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controlling weeds along a fence

Posted by Lombill z5 Chicagoland (My Page) on
Fri, Jul 15, 11 at 18:59

My yard borders a detention pond owned by a church. Imagine my yard with grass, then a chain link fence, then a berm of about six inches wide held up by railroad ties, then the grassy slope down to the pond. The church will mow the pond area about once every two weeks but they won't trim along the fence. As a result, all sorts of weeds grow on that berm and are invading my yard.

The plus side is the church people are nice and they've given me permission to do whatever I want in that area. Is there something I can plant along the fence that will expand onto that berm and act as weed control? It's in full sun. Scatter some kind of seeds? Plant something short and bushy? Plant something viney? I've got about 70 feet of fence there, so something on the cheap is a plus.

A secondary issue is the fence along the back: same problem, but in shade.

Any ideas are much appreciated! Thanks!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: controlling weeds along a fence

I think that if I were faced with that, I would put down newspaper over the berm, and then dump several inches of wood chips over the paper (the kind that are free from the tree guys). It would be a lot of work, and it depends on being able to get the wood chips near the pond, but it would be free, and would last at least a couple of years. Top up the wood chips every so year or so, and you'll be good for a long time.

RE: controlling weeds along a fence

  • Posted by Lombill 5a Chicagoland (My Page) on
    Thu, Jul 21, 11 at 12:44

Sadly, I tried that. I hacked down all the weeds, pulled up what I could by the roots, and laid down about four inches of wood chips. The weeds are more exotic looking and taller than ever.

That's why I thought maybe I should fight fire with fire: plant something so thick that the weeds can't grow. I'm hesitant to use any weed killer because I'm unsure how it would react to my side of the yard.

Any ideas? Thanks!

RE: controlling weeds along a fence

Fencelines are especially vulnerable to weed infestations because birds sit on the fence and "deposit" the seeds. Without the newspaper or cardboard barrier under the wood chips, you essentially fertilized the weeds.

That sounds like a lot of hard work that you did, and a lot of time spent. Wouldn't it just take a few minutes a couple times a month with a weed-wacker to keep this under control? As long as they aren't allowed to make seeds, your mower should stop the weeds at the fenceline. Weeds will grow back even if you spray them because many will not be killed and new seeds are always there, waiting to sprout.

If it were me, I would consider this free planting space since you said you have permission to "do whatever you want." Once you smother the existing weeds, you have a perfect place next year to plant tomatoes, cukes, zukes, cantaloupe, beans, peas, morning glories, clematis, climbing roses, any kind of viney thing that would grow on a CL fence. 70 feet is enough space to grow a TON of many different foods or a really awesome flower show - or some of both! Cardboard smothering now, food next year.

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