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Old Mar 31st 2015, 3:55 pm   #46
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Default Re: Home and garden projects

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I'm with the nursery worker on that one, hence my declining mulch consumption as the landscape matures and covers the exposed ground. Unfortunately there are some areas that I think I will always have to mulch - areas where I have bulb plantings or annuals, and others where I have perennials that take a hard pruning such as drift roses. Leave those areas unmulched and the weeds seem to move in overnight. Conversely, I am looking at removing some vining groundcover I have around the A/C and pool equipment area. I don't know what its called, but you see it in all the "professional" areas where it seems to grow about a foot thick and looks good. Unfortunately for it to look good, it seems to need permanent trimming or it gets out of control - as mine has. ..... Mint definitely needs containing - I remember as a kid digging a hole with my Dad and burying an old enameled baby bath to plant mint in so it wouldn't spread. ....
One man's ground cover is another man's invasive weed. I am still battling periwinkle and (English) ivy on many fronts. The ivy is more scattered and seems to spread more slowly, the periwinkle produces dense beds, but they are both a PITA. I have tried dealing with periwinkle by using Roundup and Roundup Poison Ivy killer, and burning with a gas torch to no avail. Last year I had some success when I ran the mower over a periwinkle bed and it didn't recover much, so this year I am trying scalping it with a weedeater then mulching heavily with pine needles. In the past the only major success I had was by covering in black plastic for several weeks in the summer, which effectively cooked everything under the plastic. That approach is harder to apply among trees and less effective because of the shade.
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... I'm generally not a fan either, and our old HOA specifically banned them in street facing beds, though the current one doesn't have any restrictions. That said, in the area where I'm trying to get rid of the vining groundcover, I'm probably going to get some landscape fabric down, and put some 3"river rock on top - then when the vines start coming through, as they will, I'll just keep hitting them with roundup till they get the message..... I might use crushed granite instead, as that may be harder for them to penetrate.
Try mixing the crushed granite with a blend of dehydrated dicalcium silicate, tricalcium silicate, tricalcium aluminate, and tetracalcium alumino ferrite, and mixing in a little water.
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Old Mar 31st 2015, 4:13 pm   #47
 
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I have tried dealing with periwinkle by using Roundup and Roundup Poison Ivy killer, and burning with a gas torch to no avail.
What is this, the scorched earth approach to gardening?
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Old Mar 31st 2015, 4:22 pm   #48
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What is this, the scorched earth approach to gardening? .....
Yup. Doesn't work, at least nothing I have tried so far. I wonder if the US Army has any left over Agent Orange?*

* Yeah, I know it was a highly toxic soup of chemicals which are now banned and was also contaminated with a dioxin which is extremely dangerous and persistent poison/carcinogen.
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Old Mar 31st 2015, 5:18 pm   #49
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[QUOTE=Pulaski;11607580]
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In the past the only major success I had was by covering in black plastic for several weeks in the summer, which effectively cooked everything under the plastic.
That approach is actually recommended on a couple of the websites I read when researching installing new flower/veg beds

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Try mixing the crushed granite with a blend of dehydrated dicalcium silicate, tricalcium silicate, tricalcium aluminate, and tetracalcium alumino ferrite, and mixing in a little water.
People already think Houston is a concrete jungle...
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Old Mar 31st 2015, 5:24 pm   #50
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That's not good! Surely your "city water" doesn't have enough chlorine in it to degrade plastic?
LOL - just had our annual water quality report a couple of weeks ago, and no, our water is pretty good, if a little (lot) hard.

The valve is on a west/southwest facing wall and gets pretty toasty in summer, so I'm putting the brittleness down to UV exposure, although I have absolutely nothing scientific to base that on and can't be ar$ed to google whether that is even likely to be a factor.

Another project for the list (a long way down the list) is to build some insulated boxes to fit over the 2 outside PV valves (sprinkler/pool) and the gubbins of the water softener so that I don't have to faff around with old blankets, worn out patio chair covers and duct tape when we get the very occasional hard freeze warning. I'm guessing that is not a very urgent "to-do" at this time of year. Although it would double as a UV protector...
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Old Apr 1st 2015, 1:07 pm   #51
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Today is pruning day! Now while all the branches of trees & bushes are still bare and I can see each tree's shape, I'm going to tame some overachieving forsythia bushes the previous owners of this house let grow into a mini-jungle. I'm pretty sure there are some Oriental bittersweet vines growing in there too, neatly disguising themselves as forsythia....

Also want to cut down some saplings that are way too tall now, so I've got to unearth the saw and get out the Roundup.

We're still having light frosts overnight, & it only gets up into the low 40s during the day, but spring will come on fast soon (I hope)....
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Old Apr 1st 2015, 5:28 pm   #52
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I harvested a couple of artichokes yesterday. Quite tasty.
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Old Apr 1st 2015, 5:51 pm   #53
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Yup. Doesn't work, at least nothing I have tried so far. I wonder if the US Army has any left over Agent Orange?*
seems you have alot of faith in Monsanto, given one of their products has failed already! ....

Ivy is a pita .... prob best just to dig up the root system if possible, that is what we ended up doing; so called 'root killer' often didn't work.

I've wondered how bothersome it would be to make some of these for the yard this year ....
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Old Apr 1st 2015, 6:31 pm   #54
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I've wondered how bothersome it would be to make some of these for the yard this year ....
Do I see a pinterest "nailed it" style picture in our future?
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Old Apr 1st 2015, 8:45 pm   #55
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One man's ground cover is another man's invasive weed. I am still battling periwinkle and (English) ivy on many fronts. The ivy is more scattered and seems to spread more slowly
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Ivy is a pita .... prob best just to dig up the root system if possible, that is what we ended up doing; so called 'root killer' often didn't work.
Gah, I hate English ivy! I battled it for years in the UK--our garden was overrun with it--and I move over here to find it lying in wait for me all over this property too. Our town's land conservation department reckons that ALL the English ivy covering hundreds of roadside trees and outbuildings came from a couple of grand estates whose owners brought some clippings back from England centuries ago.

So invasive, covers everything in its path, and so dangerous to trees.... I think only the birds love it, as it disguises their nests very nicely (before it eventually pulls down or smothers the tree, that is). Its sap gives me a rash--not as bad as poison ivy, but nasty-- so I always have to wear rubberized gloves and wash all clothes I wear when I deal with it. Plus I have to throw every bit of it away in the trash--can't compost it & we're forbidden to toss it anywhere it can grow.

I pull it up wherever I see it on my property, gently easing out as much of the root as I can. It completely covered several established flower beds when we moved in, so I can't dig up the ivy roots too vigorously for fear of disturbing nice perennials I want to keep. Those garden beds are slowly emerging from under the previous mountains of ivy, and some of the poor old bulbs and flowers are still lovely.

It also had a tall tree near the house completely engulfed, completely. No part of that tree was not covered. Hubby hacked pieces out of arm-thick E ivy vines at the base, and the higher ivy took all of 2 full years to finally die. It looks a bit ugly, but there's no way to strip all that dead ivy off the trunk & every branch of a hundred-foot tree... And every bl**dy spring we still have to pull off new vines trying to run up that tree again. Incredible stuff!
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Old Apr 5th 2015, 8:50 am   #56
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How do you dispose of all this garden waste? In the UK we had bonfires, but here they seem practically impossible.... need a permit, then can only burn small diameter branches and brush. We have big tree limbs we want to get rid of.... really don't want all the hassle of going to the local dump with them.
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Old Apr 5th 2015, 12:54 pm   #57
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How do you dispose of all this garden waste? In the UK we had bonfires, but here they seem practically impossible.... need a permit, then can only burn small diameter branches and brush. We have big tree limbs we want to get rid of.... really don't want all the hassle of going to the local dump with them.
We need a permit too. I had a fire on Friday night, and burned all the branches from three mature pines and two sixty foot sweet gums, plus about 10-12 larger log pieces cut so I could carry them. I have ten pine saw logs awaiting collection by the sawyer I use, and a pile of cut up logs of 4"-10" diameter. I am not sure at the moment what I will do with those. ..... I will burn at least some of the scrap pine logs.

Where do you live? (ETA: CT, I see) ...... If in a city/ town they should provide tree branch collection service, though you might need to phone to arrange collection. If you have a lot you could rent a chipper (most tool and equipment rental companies have them, but you'd need to be able to tow it), or a tree service/ arborist will also chip branches. For anything 4+, I'm sure anyone in the area who burns wood in a fireplace, stove or furnace would take them - just leave them by the road and they may just "disappear".

I believe that the burn permits are issued free in the county where I Iive. The nearby city charges for them, $15 the last time I heard. ..... Do you seriously think that if you get a permit someone is going to come out to inspect your fire?
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Old Apr 5th 2015, 2:26 pm   #58
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How do you dispose of all this garden waste? In the UK we had bonfires, but here they seem practically impossible.... need a permit, then can only burn small diameter branches and brush. We have big tree limbs we want to get rid of.... really don't want all the hassle of going to the local dump with them.
I don't burn tree/brush prunings and clippings...so far, at least. It's a PIA to dispose of them but I have a couple of methods.

The really noxious or very invasive stuff I bundle up as best I can & stick in black rubbish bags to go out in the garbage collection. Other weed rubbish that I don't want to have anywhere on my property--not even on one of the compost piles--I black-bag and leave in the sun for a month, which compacts it down to small enough to "hide" amongst my other garbage.

You can't burn poison ivy--breathing even a bit of the resulting fumes will put you in hospital. (And we have a lot of PI, unfortunately.) And I'm nervous of burning English ivy, since the sap also gives me a skin reaction, so may be similar....

Some big stuff we cut up & add to our wood-pile, if it's burnable. I also have two compost piles for yard waste and one for vegetarian kitchen waste. Some of the nice but not burnable larger branches get chopped up in footlong pieces to line the walkway and garden beds, and shore up an eroding hill in the back garden.
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Old Apr 5th 2015, 10:23 pm   #59
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How do you dispose of all this garden waste? In the UK we had bonfires, but here they seem practically impossible.... need a permit, then can only burn small diameter branches and brush. We have big tree limbs we want to get rid of.... really don't want all the hassle of going to the local dump with them.
Depending on where you live, the town might do a rubbish pick up a couple times a season. Our last town would in spring and towards end of winter, you just had to bag them in those large paper bags.

Around where we are now, we have to take them to the dump, but our neighbour just burns everything or dumps it in the ditch behind our gaff.

Some towns also have the Scouts come by to pick it up as part of a fund raising drive, something like $10.
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Old Apr 16th 2015, 12:39 pm   #60
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How are everyone's projects coming?

I'm making slow but steady progress on shoring up the eroding hill in my back garden with hunks of wood in several rows. The husband says we need to do a "proper" terracing job with bricks & mortar and a drainage pipe behind, but I know that could take us years to get around to....so this is better than nothing. Hope it works because we've had some mighty rains!

The side garden once over-run with English ivy is emerging, also slowly. Crocus & daffs are able to bloom and be seen now--not having to struggle to peek out from under curtains of ivy. An old hydrangea is now visible too & showing encouraging new growth after our severe winter, so I have hopes it may actually bloom this year
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