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HI Everyone,

Apologies in advance for asking what is bound to be a stupid question, but I've got a bit confused about something and need some honest advice. I am very much a beginner gardener, and a bit overwhelmed by it all at the moment.

I have an area 4ft x 40ft which was filled with old bushes, 8ft high brambles, stinging nettles, ivy etc etc. All the bushes have been cut down, the ground treated with glycophosphate and the area rotivated.  The plan was to put espaliered or cordon fruit trees along there this winter, but lack of funds mean this has had to be postponed. 

In the meantime, the weeds had grown up again to a solid mass of green- thistles, nettles, brambles, ivy,bindweed, all those lovely  things sent to try us. Over the past few weeks I have hand dug the entire area, removed the weeds,  traced and dug out loads of roots and levelled it. It was blooming hard work.  

Now I need to keep it weed free until at the earliest next March, and worst case scenario, next autumn.

I have covered it in black weed fabric, which I have to say doesn't look terribly strong. Should I put a layer of bark chips on top?  What do I do with this layer when I finally get to put my fruit trees in? Remove it completely?  Cut holes to put the trees in  and leave most in situ?

I really can't face digging it all over endlessly for perhaps another 12 months!!! There must be some way to stop the blighters. I am feeling rather defeated by their tenacity and vigor. Its putting me off the garden all together!  Please help!!!!

nutcutlet

If you cut back the growth and treated the ground with glyphosate you have done nothing. Weed killers work on plants not ground. But it's never forever. Perennial weeds persist, annuals keep germinating, you just have to keep at them by your chosen method. chemical, cover or dig/hoe

If it's bare ground you could try contacting a local carpet fitter and see if he has any carpet he's recently removed.  Lay that over the ground and it should supress most growth over the winter months.

hogweed

Your black weed fabric will help over the winter. it is really up to you what you do. An option is is keep the fabric in place and cover with bark to make it look a bit prettier and then plant trees through that. 

Or lift the fabric in spring, see what perennial weeds come up and treat them with weedkiller, hoeing off annual weeds. 

Theres no right or wrong. 

I used wet newspaper covered in bark to cover an overgrown piece of garden similar in size to yours. ....it has done a very good job of keeping weeds at bay.   Newspaper needs to be 6/8 sheets thick.   Simply cut through the wet paper whenever you want to plant your trees.  No plastic necessary. .....newspaper is biodegradable.  

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josusa47

Or corrugated cardboard.  Your local shops will probably be glad for you to take some away.

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