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Old 03-22-2010, 12:28 PM   #1
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How to reclaim this area from nature? Chemicals? Rototiller?


This is a small section of my back yard. There is another section about 5 times as big. It's completely taken over by as far as I can tell... Ivy, weeds, some thorned creations and other random growths.

I'd like to reclaim this area. Part of it will be a deck, but part of it I havnen't decided what to do with so I'd like other stuff to be able to grow there in the near future.

My concern w/ a rototiller is that there is at least one stump in there somewhere, possibly 2.
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Old 03-22-2010, 08:56 PM   #2
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How to reclaim this area from nature? Chemicals? Rototiller?


I would not use chemicals.

Whether you yank the vegetation manually using gloves or use a rototiller depends on the size of the area. You can manipulate a rototiller slowly so it doesn't jam if it hits a stump.

They make rototillers big enough to kick rocks out of the soil prior to sodding but the area is probably not big enough to maneuver one of those.

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Old 03-22-2010, 09:01 PM   #3
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How to reclaim this area from nature? Chemicals? Rototiller?


I had a 25x100'+ area behind my pool that was wild
Trees, thorn bushes, vines
I tackled it little by little
Took trees down, pulled up vines, added dirt to level the area
I never used any chemicals

One area (1/3) is now my son's play area
I extended the pool fence all the way top the back fence & enlarged the pool area (2nd 3rd)
And the last area I made a veggie garden w/pond area starting by the pool area & going down into the garden

My plans changed over the years but its easier to clear out 1st
Then start on one area at a time....depending upon size of the area
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Old 03-23-2010, 08:47 AM   #4
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How to reclaim this area from nature? Chemicals? Rototiller?


OK, chopping time then!

I started on it, but it' supposed to rain all week so i'll have to play inside until this weekend.
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Old 03-23-2010, 07:18 PM   #5
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How to reclaim this area from nature? Chemicals? Rototiller?


As for the ivy, a local gardening club, Master Gardeners, or appreciative neighbors might put that to use for you and might even be willing to help dig it out.

Frankly, I don't see a problem with a moderate use of glyphosate (Round-Up). It dissipates rather quickly in the soil and will kill to the root most anything you spray it on. Patience is key- it takes about a week to start seeing results.

Or, if you want to kill without using chemicals, IF there is a good amount of sunshine there use the solarization process. Making sure there is good soil moisture, cover with clear plastic and secure the edges. The heat is unbelievable under the CLEAR plastic and will bake anything covered.
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Old 03-23-2010, 10:21 PM   #6
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How to reclaim this area from nature? Chemicals? Rototiller?


Rent a bobcat or toro dingo.

Even with a tiller, you will kill yourself hauling away all that tilled up vegetation and dirt.

Question though. If you plan to put up a deck, why do you care about pulling anything up?

If you do till, lay a tarp over that vegetation for a couple of weeks until it dies.

Last edited by handy man88; 03-23-2010 at 10:24 PM.
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Old 03-24-2010, 08:35 AM   #7
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How to reclaim this area from nature? Chemicals? Rototiller?


DO NOT TILL. Every little bit of chopped up ivy has the potential to become a new ivy plan (think Sorcerer's Apprentice). Ivy is a scourge in many areas displacing native plants so make sure you dispose of it properly.

I don't like using chemicals in my yard so I'd pull. Actually, I would pay my neighbor's kid $2/hr to pull.
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Old 03-24-2010, 01:45 PM   #8
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How to reclaim this area from nature? Chemicals? Rototiller?


I'd like to build a patio, not a deck so there will have to be digging involved no matter what.

The whole "scorcerer's apprentice" has met thinking about the ivy though hahaha. I guess I'll try to pull it up or dig etc. I'm not sure of the width etc. of the patio I just want to try to clear the area so I can at least plan / think clearly.

Whatever area is not covered by a patio will probably be a little garden. Whatever is left is going to be lawn.
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Old 03-29-2010, 02:26 PM   #9
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How to reclaim this area from nature? Chemicals? Rototiller?


we're currently clearing up a much more overgrown area in our yard for our son's playground.... but a similar situation... tons of overgrown vines (myrtle in our case), toppled trees, and more leaves than we care to acknowledge. Mercifully, in our case, the myrtle, which is not as difficult to remove as ivy or wild vines, prevented more stubborn things from taking over (wild grapes, poison ivy). In 1 weekend, we managed to remove about 800 sq ft, and covered the bare soil with landscape fabric. We have roughly another 1000 sq feet to go.
I'm covering the entire area with wood chips down from the local highway dept (a wonderful cost-saving measure when you don't mind a rather rustic look)... Bagged chips are definitely not in our budget, and before the leaves come out, the town chips are pure wood, no weeds or leaves ;-)

In the end, I only needed a good hoe, metal rake, wheel barrow, and lots of enthousiasm to clear the area. Oh, and an axe / saw for a few stubborn tree stumps. I don't think spreading tons of chemicals would make the process any easier. The main problem is pulling out all of the roots, and dead roots are as stubborn as live ones. I also agree with others, you definitely want to avoid breaking-up ivy. Even a few little chunks can take over the entire area in a season. Good luck!
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Old 04-05-2010, 02:33 PM   #10
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How to reclaim this area from nature? Chemicals? Rototiller?


W O W !

What a fun weekend! Along with a couple of other projects I started tackling the yard this weekend. The "ivy" as I'll probably just call it from now on had actually started to creep around the house .......

I "took back" the sides of the house and I did get it away from the foundation in the back. With enough patience/strength/endurance this stuff actually comes up like a rug with about 4" of dirt.

Once I hit a point where I could no longer stand up straight I resorted to chemicals. At this point I was well into the area where the patio will be and nothing will need to grow here.

I'll post pics next weekend when i'll hopefully have a more concrete update.
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Old 04-05-2010, 05:32 PM   #11
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How to reclaim this area from nature? Chemicals? Rototiller?




I know that's alot of hard work



Keep your eyes peeled for it coming back. I pulled a sore-back's worth three years ago and I noticed several dozen little shoots peeking out this spring.
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Old 04-15-2010, 09:22 AM   #12
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How to reclaim this area from nature? Chemicals? Rototiller?


Well.... "Pachysandra" I think I am officially calling it now (that's what I THINK it's called anyway).

Good news is that where the patio is going it is pretty much still coming up like a "rug". behind the garage there are other bushes etc and small trees trimmed down to the ground .... that means the root system is intertwined with other root systems! AAHHH! That area is going to be awesome to clear out. At least I'll be able to do little follow up digs there since there will not be pavers.

I'll post some updated pics this weekend. For what it's worth, it's been around 3 weeks and roundup does not seem to have any effect on this stuff.
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Old 04-16-2010, 07:57 AM   #13
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How to reclaim this area from nature? Chemicals? Rototiller?


I have to ask... who not chemicals? I see several responses that would not use chemicals and I'm genuinely curious. I was under the impression that there were alternatives available that would act on the vegetation only and would break down "safely" in soil.

Like I said, genuinely curious - maybe I haven't seen the light yet!
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Old 04-16-2010, 09:16 AM   #14
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How to reclaim this area from nature? Chemicals? Rototiller?


brich - imho chemicals are a waste of money. Hardy plants like Ivy can just come back - and come back. . .and chemicals will just taint the soil and halt efforts to cultivate in the future with grasses and nicer plants.

Pete - 1/2 acre of our backyard was overgrown like the woods, with lots of raspberry huckles - you have to continually maintain the area with fervor: frequent weed-eating and mowing. . . after you do your initial cleanup.

but after a while some plants, when continually whacked down, just die off. If they can't re-root and regain themselves they'll just finally kick the bucket.
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Old 04-16-2010, 09:33 AM   #15
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How to reclaim this area from nature? Chemicals? Rototiller?


I've used very few chemicals myself
I rake, weed & use tarps to block the light
Most vines that I have seem to just come back
Plus I have a stream on one side so prefer to keep any & all cheimcal use to a Min

I do spray red/orange ant nests...those buggers hurt

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