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tough area, will this work

Posted by mina Z5 Chicago (My Page) on
Thu, Aug 28, 03 at 15:48

we have started two very tiny "prairies", one in the front of our house, along a long strip that runs alongside our house in half sun and behind our house bordering the alley.

Both of them are doing very well. We mowed on June 15 and again on July 15. We are getting ready to do our final one on Sept 15.

We'd like to take the same idea to solve a problem we are having with a neighbor. He is an "absentee" neighbor, never home (usually in Poland most of the year). He doesn't give a hoot about his yard, as a matter of fact, we have gone over there and bush hogged it a few times and he just says "thanks".

last year we built a wood fence. he aleady had a chain link fence on his property but we didn't want to use it as one side of our fence. now there's an 18" space between our wood privacy fence and his chain link fence. all manner of weeds and nasties grow in there.

our idea is to take a high-quality "savanna" mix and just sprinkle it in this 18" space between the houses and hope for the best.

what might be the result of this? we wonder whether the vigorous prairie plants will have a chance to dominate the weeds, or would we need to get in there and weed whack it like we have done with the two we already have on our property. that could be a challenge...

even if only 10% of the desirable plants make it, it would still be better than the stuff that's growing there now.

thanks. Laura

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: tough area, will this work

You will have to do some management to help the new planting get well established. No such thing a s a management free native planting -- not in the weedy world we live in today!

RE: tough area, will this work

  • Posted by Tern z4 MN (My Page) on
    Mon, Sep 1, 03 at 9:45

If there is any way to do it, I think you'll have lots more luck if you try to kill off the existing vegetation first. Is there any way to Roundup the area? You may get a few things to live by just throwing seeds in there, but it's a long shot.

RE: tough area, will this work

  • Posted by mina Z5 Chicago (My Page) on
    Fri, Dec 19, 03 at 17:18

I went into the space between these two fences about three weeks ago. I pulled and cut back scrub shrubs that had started back there and noticed that there really isn't much vegetation other than those.

so I went ahead and sowed the native seed from Easy Wildflowers (Perennial Wildflower Seed Mix For Average to Good Soil)
and then added joe-pye weed, sweet black-eyed susan, and a few other things I had laying around. I also pitched all of my cuttings from my swamp milkweed and new york asters in there.

we'll see what happens in's definitely too narrow for any maintenance.


RE: tough area, will this work

  • Posted by MikeB Z5, IN (My Page) on
    Sun, Dec 21, 03 at 23:19

You say you "went into the space between these two fences about three weeks ago" and posted Dec. 19. A lot of competition from existing veg that will prob. sprout come Spring and just among themselves w/ the amount of seed you sowed. Good luck, but I would start fresh in the spring, kill off everything (Roundup a couple times) and then seed as you wish. Maybe some plants will germinate (save them?), but unless you removed all old weeds and shrubs they will prob. choke out the seedlings. Just my thoughts. Best to your efforts. DONT GIVE UP! ;~)

RE: tough area, will this work

I don't understand why you would go onto someone elses property to cut their lawn. I would let the city give them a citation and force your neighbor to hire a lawn care company to handle that. They should be paying you for mowing their lawn if you continue.

As far as the wildflower seeds go, I would have used Ornamec to kill the grassy weeds, then seeded the area. There will be a lot of competition with the grasses. But, some of the seeds may germinate and make it look all right. I guess you will find out in the spring.

RE: tough area, will this work

  • Posted by mina Z5 Chicago (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 9, 04 at 10:25

we actually don't cut their lawn, we just go over when the wild brush gets out of control and starts hanging over our fence or growing over the fence (shading my prairie plants) and cut them down.

in october a new polish couple moved in and the wife is a gardener. we'll see how the place changes next summer.

meanwhile I went into between the fences and there really isn't anything growing in there once I cut all of the brush down. when I say brush I mean woody plants.

I am going to try to get the weed whacker in there come spring and cut back everything once or twice to give the natives a chance.

I seeded with JoePye weed, swamp milkweed, false sunflower, asters, grey headed coneflower, sweet black eyed susan and whatever else I had laying around. we'll see how it turns out.


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