I'm Overwhelmed!!!! Please Help!!!

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  #1  
Old 08-10-02, 02:11 PM
ssuthers
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I'm Overwhelmed!!!! Please Help!!!

I just bought my first house this past winter and I had no idea that I would have such a gardening mess. My backyard looks like a jungle (yes, I mean that literally). When I start to try and do something about the crazy mixture of weeds, plants, and flowers that I have I get so overwhelmed I quit and do nothing. I want to avoid doing nothing next year but I don't want to go insane trying to fix my problem. Can you please tell me step by step things I should do now and next spring to make this task more managable. I have done some reading on gardening but the books never show examples that pertain to the catastrophe that I now call my backyard (just to give you an example, I spent half the day out there today and I didn't even make a dent!!). I have some beautiful rose bushes, lilys, rose of sharon, tulips, etc. that I want to keep,however, they are mixed in with a lot of weeds so it is very hard for me to tell which is which until they start growing. I also have a lot of climbing fence cover and bushes growing up through my fence that I want to get under control. In addition, I have no grass, it is composed of ground cover and weeds. Lastly, to add insult to injury, my soil is loaded with large concrete chunks (it looks like previous owners were trying to use it for decoration-yuck!) I would like to relocate most of my plants to the perimeter of my fence and then seed or sod the center of my lawn. Any help that might keep me from crying would be greatly appreciated!
 
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  #2  
Old 08-12-02, 03:12 PM
Gami
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Hi ssuthers,

Well, it does sound like you have a jungle. I wouldn't wait until next year if I were you. Designate an area you think you can get done in the time you have each day and just keep working at it. It's going to take some time, but as you get each area done, you'll look back, see the results, and tell yourself that wasn't so bad afterall. At least try and get the weeds out. It will give you more of an overall picture of what you want to move, thin out, etc.

You'll probably just have to haul the concrete chunks out. You might pile them up somewhere. There might be a use for them later.

Have fun and good luck!

Gami
 
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Old 08-14-02, 07:01 PM
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Hi ssuthers,

It sounds overwhelming. My heart goes out to you. Gami gave you some great advice. Start with one section at a time and just keep at it. Fall is a great time to seed or sod a lawn. Since you are in Detroit, you should be able to work in the garden until early November.

I would suggest you go to the library and get some books on weed identification. Peterson makes some good guides. Start with one section and try and remove all the plants that you are sure are weeds. Then apply a 3" thick layer of mulch. As you work your way around the garden, you will see some results a section at a time.

You might also want to look at some books that explain pruning. I can refer you to sites for weed id and pruning techniques if you would like. Just let me know if you feel this would be helpful. I can also give you a site that shows how to prepare for a lawn whether you sod or seed.

There are also books in the library that have plant encyclopedias in the back of them such as the Rodale or Time Life series. You might be able to id plants that way. Label as many as you can so you will remember what is something worth saving. Keep in mind that it might take a year or two to make sense of it all. Adding mulch to the beds that you have prepared will give a cleaner look and you can start moving plants once you have a section that is cleared out.

Try not to get discouraged. One thing I have learned from gardening is patience.

Let me know if I can be of more help.
Newt
 
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Old 08-15-02, 06:29 AM
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be patient..

Just be patient. Accept the fact that it will take time. You are trying to do in a few hours what would take an entire crew of experienced landscapers a week to do.

Tackle small sections at a time. You may want to hire some neighbor hood kids to help for a day - at least to remove the concrete chunks and pull weeds.

One thing you may want to do is to draw up a detailed map now. Perhaps even drive in stakes to mark what you want to keep. Most weeds die in the fall. They come back from self-reseeding or even birds dropping the weed seeds.

In the spring, apply PREEN to keep these weeds down. The map/stakes are used to mark the plants you want to keep so you don't pull them in the spring.
 
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Old 08-15-02, 07:42 PM
ssuthers
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Thank you Everyone for the Great Ideas!

Thank you for all your ideas! I didn't think about putting stakes by the plants I want to keep for next year. Newt, if you check back I definately would like to know about those websites. Take Care!
 
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Old 08-15-02, 07:59 PM
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Be careful with the Preen in the early spring, I believe it is non-selective. It could also kill emerging perennials.
I've got it but never use it for that reason, it's easier to mulch.

fred
 
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Old 08-16-02, 05:24 AM
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I thought PREEN only prevented germination

You could be right, fewalt. But I thought PREEN prevented germination and so didn't harm perennials. I've used it and it has never hurt my perennials.
 
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Old 08-16-02, 05:38 AM
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Hi Bob,

Now I'll have to do some investigating. I was thinking the Preen created a gas on the ground surface and might harm any new growth emerging. I shall return!

fred
 
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Old 08-16-02, 06:06 AM
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Bob,

You were correct. Preen is a pre-emergence that prevents germination of seeds. I guess the reason I haven't used it the past seven years is that I have a few(very few) annuals that may re-seed.

Here's a very good site regarding annuals, perennials and herbicides. But as they mention early in the text, cultivation and hand removal is still the best method for weed removal.

http://www.ent.iastate.edu/ipm/hortn...996/weeds.html

fred
 
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Old 08-17-02, 02:35 PM
bez
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overwhelmed

Had a similar experience this spring when I bought a lot with a long-abandoned orchard on it. Hard work in restoring, but gratifying.
Try this: 1) Know what you want the finished yard to look like. Draw pics if necessary. Then look at what you have. Get rid of all that doesn't fit your pic. The woodcarver said to me, "I just take some wood and cut away everything that doesn't look like a duck." That's how he created his art. Figure out what your "duck" should look like, and cut away the rest.
2)Patience and perseverence. You may not notice much improvement after a day's work, but rest assured others who know the property see the improvement you're making. Stick with your plan and pace yourself to finish pieces of your "duck" at a time. It's sorta like eating an elephant--you do it one bite at a time. Hang in there!! In the process, be good to yourself. Reward yourself with a few hours leisure as you survey your progress, and pat yourself on the back for what's done and for being so creative in what you want yet to do. It'll happen!!
 
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Old 08-17-02, 08:07 PM
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Bez,

Well said, except for the "eating an elephant" part!! Yuk!! ;-)

Newt
 
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Old 08-20-02, 08:45 AM
flydragon5
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re weeds

Ok, this is going to sound strange, but here's what I'd do:
1. Get a good weed wacker and wack away whatever you can't pull so you can see all the concrete bits. I pull my weeds when the ground is really dry, seems easier.
2. Pick up the concrete bits and pile them up. Maybe you can use them to make a pitted fireplace somewhere in the yard, but you'll probably have to haul most away. We have a concrete company in town that takes the scrap for free.
2-a. Mark those perrenials - great idea - and then, in the Spring..
3. The strange idea: I recently pulled up all the carpeting in the house and laminated all the flooring. I used large sections of carpeting (upside down) on my terracing where I don't want flowers and such, (re-)covered it with store-bought 'weed-preventing' strips of material that didn't work, and replaced the bits of bark I spread. No more weeds coming up, carpeting is unseen and firm to walk on, especially in the winter. I have a bunch saved for the spring, which I'm going to use on large section that have weeds too thick and too high right now. Then I'll cover it with rocks and make a nice walkway. I also used it under my clothesline area. Works for me!

ps: if you plan on tilling, cold evenings are the best time. The seeds and roots need warmth to regenerate and a cold night will prevent that regrowth.
... I don't know if this is true, but I also heard that newspapers keep the weeds away: theory is that bugs eat the newspaper (glue) and any weeds it's on, munching mulchers. It looks unsightly where I am trying it out, but that's ok, it's my yard and I'm in the country.
... I also pour cooking grease onto areas that I don't want things to grow, but that means anything, so be careful.
Please do check out all the websites others have attached for you to investigate. Most importantly, follow the advice of the one who said to treat yourself, too!!
I just thought I'd throw out what this single low-income mom has managed to get by with.
 

Last edited by flydragon5; 08-20-02 at 09:11 AM.
  #14  
Old 08-21-02, 06:46 PM
ssuthers
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Thanks Again!

So far I've managed to clear a 30 ft x 5ft section of my yard... I've already started piling up my concrete chunks! You should see the concrete hill I've got going on!! Unfortunately, I have a stinker puppy who keeps digging giant holes in my newly cleared section. If only I could train him to dig up the weeds, I'd be all set!! Any suggestions on how I could train my dog?? (LOL)

I am also working on a drawing of my yard indicating all my flowers/trees/bushes/etc and I've also started a gardening idea journal. My next feat will be to label the plants I want to keep. Things are starting to feel much more managable even though I don't think there will ever be an end in site!!

I'm on this super motivated gardening kick... A Huge Thank You to Everyone! (I'd hug you all if I could)

Newt, those websites are awesome!

Gami, Bez, & Flydragon- Thank you for the gardening tips!!

Fewalt and Bob- Preen sounds scary!! I think I will wait until my thumb turns green before I use it!! With my lack of gardeing know how, my backyard would probably go from a jungle to a desert using that stuff!! LOL

Take Care!

 

Last edited by ssuthers; 08-21-02 at 07:06 PM.
  #15  
Old 08-26-02, 09:35 PM
Gami
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Hi ssuthers,

You're welcome from all of us, I'm sure.

I'm glad to hear you're tackling your problem. I'm sure you have to admit it's hard work but fun also.

Keep us posted on your progress.

There's never an end to gardening. You'll be dreaming up new flowerbeds or moving things around in your mind, etc. It's such a rewarding hobby.

Isn't this a great site?



Gami
 
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Old 08-28-02, 11:24 AM
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Hi ssuthers,

Wow, it sure sounds like you've got a handle on this. Isn't it infectious? I'm so glad for you. I remember you said "there may never be an end in site", but that's half the fun of it all. Gosh, if it was all done what would you do? I guess a nice relaxing drink and a seat in a prime spot might be a good thing. Do reward yourself. You could always buy something for the garden where you have made progress. Maybe a statue or small critter to peek out of the bushes or flowers? How about that comfortable seat to sit on and admire your handiwork? The journal is a great idea.

Good for you!!
Newt
 
  #17  
Old 08-29-02, 01:55 AM
josh1
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I always put down 6 mil black plastic before mulching or on any beds. One time I skipped this ever important step. I had to weedwack thousands of dollars of display beds that were overtaken (quickly) by PA weeds in a commercial garden setting. Learned my lesson fast. Put down the plastic! get some ground staples in the big 75 box and a 20x100 roll of black poly and goto town. IF you are putting the plastic down over existing plants you simply cut and X where the plant is and then fold the plastic around it. Then slap down some mulch and youre set.

Hope this helps-Josh
 
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