicide applied carefully might work but short of that...good luck! I find the more you cut the more likely you are to get weedy species....there'll always be something waiting to seed itself!

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 4:02PM
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ldy_gardenermd(7)

Heavy leaf matter or wood chips, perhaps call the local tree trimming company and ask for a truck load?

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 5:38PM
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kaliaman

mow it down (either do it yourself or have someone come in with a tractor mower to do the job) and keep it mowed. it'll take some time to discourage all the natives that want to come in.... nature wants to fill empty spaces

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 10:11AM
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oliveoyl3

Rental companies have a brush hog, walk behind brush mower with sharp blades

Wear good gloves, long pants & sleeves, heavy boots, hearing protection & be prepared to hold on tightly. It's a workout!

If you don't mulch the underbrush returns. Done it a few times to an area we're reclaiming as garden space along the driveway. Woods are tough!

    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 12:54PM
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kbutterfly2

We have a similar situation in our backyard. We have just rented 30 goats to be delivered some time this week. The cost to clear is much cheaper than hiring humans and there is the added benefit of not having all that weedy debris to dispose of afterwards.

The goat herd installs a temporary electric fence to keep the goats contained while they're clearing.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 10:20PM
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cearbhaill

Elbow grease.
Pure, simple manual labor.

There's an upside- you can drop that gym membership.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 4:09PM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

Hand dig the saplings, mow everything, and in the fall, confiscate as many bags of leaves from the side of the road as you can find/transport. Dump those in the clearing and spread them. The thicker the layer of mulch, the better your weed suppression will be. Good luck.

Martha

    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 7:56AM
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