keeping back yard woods under control

kshimpiAugust 16, 2009

After 13 years of letting our wooded back yard just "be," we are working on making it more usable. We had a landscaper help us clear out all the small trees, larger logs that had fallen during hurricanes, vines, weeds, etc. It has been a month since we cleared things out, and the smaller trees and vines are starting to grow back. So, we are not sure how to maintain what we cut back (I tried weed killer, no luck). We will landscape a lot of the area around the newly installed swimming pool, but not sure what to do with the natural wooded area.... do not think grass will grow there, maybe a blanket of leaves will make the area look nicer, but what to do with the re-growth? Would a quality gas operated trimmer keep things cut back?

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

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We have 2 acres. Most of it is heavily wooded. From the grass line back you could not see through to the street, the scrub was so think. We cleared as you described in and around 100 year old burr oak and quacking aspen. We then raised the canopy to 10 feet,15 feet into the "woods", all around our yard. It took several years as we did it all ourselves. I planted an extensive shade garden. I spend my leisure time pulling tiny saplings and new vines,weeds from my gardens. It takes me just a few hours a week. I enjoy it. The hard work of clearing and planting is all done. The rest gets a going over every other year or so with a gas powered weed wacker, one with a blade on it. There is nothing that will keep the trees from coming back. Between birds and seeds blowing in, new growth is constantly being introduced. 10 years ago when we began I did go after the nastier weeds (painful thistles,burrs etc.) with weed killer. The weed wacker seems to be keeping them out. If you choose a war against nature you have to be committed for the long haul. Short of cutting all the trees down and cementing it over humans will lose every time. Yearly leaf drop helps, you may even see some smothered wild flowers re-appear if you look closely. I think this is where the best advice would be to 'EMBRACE IT'.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2009 at 8:19AM
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woodside(6 IN)

Appreciate that advice arcy. We have 1.5 acres and the back lot is wooded and up against a creek. There is garlic mustard, brush, smartweed, poison ivy and tons of weeds I have yet to identify. We also have a lot of wildlife out there that shelter in our woods.

I have been considering doing what the first poster has done, but I think about the ramifications to mother nature. So far, I have planted at the woodland border and the more tame areas near the house, but I don't venture too far into the wilderness.

I have planted ligularia, cardinal lobelia, physostegia (miss manners which should spread slowly in our heavy clay) and a few shrubs and hostas. I really just pluck out some weeds and plop the plant down, water and see if it can battle back against the weeds. So far bleeding heart is settling in and right at home! I think by gradually adding woodland friendly plants and not worrying so much about removing ALL the weeds, we will have a nice natural setting.

In short, I would do what you can while it's cleared out, but in the long run, not worry so much about the wilderness returning. Embrace it.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2009 at 11:10AM
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