Any tips for maintenance free garden?

marti8aAugust 16, 2010

I have a torn muscle in one arm and haven't been able to work in the garden all summer. The weeds are going nuts and I can't keep up with my limited ability. I have the option of mowing it all down and letting the grass grow, or having something planted that will shade out the bermuda. I thought of dwarf yaupon hollies but would like something with color also. Any thoughts?

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rick_mcdaniel(Lewisville, TX)


    Bookmark   August 16, 2010 at 5:51PM
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holleygarden Zone 8, East Texas

Nothing will shade out the bermuda.

But put down a layer (or two or three) of newspaper or cardboard, mulch heavily on top, and spray Grass B Gone on any bermuda grass that comes up. Get a neighborhood teen to help you place the cardboard and mulch down. If you don't want to spray anything in your yard, then the cardboard will help keep the grass at bay for a while until your arm has a chance to heal.

If you want to plant something there, plant before you put down the cardboard. Good luck! Gardens are something that needs our attention, but they can be fairly low maintenance if you start with the design (which usually means no bermuda grass in that location!)

    Bookmark   August 16, 2010 at 7:41PM
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I was going to talk about the necessity of mulch until I saw that you're struggling against Bermuda. Maybe hire that neighborhood teen Holleygarden suggested, but to spray Round-Up?

    Bookmark   August 17, 2010 at 7:33PM
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Lynn Marie

You'd have to have total shade to deter the Bermuda. That means full grown shrubs. I like the idea of paying a neighborhood kid to pull weeds and mow weekly or something.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 3:32PM
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even total shade won't get rid of bermuda grass.
My neighbors have a totally concrete yard, concrete covers every inch of their property, then there are concrete birdbaths, tables, benches, statues, pineapples, etc. I kind of think the old man might have worked in concrete.
Tally HO!

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 3:31PM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

So there you go -- a maintenance free garden and decorative as well. When I was a kid a remember a front yard on Highland St. that was all concrete and painted green, but nothing else. Oh well ...

I keep toying with the idea of cutting back on the number of plants here and keeping just a few favorite plants, especially the roses which are my real love. I think this year I'm really, really going to do it. But come spring and then who knows ...

Marti, I don't know what to suggest. With an arm out of whack it seems it would be hard to do anything right now. For the time being I'd mow it and then decide what else to do when the arm gets a little better. For a maintenance free-er garden maybe one could just keep a few colorful things in big pots in a flower bed that's been covered with weed cloth and mulched so you won't have to mow and trim around the pots.

Let us know how you decide to manage the situation. It might help some others get ideas.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 7:34PM
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I am working very hard to down size in my yard.I have fibro and lupus .Can not do what I use to any way I have done a lot of granet gravel and I also am doing rock garden type gardening .I am trying to do a way with so much watering .If I knew what I do to day .I would not done so many flower beds.So now I am doing things that do not take so much work.(not easy)

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 10:42PM
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rock_oak_deer(8b TX)

We have no lawn and most of the plantings are mulched with gravel, free wood mulch from the city, or composted leaves. There's still maintenance involved in keeping it up.

The dwarf yaupons are one of the easiest plants we have, but unless you put something down first the Bermuda will just grow up through them and you'll have a mess. Even if you use weed cloth, the Bermuda will still grow up through the cuts you make for the plants so you have to get rid of it first. Bermuda still gets in there from other places in the neighborhood.

We had an area of granite mulch, but the weeds kept rooting in the top of it so we covered it with pea gravel. No weeds since then. Loved the look of the granite, but could not keep the weeds out.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2010 at 10:41AM
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Roselee, I remember when roses use to be my first love. I always said I would put in another rose garden, when I retire. I loved my roses, so did my neighbors. I only got the ones that had a great fragance. It was a constant battle between me and the cut ants. Finally they won....

I would recommend you use preem, to put in your beds, it will stop the weeds from seeding, but it also prevents your flowers from reseeding. This is what I used when I had my knee replacment to control the weeds until I could get back on my feet. Barbra

    Bookmark   August 23, 2010 at 2:42PM
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Here's what I am doing so far. I have wide beds in front that I am reducing in size. One was about 1/3 Asian Jasmine and with the border moved in, it's about 3/4 full. 1/3 had been a little pond that I took out because roaming dogs kept getting in it. I was going to rip out the Asian Jasmine and plant something native, but really, except for edging, this stuff is easy. A little grass has gotten in it, but Grass B Gone usually takes care of it.

I did ask the neighbor boy if he would come move border bricks and dig up plants and move them when it gets cooler.

In the other front bed, I am going to put dwarf wax myrtle, dwarf yaupon, turk's cap, and salvia greggii in the center, fall obedient plant, lantana, creeping phlox, and dwarf ruellia on the outer edge, and mealy blue sage and grape lirope on the inner edge. I think that will give me a full bed year round and color all through the growing seasons. When I had it mostly Texas gold lantana, I had very little problem with grass. It was when the lantana got started so much later than the grass and weeds, or when I had bare spots between the plants that were on their way out and others on their way in that I had problems.

Maybe by the time my young helper gets tired of helping, I'll be able to take over again.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2010 at 10:05PM
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holleygarden Zone 8, East Texas

Interestingly, the rose forum is discussing this very same thing. I will provide a link. Some good ideas there.

Good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: Gardening for a Lifetime thread in Antique Roses forum

    Bookmark   August 24, 2010 at 4:01PM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

Marti, that sounds like a good plan to me.

Holly, I've been reading, enjoying, and making mental notes about that thread on the Antique Roses forum also. I've tried about every rose and companion plant there is (or so it seems :-) and now need to narrow things down to a few easy care favorites (or fewer anyway) and just enjoy them. If I need a 'fix' of new plants I'll just go look at them the botanical center. (Ever notice how easy it is to make resolutions at the height of a hot summer ... LOL)

    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 5:41PM
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Marti I like your plan too except for the obedient plant. In about 3 years it will crowd out everything else you have planted in that bed. It looks beautiful when it blooms, but it's about as invasive as bermuda grass. Cheryl

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 1:50PM
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Hi Cheryl, I've already got the obedient plant there. It's not really happy there for some reason and hasn't spread much. One thing about it though, it's easy to pull up. Wish I could say the same about bermuda. I worked for hours on a bed today and didn't even make a dent in the bermuda. Got nearly all the other weeds though.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2010 at 12:12AM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

How about just using Ortho's Grass-B-Gone on the Burmuda grass? It works great!

    Bookmark   August 28, 2010 at 12:30AM
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I use Grass B Gone, and it kills the grass, but it's still there, just yellow instead of green.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2010 at 12:45PM
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