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Old 08-12-2009, 11:43 AM
Free Range Otter Free Range Otter is offline
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 138
What can cover the ground cheaply to prevent weeds/vines from growing?

In our backyard, we have a forest that goes to about six feet from the house. In the space between the forest and the house there are weeds and vines. Every spring these things grow - the weeds seem to grow as much as much as 20 feet per year, and the vines (which are coming from some property next to mine, not sure which) climb up the trees and damage them.

I would like to hire someone to uproot all of the weeds (some of them are like trees, and I don't have the right equipment/muscles) but I don't know what to put down on that ground to prevent them from growing back. There is little sunshine and no easy access to walk there, so turf/grass isn't a great option. I would hate to just pour a bunch of cement there.

Do you use some cheap ground covering that is also good at preventing weeds from growing? Gravel on top of tarps? I'm trying to get rid of the weeds because they are such eyesores, but also do it cheaply since the mosquitoes prevent us from enjoying that part of the property that much anyway...

Bonus question: is it possible to kill a wild vine without uprooting it, since this would involve me trespassing on perhaps several neighbors' property? Anything I can treat it with on my property that would kill it all the way down?
Old 08-12-2009, 11:56 AM
Unauthorized Cinnamon Unauthorized Cinnamon is offline
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Cary, NC
Posts: 5,051
My mom is big into landscape gardening, and she swears by newspaper. Wet it down while laying it so it stays put. Cover with wood chips, nuggets, pine straw, or whatever. You can also buy black landscape fabric that works pretty well. You can spray the roots of things with plant-killing chemical stuff, as long as you don't want anything (even nice plants) to grow there. You can find various formulations and application methods in the garden center.
Old 08-12-2009, 03:52 PM
The_Peyote_Coyote The_Peyote_Coyote is offline
Join Date: Apr 1999
Posts: 2,986
I second Unauthorized Cinnamon's mother's use of newspapers. I put them down to control weeds in my garden. Straw and grass clippings work well, also.
Old 08-13-2009, 02:08 AM
Savannah Savannah is offline
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Greater Victoria, BC
Posts: 4,676
I also use newspapers, multiple layers. Let them get wet. (I like to layer it while it's raining.) I use rocks to keep them from blowing away, then cover with bark mulch so it looks nicer after it's settled in and is firmly blocking weeds.

Plus, the free bi-weekly keeps arriving, so I don't even pay for it.
Old 08-13-2009, 06:20 AM
madrabbitwoman madrabbitwoman is offline
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Aussie
Posts: 1,784
You can also make the ground an unpleasant growing enviroment by using vinegar (Which can be reversed with lime if needed) before putting down the paper with mulch on top
Old 08-13-2009, 07:14 AM
Dangerosa Dangerosa is offline
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota
Posts: 21,781
The nice thing about newspaper - and the bad thing - is that's its compostable - you'll have to repeat this every year. If you are lazy, black landscape plastic will still be there ten years from now - however, getting rid of the black landscape plastic can be as bad as getting rid of the weeds are now if you eventually want to turn it into lawn.
One day, in Teletubbie land, it was Tinkie Winkie's turn to wear the skirt.
Old 08-13-2009, 08:13 AM
Kalhoun Kalhoun is offline
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Over by dere
Posts: 27,023
I put down weed barrier. Plastic sheeting that allows water in but won't let weeds grow. However, the vine thing... I have the same problem and they're extremely difficult to control. We prefer a more wild look anyway, so I just let them go in the forest perimeter of our yard. I have this little spot on the side of the garage that has vines moving along the driveway toward the cars...kind of reminds me of some cheesy horror movie. I just cut them back every so often.
Old 08-13-2009, 08:43 AM
Ruby Ruby is offline
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Indiana
Posts: 5,848
You can spray vegetation killer to kill the plants back to the roots but be aware, it will kill anything it comes in contact with. You may end up with an unsightly view of brown shrubs.

I've read that you can use it selectively by painting the leaves of the offending plant. Use a paint brush to "paint" each leaf and the chemical will travel back to the root system. It may take more than one application doing it this way but you won't be killing everything in sight.
Old 08-13-2009, 09:18 AM
Shirley Ujest Shirley Ujest is offline
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Somewhere in the Middle.
Posts: 21,387
I recommend vegitation killer first . ( wear gloves and something to protect your nose and mouth.)

Newspaper is good and free, bu tyou will have to lather, rinse repeat every year.

Another, and it isn't classy in any sense of the word, is carpet remnants. Pick them up free and turn them upside down ( carpet part down) to use as a weed repellent. A friends Crazy Italian Uncle-master Gardener does this in his garden every spring. Gets the carpet off the curb free every year and at the end of the season, he tosses it. The guy is like 90 years old.

It's kinda rednecky, but maybe a good underlayer under some kind of barrier.
( The actual weed paper stuff that I've used in the past is just crap. Weeds grow ontop of it and into it. Large sheets of plastic (tyvek) is awesome for this all around killing veg. stuff.)
Old 08-13-2009, 12:09 PM
crazyjoe crazyjoe is offline
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Farmington, MI
Posts: 3,090
Could you plant some shade-loving plants like hostas, myrtle, or something?
Old 08-13-2009, 12:34 PM
Green Bean Green Bean is offline
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: NJ, Exit #137
Posts: 11,937
I was going to suggest layers of wet newspaper as well. Although it doesn't last forever, it's easy enough to just rake off the wood chips and put down more layers. Wood chips don't last forever, either, and as they break down, they form a pretty good growing medium on top of the newspaper, so raking it off and raking the still-wood-chippy part back on every year is a good idea anyway. You can sometimes get free wood chips from a tree service company. They might not be a uniform and gorgeous as the ones sold at the garden center.

Keep in mind that if it's only 6 feet, the vines may grow under the paper and out the other side. But they'll be much easier to control.

Make sure not to put the wood chips right up against your house. It's not good for the house. Spread the wood chips out in an even layer right up to the house, and then use the rake to pull them back away from the house a little bit. Then just even out the top layer.

I'm not a big fan of chemical vegetation killer, but it might be worth it in this case to get things under control as a first step. If you use it, make sure you get something like Round-up which will kill a plant but not prevent more plants from growing back. Some products don't let anything grow back for a year or so. You don't want that. Keep in mind that it can take several days (or more) for a plant to show signs of dying when you use Round-up. Painting the leaves with Round-up as Ruby suggests is a good idea. Or if you can accept that it will look ugly for a while, you can spray more discriminately. The vines will grow back.
Old 08-13-2009, 01:54 PM
It's Not Rocket Surgery! It's Not Rocket Surgery! is online now
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Brownbackistan
Posts: 4,281
If you don't want to use a powerful chemical such as Roundup, you can use Burnout II. I use it because I apply it in an area where the dogs like to hang out. The main ingredient is clove oil, so it's strong smelling, but relatively safe. It works at least as well as Roundup.
Old 08-13-2009, 09:39 PM
Mongo Ponton Mongo Ponton is offline
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Delaware
Posts: 541
I don't know if this is exurban myth or what but I understand if you drive copper nails into the vine it will kill them. Capillary action or something.


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