stumps and branches EVERYWHERE!!

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  #1  
Old 12-01-08, 08:55 PM
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stumps and branches EVERYWHERE!!

Hello all, I have a big problem I hope somebody can help me with. I have a big hill in my backyard that had Honeysuckle and some other bushes that have a sticky, purplish/blueish flower on it, no idea what it is called. Anyhoo, these bushes had grown into somewhat of a 15 foot high wall. I had them removed, but only down to the dirt. When they started taking the stuff out we found out that it wasn't just a few bushes w/ big bases, but more like a million 2 or 3 inch branches coming out of the ground. It took them 4 days to get it all out and would probably take 4 years to really get it all out.

So, I want to replant, but I am pretty sure this stuff will just grow back eventually. What do I do? Chemicals to kill it all? Stump killer on each one? Weed barriers? WHAT??

Sorry for the lengthy post, I just don't know what to do. Any ideas are appreciated.
 
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  #2  
Old 12-01-08, 11:15 PM
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Contact your local County extension agent or even go to a local greenhouse and ask how best to eradicate it. You could also wait till spring and have someone come in with a tractor with a big tiller and till it all up.
 
  #3  
Old 12-02-08, 06:48 AM
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After bush hogging, as shoots appear, you can use repeat applications of herbicides. Keeping area mowed will also tend to keep down the return of growth. With time and patience you can get the area under control.
 
  #4  
Old 12-02-08, 10:31 AM
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Hi Bulldog,

I'm not a fan of herbicides and chemicals so I tend to go with the most environmentally friendly methods first. There are stump removers for the large stumps, but it sounds like you won't be needing those.
Honeysuckle popper, Bush and Shrub removal without a back breaking garden shovel - Mister Honeysuckle
Weed Wrench

The next tool I would use would be a radiant heat weeder. I think there is only one company in the US that sells them, but I'd also look to rent one if possible.
Radiant Heat Weeders

If the area is not vulnerable to fire, a flame weeder might be another choice.
http://www.pesticide.org/pubs/alts/pdf/flameweeding.pdf

For spot spray I would choose horticultural vinegar as an herbicide.
Spray Weeds With Vinegar? / May 15, 2002 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service

As already suggested, mowing should also be helpful depending on the particular invasive.

I would also suggest keeping a stirrup aka scuffle hoe, collinear hoe and/or circle hoe on hand for touch ups.
Old-House Journal Magazine

Newt
 
  #5  
Old 12-02-08, 01:09 PM
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If you are just trying to make sure they are dead you could always lay boards or tarps, even garbage bags held down with rocks over the top of the affected areas. Without sunlight, the roots will not spawn off new branches that can last too long.

This will stop them from growing but won't do much to help you get rid of the stumps/intact roots.

Can a stump grinder be used in such a situation, or would all that dirt and little stump play havoc with the machine and its blades and not be worth it?

I agree that chemicals will just spread downhill and hurt your other grass or water supplies. And may not be enough with one application.
 
  #6  
Old 12-02-08, 04:28 PM
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The key is to keep shoots from returning. Any sprouts with leaves will photosynthesize and provide continued nourishment to roots. Herbicides provide a quick and 'dirty' way of tending to return of vegetation. As indicated, constant mowing, heat, salt/vinegar solution, black out with tarps, can discourage return of vegetative growth.

I once cleared a large section of my land of undergrowth and had truckloads of vegetation hauled off. I mowed weekly with an old mower which I deemed my miniature bush hog. After 3-4 years, my wooded area was park like. I used herbicide only on poison ivy (I'm allergic) and was ever vigilant for shoots which I attacked with my weedeater.

The key to success is patience and persistence if not using a systemic herbicide. Systemic herbicides are absorbed into the root system for a quicker demise of vegetation. Other methods are more environmentally friendly, but will take time, persistence, and patience.
 
  #7  
Old 12-03-08, 07:54 PM
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Thanks so much for all of the replies, especially Newt, I wish I had seen that Honeysuckle popper earlier.

Anyhoo, good news. I guess I over-reacted a bit. The area is kind of an L shape, about 200 feet long total. It is a steep hill going from about 25 feet down to 10 feet. Only about 80 linear feet had the bad roots, w/ about 50 of that being really bad. The rest was fine and all of the roots I saw were just cut up stuff from removing the bush. Guess I should have actually checked the entire area before flipping out.


I hired 2 day laborers today and gave them some picks, shovels and axes and they managed to get about 90% of the roots and junk out. They made 4 giant piles, it was amazing how much root material there was underground and how much they were able to get out.

So I think the area is going to be managable now. If I put some of that garden fabric or weed barrier down over the areas that we couldn't get the roots out of, and then put soil over the top of it, that will prevent that stuff from trying to grow back, right? Since it is now just some small spots, this sounds like a good solution, if it will work. I would rather not use chemicals because I don't want to ruin the soil for other plants. I'm not against chemicals as a whole, I just don't want to kill everything. Since the branches are only say, 2-3 inches in diameter at the most, drilling them out and injecting chems isn't really an option.


Thanks again!!
 
  #8  
Old 12-04-08, 12:21 AM
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Bulldog, thanks so much for the update. Wish that weeder would have been able to help you out.

If I put some of that garden fabric or weed barrier down over the areas that we couldn't get the roots out of, and then put soil over the top of it, that will prevent that stuff from trying to grow back, right?
If you use a weed barrier or landscape fabric the sprouts could possibly still grow through it, especially the lighter weight plastic weed barrier. Landscape fabric is more expensive and is like felt. Using either one will make it difficult to plant as you'll have to cut holes for planting. Besides that, the barriers will not allow any mulch or compost to mix with the soil. I would rather see you put down 6 dampened layers of newspaper to help smother the weeds and any sprouts. The newspaper will break down over time and enrich the soil. Topdress with mulch and use one of those hoes to keep after any weeds or sprouts.

Newt
 
  #9  
Old 12-04-08, 05:15 AM
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Hillside

How will you prevent erosion and mud slides?
 
  #10  
Old 12-10-08, 11:15 AM
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Thanks again, Newt. Again, I can't believe how much those guys got out. The area is about 200' long, about 25' from top to bottom for half of it and the other half is around 10' top to bottom. They got out what seems like all of the roots and it took 3 trips to the dump w/ the bed of a long bed F-250 and a 10'x6' trailer both filled up past the top.

So hopefully it is all gone and I won't have to deal w/ it anymore, but I guess I'll just deal w/ it as it comes.

As for mudslides, I replanted already, which won't really help much this year, but I live in Southern California, so rain really isn't a big issue.

Thanks again!!
 
  #11  
Old 12-10-08, 11:28 AM
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Here is a pic of a little of what those poor guys had to deal with. Those piles of roots are not even all of it. Those piles are just from that little area there on the left and what was left after 1 dump run.


 
  #12  
Old 12-10-08, 02:26 PM
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Bulldog, you are so very welcome! And a 'thank you' for the pics. That was alot to deal with.

Now that I see a picture of the area I would like to comment on the tree. It appears that there has been alot of foot traffic under the crown of the tree. Compacting the soil under a tree is not a good thing. I would suggest you watch the tree carefully for stress over the next 3 to 5 years. You may need to address the compacted soil at some point with a certified arborist. I doubt you will need a fertilizer treatment, but if the arborist offers it without a soil test, just say, "Thank you and I'll call you back on that one." Never do a fertilizer treatment to a tree without a soil test that you can get reasonably through your local extension service.

Do clear away any turf and weeds from under the tree and add a proper ring of mulch. Your tree will be happier for it. This first site is no longer available at this Colorado State Univ site, but I did manage to find the cached version. It's well worth the read and the pics.
http://64.233.169.132/u/ext?q=cache:...gl=us&ie=UTF-8

This site has info on construction damage to trees and which trees are more tolerant of soil compaction.
http://www.ext.colostate.edu/Pubs/garden/07420.html

How to mulch a tree.
http://www.treesaregood.com/treecare/mulching.aspx

If you need info on fire resistant plants just let me know.

Newt
 
  #13  
Old 12-13-08, 09:55 AM
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Hey Newt, thanks for the advice. A few questions though. First, those bare spots aren't from foot traffic, they are just there and have been for a long time. I don't know why. It gets water over there, although the bush wall that started this thread may have been blocking out the sun. Also, like you said, the ground is very compacted over there for some reason, although the rest of the yard is not. Any ideas why that may be? I've tried (not very hard) to replant the grass over there to no avail.

So, can I turn up the dirt, amend it and replant the grass or do I need to do more/something else? The reason I focus on the grass is because that is what is dead, the tree seems to be doing fine. It has been there for 30 years and has never had a problem. Or is there a problem you see that I don't? Granted, unless the thing was dead I probably wouldn't know there was anything worng.

Lastly, (sorry this is getting so long), I want to replant the entire lawn. I don't know what it is now, but it stays green about 8 months a year and then goes dormant about December to March. So really, it only looks good maybe 5 -6 months a year. I would rather not do sod just because of the cost (I would rather save the $ and do something else w/ it), but I don't know what kind of seed to get and when I should plant it. Every site I go to has a different idea on what is "right", when to plant, what to plant, etc. I would like to plant it now, but I am thinking I may need to wait until it warms up. Again, I live in Riverside, in Southern California. I'm about an 50 miles SE of LA and about 30 miles inland, if that matters. Any ideas or sites I can actually trust would be great.

Thanks so much!!

P.S. I am OK on the fire resistant plants. I am far ebough away from any brushland that it isn't much of a concern. Thanks a lot though.
 
  #14  
Old 12-14-08, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by bulldog8b View Post
Hey Newt, thanks for the advice.
You are very welcome!

First, those bare spots aren't from foot traffic, they are just there and have been for a long time. I don't know why. It gets water over there, although the bush wall that started this thread may have been blocking out the sun. Also, like you said, the ground is very compacted over there for some reason, although the rest of the yard is not. Any ideas why that may be? I've tried (not very hard) to replant the grass over there to no avail.
There could be several reasons. I don't know the type of soil you have, but the fact that water stays there leads me to believe it might be clay and that is why it doesn't drain. Soil with a heavy clay content will compact and the water sitting there doesn't help.

I can't quite tell from the picture, but it appears the soil is near the tree, so the tree roots may be causing the compaction as it takes the moisture out of the soil. The fact that there is little or no sun would also contribute to the lack of grass as most lawn turf needs sun to thrive.

So, can I turn up the dirt, amend it and replant the grass or do I need to do more/something else? The reason I focus on the grass is because that is what is dead, the tree seems to be doing fine. It has been there for 30 years and has never had a problem. Or is there a problem you see that I don't? Granted, unless the thing was dead I probably wouldn't know there was anything worng.
If the soil you want to turn is within 5' of the outer edge of the canopy of the tree, turning the soil is not a good idea as there are probably tree roots there. You can try and scrape the soil to see if there are tree roots there. Go as gently as you can so you don't sever too many of any roots. Before you do that read 'Roots' here. I'd love to know what you find.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu./document_mg089

I'm also thinking that during times of heavy rain, the water will continue to pool there because of the hill. If there is no drain behind the wall to carry the water away from the area, this will be an ongoing problem. My suggestion would be to have a mulch ring around the tree. From this site Cooperative Extension service site:
http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/pitt/ag/hort...newsmay18.html

The mulch ring should be based on the tree size. A good rule of thumb is two feet in diameter for each inch in trunk diameter. If you plant a two inch diameter tree, the mulch ring would be four feet in diameter. The mulch ring should expand in width as the tree grows until the tree is established.
Also see:
http://www.treesaregood.com/treecare/mulching.aspx

How far from the outer edge of the dripline of the canopy is the compacted area, or is it under the canopy?

Lastly, (sorry this is getting so long), I want to replant the entire lawn. I don't know what it is now, but it stays green about 8 months a year and then goes dormant about December to March. So really, it only looks good maybe 5 -6 months a year. I would rather not do sod just because of the cost (I would rather save the $ and do something else w/ it), but I don't know what kind of seed to get and when I should plant it. Every site I go to has a different idea on what is "right", when to plant, what to plant, etc. I would like to plant it now, but I am thinking I may need to wait until it warms up. Again, I live in Riverside, in Southern California. I'm about an 50 miles SE of LA and about 30 miles inland, if that matters. Any ideas or sites I can actually trust would be great.
Don't worry about the length. That's ok. This site from University of California should be most helpful as it's geared for your location and climate. You may be able to id the turf you have (could be zoysia) and choose what you might like to have. The best time to establish a new lawn is in the fall when soil temps are still warm, the air is cool, there's generally more rainfall and pests are at a minimum. When establishing a lawn in a warm climate such as yours, if you do it in the spring, start early before the hot temps occur. I would think mid February would be good, but see what this site recommends.
http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/TOOLS/TURF/

By clicking on 'Related UC publications' in the orange strip I found these that might also be helpful.
http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/TOOLS/TURF/ucpubs.html

Don't hesitate to ask more questions.

Newt
 
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