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-   -   Everything Is Dead On My Bank/Slope Garden (http://www.diychatroom.com/f16/everything-dead-my-bank-slope-garden-169669/)

JasonCA 01-20-2013 08:49 PM

Everything Is Dead On My Bank/Slope Garden
 
1 Attachment(s)
Hi All,

I have attached a pictured. I don't know where to start with my bank/slope garden problem?

On my bank/slope garden I have the following problems:

1) I have everything growing that I don't want: grass, weeds, in some areas trees sprouting up that I didn't plant.
2) Everything looks dead and dull. I can literally water it like crazy, and still there will be no life.
3) There are dirt patches all over where is some growth of random stuff and then patches of dirt where nothing grows.

So where do I start? I was thinking about just pulling everything out of the bank so that there is nothing left but soil. Right now, there is nothing on it that is currently valuable. It's just random stuff growing.

But my guess as to why nothing grows is the soil has no nutrients? What's a good way to introduce nutrients into the soil? Do I throw miracle grow on it?

Maybe I should run a tiller up and down it to turn the soil? Then add some type of fertilizer?

The bank/slope garden now has a new irrigation system. I've tried watering it for 2 months to see what happens...really nothing grows but weeds, grass, and everything else.

So what should my first steps be to start fresh and start over? I would like to make my bank/slope garden have life and look much better.

Thunder Chicken 01-20-2013 10:11 PM

Before you start dumping fertilizers all over the place you should get a soil test done to see what the soil actually needs. Guessing can do more harm than good. You can check with the state agricultural authorities (search online) about how to do this in your area. You'll have to prepare a small sample of soil and ship it to a lab for analysis, probably will cost less than $20, possibly much less. They'll generally tell you what you need to do in order to remedy any deficiencies in the soil.

You can pull the weeds by hand and clean up the bed while you are waiting for the results.

joecaption 01-20-2013 11:07 PM

As suggested test the soil, while your waiting for it to come back spray the area down with Round Up. Give it time to kill everything including the roots.
Round up is not all that strong and will stop working shortly and will have no effet on the new plants after about 30 days.
Do not rototill, Use a grub hoe or a 4 pronged potato rake. This time of year you may just be burrowing the weed seeds if you till it.

Got a pickup truck with a hitch? I try and pull trees out by the roots with a chain and my truck, one end has a slip hook the other end has a grab hook. The slip hook acts like a noose around the tree when you drive off.
If you just cut them off there going to just grow back.
http://www.scotts.com/smg/catalog/pr...temId=cat50096

Thunder Chicken 01-20-2013 11:34 PM

You should also take some time to think about what you want that area to look like. A garden? Grassed-in slope? You might want to post your pictures in the Landscape forum to get some ideas. Certain plants will do well in that particular site, and they will have certain soil requirements which will dictate what you may need to do to remedy the soil. Some plants might be perfectly happy in the soil that you already have. Some plants don't do well with lots of water.

JasonCA 01-21-2013 12:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Thunder Chicken (Post 1098302)
Before you start dumping fertilizers all over the place you should get a soil test done to see what the soil actually needs. Guessing can do more harm than good. You can check with the state agricultural authorities (search online) about how to do this in your area. You'll have to prepare a small sample of soil and ship it to a lab for analysis, probably will cost less than $20, possibly much less. They'll generally tell you what you need to do in order to remedy any deficiencies in the soil.

You can pull the weeds by hand and clean up the bed while you are waiting for the results.

Thanks for the response! I will start looking into a lab where I can mail or somehow send them a soil sample for analysis.

I stopped by Home Depot though a while back and picked up a few soil sample kits. One of them was:

Ferry-Morse Soil Test Kit:
http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1...=soil+test+kit

It may not be the greatest soil test kit, but what does everyone think about soil test kits and testing the soil yourself? Don't rely on it? It's just better to send a soil sample to a lab? Perhaps the lab gives more detailed information as to what I need to do with the soil?

joecaption 01-21-2013 12:11 AM

Never used then, always used my local county extention agent. Some will even show up and make some suggestions.
Anytime I'm trying to figure out what will grow in an are I take a ride around and see what's working for other people and knock at the door. 99% of them are more then happy to make some suggestions.

JasonCA 01-21-2013 12:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by joecaption (Post 1098355)
As suggested test the soil, while your waiting for it to come back spray the area down with Round Up. Give it time to kill everything including the roots.
Round up is not all that strong and will stop working shortly and will have no effet on the new plants after about 30 days.
Do not rototill, Use a grub hoe or a 4 pronged potato rake. This time of year you may just be burrowing the weed seeds if you till it.

Got a pickup truck with a hitch? I try and pull trees out by the roots with a chain and my truck, one end has a slip hook the other end has a grab hook. The slip hook acts like a noose around the tree when you drive off.
If you just cut them off there going to just grow back.
http://www.scotts.com/smg/catalog/pr...temId=cat50096

Wouldn't spraying down the area with Round Up alter the soil and disrupt the soil test that the lab is performing? Or, perhaps it should have no affect?

But as you suggested, maybe this is commonly done when first starting:

1) Take a soil sample and then mail or send it to a lab for soil analysis.
2) Spray the area down with Round Up to kill everything down to the roots.
3) Allow at least 30 days to pass to let everything die.
4) Then follow what the LAB results say in treating the soil?

Is that how I should go about doing it? No real after affects in using round up? Reality is, I have to start somewhere.

It's my fault in regards to my explanation of trees. It's mostly grass, weeds, random small plants which I have no idea what they are growing there. And, there are 'small' trees also growing...ohhh about 1 feet tall. So no..they are not really big trees. I've tried to kill these small trees though before they get too big. But they grow back. To kill them, I've had to dig down to the roots. They have just randomly popped up and I've kept going back to kill them. But, great suggestion in how to pull them out if they were huge!

So, I really like the idea of using Round Up and just kill everything off for 30 days. Would be nice to just see .... soil...instead of random growing stuff! THEN, after everything is dead I can start planning on what to put in it's place and after I've treated the soil by doing what the lab results suggest.

I'll keep you posted on when I send in my soil to the lab. And, I will let you know what the lab results are too.

First, I will do as has been said here and look into what lab to use in my area for soil analysis.

Please let me know how to approach using Round UP and how it may affect the soil tests and the lab results I receive?

JasonCA 01-21-2013 12:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Thunder Chicken (Post 1098371)
You might want to post your pictures in the Landscape forum to get some ideas. Certain plants will do well in that particular site, and they will have certain soil requirements which will dictate what you may need to do to remedy the soil. Some plants might be perfectly happy in the soil that you already have. Some plants don't do well with lots of water.

Isn't this the Landscape forum? Or perhaps there is another one that's best for suggesting picture ideas? Link? :)

JasonCA 01-21-2013 12:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by joecaption (Post 1098393)
Never used then, always used my local county extention agent. Some will even show up and make some suggestions.
Anytime I'm trying to figure out what will grow in an are I take a ride around and see what's working for other people and knock at the door. 99% of them are more then happy to make some suggestions.

Ok. :) Then, I'll just send it to the lab. I'm sure a lab gives a professional analysis and will provide the best solution as to how to treat my soil. So thanks for the suggestions.

Of course, I will keep you posted and post pictures on how it looks as I progress.

oh'mike 01-21-2013 06:20 AM

I'm no landscape pro---but I have found that sloped banks like that --in full sun --tend to burn out all but the heartiest ground covers.

Would the area look good if you terraced it? Kind of like a stepped raised bed?

With that --you could add much more organic material to the soil ,which will hold moisture better.

See what ground covers are doing well in your neighborhood--in a similar sun situation---

A local garden center should be able to offer suggestions the work in your local area.

JasonCA 01-24-2013 02:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by oh'mike (Post 1098446)
I'm no landscape pro---but I have found that sloped banks like that --in full sun --tend to burn out all but the heartiest ground covers.

Would the area look good if you terraced it? Kind of like a stepped raised bed?

With that --you could add much more organic material to the soil ,which will hold moisture better.

See what ground covers are doing well in your neighborhood--in a similar sun situation---

A local garden center should be able to offer suggestions the work in your local area.

What kind of organic material? Where would I get such organic material?

Also, I've been looking more into this RoundUp stuff. I like the idea of killing everything off so I can start new. For instance, if I use RoundUp, does it stay in my soil for a long period of time? Or, would the RoundUp biodegrade in say 30 days?

oh'mike 01-24-2013 06:45 AM

Organic material? I like horse manure and composted leaves----all free in my area---I also add saw dust---although that should not be used in great quantities---add that to regulars soil and soon you will have rich--loose soil that is easy to weed.

As to the round up---you spray it on the leave of growing plants--and it kill the roots--
You could dump the bottle on the soil and nothing will die---I think it's good for your situation--

Watch out for wind when applying---you don't want the spray to drift over to something good--like a bush or shrub.

DexterII 01-24-2013 07:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by oh'mike (Post 1100734)
I like horse manure and composted leaves----all free in my area

Good solution, but I prefer cow manure; a whole lot less weed seeds, although it can be harder to come by some places.

If neither is readily available, or you don't have a means to handle it, your local nursery or garden center will have some good alternatives available in either bulk or bag.

oh'mike 01-24-2013 09:34 PM

Cow manure is richer---but around here there are plenty of stables---but no cows---


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