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New wooded lot, I'm lost

Posted by mrschaeferpants AR (My Page) on
Mon, Mar 25, 13 at 18:26

Central AR, 7b

We moved here in October, bought 10 acres like we've always wanted to, but for our 'yard' area, I'm lost on what I should do. I've attached a picture.

We have a lot of pines, and I want to keep as many trees as I can. I don't want to invest too much money (I have plenty of time though), because it's my hopes to build a house further back on our property in 5-10 years, right now we're probably 100ft from the road. I've all but decided grass will not work with the pines, I'll have patches at best, it's very hot in the summers, those pines don't provide much shade, they're only 15 years old roughly. I also have more rock it seems than dirt, pebbles to fist size to basketball size, not a spot in the yard you can put a shovel more than an inch or two w/o hitting them.

I thought about grass/clover/wildflower mix, like a meadow, but we have 3 dogs, I'll assume that won't work either. I like the idea of it looking foresty, native species, no real maintaince, anything to get rid of the mud and prevent washouts, most of the property is a slight hill.

We moved from western WA, so I have visions in my head of a bunch of ferns and other plants all around under those pines, but I'm not sure what to put there that'll work in this heat and dry dry summers. I also wouldn't mind something similar to ivy just to cover it all up, but with this much area, I'm worried about mice, snakes, etc. Thinking about some type of groundcover. It wouldn't be so bad if it was all covered in shedding pine bark and needles, maybe in 20 more years when the trees are big enough, but now, just mud, mud and rock.

The backyard is the same, though less trees in the "yard" area.

Most of that green in the photo are briars (I believe), some spots of grass, some clover. There's no way I can till it, it's too large to buy qt size plants. I have thought about walking around my property to find plants, I'll see what's here soon when it warms up. The rest is all wooded, a lot of thorny vines, misc vines, everywhere. You can't walk through any of it.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: New wooded lot, I'm lost

I don't think my picture posted. Not sure at all how these forums work. Been reading here for years, but I think this is my first post. So here's a link to a folder I created on my photobucket account.

http://s195.photobucket.com/user/neogenesi/library/gardenweb

Here is a link that might be useful: Pictures


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RE: New wooded lot, I'm lost

Hi,
I just happened on your post. I am not sure where you are, but how about googling the native plants for your state? They should give you a list of the plants that will survive.
Wish I could be of more help.
Dee


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RE: New wooded lot, I'm lost

First, get a soil test, then you can start thinking about plants. In the meantime, spread some mulch to give cover and to improve the area. It looks as if much of the top soil has been scraped away, and you should be able to find some pine needles in the back so that you won't need to spend much money. (You said you had time.)

I am very in favor of native plants, and your photos seem to show areas similar to the eastern part of NC. Lots of great plants there. I think you can look on the internet for sandhills plants, as that is what we call the pine areas.

Non-native azaleas have also been great plants here in the middle of pines, and they are evergreen. The native azaleas are not.

Post again when you know more about your soil. We may think of other things. Hope this gives you a start.


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RE: New wooded lot, I'm lost

Sometimes your state Forestry Commission has inexpensive native tree seedlings, especially pines. I find pines to be a good temporary solution (even 10 years) to help hold the soil and provide shade; they are especially easy to remove to plant different things and don't grow back from the stump.

Also research native grasses - excellent for soil stabilization and one of nature's own first plants in an area of succession.


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RE: New wooded lot, I'm lost

Oh I have pines, in all sizes. 6" seedlings to as large as I dare to dig up. Across the road older pines drop the cones that fall into the road's culvert/ditch. I do plan on moving some to bare areas.

I've decided on the sides of the property I will attempt wildflowers and prairie grass mix. Spent a few hours looking at the different mixes online, and decided to mix in sideoats gama seperately.

For the yard part, now that I'm thinning the pines I have a higher hope for grass, it'll be patchy, but that's fine, I'll garden around the pines. I pulled a few out the other day, just thinning the ones way too close to one another. I also spent all day raking the yard. 10 wheelbarrows of needles, sticks, rock. One day I'll get a tractor :)


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RE: New wooded lot, I'm lost

Oh and I do plan on going native for my garden areas, just not out in the yard. Infact I would like all or at least most native species for that. But I'll be keeping garden areas to a minimum, as we plan to either build a house, or renovate and move our single wide further back on our property. We have an 18 year old neighbor down the road who likes to drive 50mph :(

But that won't be for a couple years. I think I was just overwhelmed with the area. After pulling some trees, spending the day raking, I think I can get this done, little by little. I just want to clean it up, and have a respectful looking yard for the time being. Instead of the poorly graded, fill dirt and rock pile it is now :D


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RE: New wooded lot, I'm lost

Back to nothing with the yard. For now. Got a tiller and attempted to knock the high humps and rake into the low spots. All I ended up with was a mess and a bunch of fist sized rocks. Plus the tiller said no sir, I don't like it.

Down a hill on my property there is some fabulous compost. Parts are still "mulchy" but most of it is great. I'm thinking give up this season, pile the compost up, till it every once in a while and I'll have a bunch of compost to top dress with. I have no green to mix into it though :( And it would all be by hand. Nifty cu. yard calculator said I'd need about 40 cubic yards to cover my front yard area 1". I need a tractor with a FEL :) That stuff sells for $16 a cu/yard. Maybe I needa profit from my land.


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RE: New wooded lot, I'm lost

Azaleas, Azaleas, Azaleas, need I say more. Sounds like your place is perfect for them considering all the pine you have. There are many species that do well in your location, I would choose the native one if I were you though (flame, pixterbloom,etc.). Check out Mail Order Natives, they have a great selection for reasonable prices. Southern Wood Fern might work for a groundcover.And don't worry about the snakes...most are harmless...the more you inform yourself about the different species the less afraid you will be.


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RE: New wooded lot, I'm lost

I wouldn't bother tilling, just pile on your compost / mulch and let it decompose. It's better than bare soil and improves the existing soil. I use a lot of turk's cap in my deeply shaded front yard. Not sure if that's native in AR or not but it blooms beautifully and can easily be propagated from cuttings or seed. Deer leave it alone and once established is very drought tolerant. I also have a fondness for wood ferns and hydrangeas, also I do have to supplement their water. Ajuga is a very aggressive ground cover and it thrives in shade with little additional water.

Just some other options.


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RE: New wooded lot, I'm lost

I am thinking up plans on making my own compost so I can dump it in loads when the time comes. Depends if I can find a large enough chipper :)

Planning on things I can plant, get established, and forget as far as no water, no fertilizer. The area under the pines will be something outside of my plans for a yard in the future. My planned front and back yard will not have any pines, I have the backyard mostly cleared out, minus all the trees, still planning on what I want to keep. The whole back yard will be a wooded garden, the front will have a small bit of grass, garden around that, and lead into the wooded part of my property.

I think I've come up with my idea, not narrowed down to specific plants, but a basic layout and what I want from it. My current front yard area will just be a pain to get grass growing, bermuda since those trees really don't provide any shade, hoping it kills everything else (lots and lots of weeds), and by the time the trees grow up to kill out the bermuda, we'll be moved further back to our new area, and it can go back to being cover in pine needles.

Which leads me to another question, tried to decide if I should start a new post, since it does differ slightly, but oh well.

Containerized trees. The few trees in my current backyard/future front yard will have to go, there's 6 young pines. In that area, and once the single wide is moved, I'll be planting some trees, oaks, bald cypress, hickory perhaps, redbud, some other smaller ornamental. Wondering if I should get some seedlings, and keep repotting them in the years to come until I'm ready to plant them? Instead of paying $100+ for taller trees when I'm ready for them.

I'm not good with pots, I'm forgetful, lazy. Wonder about winterizing them. I could set up a pvc irrigation on a timer from my well house to water them if need be, our summers are super hot. Perhaps keep the pots mostly burried? I would plan on getting around 10 trees. The arborday website has a good deal going on with 10 seedlings with membership ($10?), and if they live through my neglect, would be as tall as those $100+ trees at lowes and the nurseries by the time I'm ready to plant them.


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RE: New wooded lot, I'm lost

why not plant the seedling now....it will be along time before you get anything useful out of them if you keep repotting them.


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RE: New wooded lot, I'm lost

For the same reason the handful of small pines in the area will be removed. The old 80x14 single wide will have to be hauled out, and the construction equiptment, and building of the house will require space. All the construction tape in the world wouldn't save a bunch of young trees from accidents. Mainly though, I plan on grading that area for water run off, two slopes will meet and channel water into a current ditch on the side of my property.

The idea of getting something small and repotting it through the next few years is so when the time comes, I wouldn't have to spend extra money for taller/older trees. By then hopefully they'll be pretty big, in about 20-25gal pots.


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RE: New wooded lot, I'm lost

There are some places like cold stream farms that sells large trees for cheap....I would check them out...they sell alot of the trees you mentioned

Here is a link that might be useful: cold stream farms


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