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in Problem solving
Hi all, with the recent run of good weather, I decided I'd get onto clearing out the horrifically overgrown mess that constitutes our "garden" (it's far too small to be considered a garden, even). Just so you know exactly what I was up against, I have some pictures. This is how it looked pre-shearing...
And this is how it looks now...
I managed to clear the overgrowth in about a half an hour or so, that was the easy bit.
Now I'm unsure what to do with the undergrowth. The plan is to possibly use a mixture of gravel and patio to make a small area requiring little maintenance. I know I will have to dig up and clear the roots of all the nettles, weeds and goodness knows what else was growing there, but any advice on how I could (or should, to make my life easier) would be well appreciated.
The original idea was to cut it all down and then cover the remaining low growth with a black groundsheet until it just all died.
Glyphosate weedkiller, spray several times until all is brown and crispy. Dig/pull up what's left. Put heavy -duty weed supressing membrane down, cover with pea gravel/bark chips.
If using pea gravel, avoid the garden centre and go to a builder's merchant, much, much cheaper.
Thanks for the reply, where would I get that kind of weed killer, and how long does it generally take to work?
Also, is it harmful? I live in a block of flats and the area around me has a lot of cats and dogs roaming around (I also have a dog myself) and I'd hate to be responsible for someone's pets getting ill.
Since I'm in South Wales, we tend to get our fair share of rain, so I'd love to get it at least mostly done before the rain hits.
You can get decent weedkiller from ebay, or something like roundup or pathclear from a Garden centre, or even a supermarket or somewhere like Wilkinsons (their stuff is good and fairly cheap). It needs to have Glyphosate as the active ingredient. It actually works by encouraging the weed to grow really, really quickly and exhaust itself - it grows itself to death. If you apply it every few days, you should start to see it start to die back in a couple of weeks, it might take up to 6 weeks for it to go completely, it does only work when the plant is actively growing, so now is the perfect time to do it. It does need to be dry for 6 hours after you apply it for it to work properly. When it's dry to the touch it should be OK to let animals into the area, but make sure you read the lable carefully, some of the labels advise an hour, or two hours later. Definitely once it's dry it should be OK.
Just another quick question for anyone about the weed killer before I go and buy it, there's two manhole covers and a couple of waste water pipes dotted around the garden, would it still be safe to use around them or would I have to cover them up and make sure I don't get it anywhere near it?
Here's a quick update on the rest of the work I did before quitting today...
The actual roots and undergrowth is fairly sparse, I plan on further clearing it tomorrow and showing even more of the soil underneath it.
The ground itself is pretty dry and poorly compacted (there appeared to also be a bunch of courgette flowers that were growing up close to the wall, at some point someone must have tried to grow veggies in that little patch), and therefore is extremely uneven. Little humps and patches of ground I thought were just exceptionally thick grass and weeds have turned out to be mostly little bumps of uneven soil. However, I couldn't even get a fork into the ground to turn it over, it's so full of little stones and thick roots.
I have no idea how to go about trying to even it out and make it into a decently usable space. Any advice on that would also be appreciated.
The weedkiller is normally only active if it's touching leaves or roots. No need to cover up the manhole covers, just don't put it on there - if buying ready-made weedkiller it should come in a squirty bottle like kitchen cleaner.
Unless there are massive mounds of earth, I wouldn't worry too much, put the membrane down, maybe double it over to be on the safe side, then put LOTS of the gravel down, it will level out. The only other option is to wait until the ground is wet during the autumn and dig it over and level it out. You might want to try to get some of the worst roots out, there are chaps on here that recommend the use of a mattock (like a sort of land-axe), I've never used one, I've never really had to, so can't really help you there. Maybe someone else can advise on the best way to get the roots out.