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Old 08-30-2011, 07:00 PM   #1
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I want it down to dirt!


The first pic was taken several years ago. Lots of rocks, lots of English Ivy, lots of oak leaves, lots of weeds, and some yucca and Lily of the Valley for good measure.

The second was taken a couple of hours ago. That is just a small fraction of the rocks I pulled out of there.

Why? Three copperheads within spitting distance of the back door this month (just to the right of the pic).

I want grass, or at least something definitely snake UN-friendly.

I want to get rid of the remaining ivy on the ground. I yanked a lot of it out, but it is really dug in there. Is there any point in putting a herbicide on it if all the leaves were raked off? Am I better off to try to pull it all out by hand?

Also, DH wants to keep the ivy that is growing up the tree. If I treat the ground with something, is it likely to affect what is growing up the tree on the right (or the small red buds)?
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Old 08-30-2011, 07:34 PM   #2
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Be careful--the tree might be damaged----With the leaves gone the safe plant killers won't work.

If you have a tiller---till the soil several times --that should get the roots.

Another solution if you have good sun is to cover the area with clear plastic and let the soil 'cook'

I know that one works from my neighbors mistake of covering his garden when spraying his deck.

Killed almost every thing in a few hours.

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Old 08-30-2011, 07:48 PM   #3
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I used to use two substances to clean a landscape site. I think Vapam is completely outlawed or at least you will need someone who can get and apply it with a permit. It was, as herbicides go, alright outside but people brought it inside and started using it dangerously and inappropriately. The few screwed those of us using it responsibly.

Calcium Cyanimide should be available still but you may need a permit to buy and apply it. It converts to a fertilizer high in nitrogen after a relatively short period of time. At pest control application rates, it will kill just about anything including weed seeds, bugs, fungus spores and so forth in the meantime when APPLIED PROPERLY PLEASE and according to label instructions. It was pricey decades ago when I was in the business so guess it still is.

Good old fashioned and cheap ammonium sulfate dissolved in water will kill the leaves of most ivy but you still have to dig it out. If you don't the nitrogen in the fertilizer will encourage it more than ever when it springs back on you.

Tarping over some of these things may speed progress.

Here is what I found online.

Cyanamide, the amide of normal cyanic acid, is a white crystals melting at 45 C; readily soluble in water, alcohol and ether. It is prepared commercially by carbide process from carbonate derived from limestone or by the desulphurization of thiourea in the presence of catalyst (mercuric oxide). It is prepared also by the action of ammonia with cyanogen halides. It polymerizes to dicyandiamide when heated over 150 C and to tricyantriamide as well as to melamine. Its metal salt especially calcium cyanamide is an environmentally friendly multi-purpose fertilizer which reacts with water to release ammonia and calcium carbonate to supply nitrogen and lime to plants and soil.The commercial calcium cyanamide contains about 65% calcium cyanamide, which has nitrogen 20 - 24% w/w. It acts also as a defoliant, herbicide, soil insecticide, and weed killer. Its consumption as a fertilizer has been reduced. It is added to pig iron to impart nitrogen and to desulfurize steel. The reactivity of the nitrile functional group in calcium cyanamide makes it as a chief industrial raw material. It is used in the preparation of other products include dicyandiamide, urea, thiourea, and guanidine. It is used in the production of calcium cyanide. Cyanide plays an important role in extracting precious metals.

Last edited by user1007; 08-30-2011 at 08:01 PM.
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Old 08-30-2011, 07:54 PM   #4
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Not sure what to say about the snakes. Interesting copperheads would come that close to the house. What is the attraction? Looks like your hounds cornered them!?
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Old 08-30-2011, 07:57 PM   #5
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Thanks for the ideas guys. I have some plastic sheeting in the shed. Not a whole lot of direct sun, but this week it might be worth a try.
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Old 08-30-2011, 08:04 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by sdsester View Post
Not sure what to say about the snakes. Interesting copperheads would come that close to the house. What is the attraction? Looks like your hounds cornered them!?
We're rural. 90 wooded acres. Luckily we found the snakes before they found us or the dogs (first pic is old). Been working with a 38 loaded with shotshell in my pocket.
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Old 08-30-2011, 08:06 PM   #7
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Getting a clear area around the house is important with those snakes--

I like most snakes---but I like dogs more.

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