The Q&A Archives: weeds, stumps

Question: ok, I just cleared out a forest in my back yard. I still have some pine trees and a big gumball tree. I have been clearing out the weeds by hand and also spraying them and putting weed control on them. any idea as to how to get rid of them? should I hire a stump removal co.? a tiller? or should I just dump a lot of mulch and it will go away? should I put plastic down? I would like to put a swing set and plant around it in the near future. Are pine trees and leaves a good sourch of 'mulch'? should i just leave them on that area? Also, I have a big problem with pest. I nocided it as I was doing my landscaping. Ants, roaches, ect. Another quest. the roots of the big gum tree are up on the surface, does that mean the tree will fall one day? should I get rid of it? I would like to keep it, can I put top soil over it to have some grass come up??
thank you, Joanna

Answer: Gardening around trees can be difficult. The surface roots do not indicate a risk of falling assuming the tree is healthy. Pine needles are a good mulch material, especially for plants that prefer an acidic soil. The stumps will eventually rot away, however grinding is an immediate result. Grass generally does not grow in a shady area, so if the trees shade the area you may want to consider using a groundcover or simple mulched area there instead. Your local county extension should be able to help you analyze the growing conditions there, test the soil, and if appropriate, recommend the best variety of turf grass to plant. They will also be able to give you detailed instructions on how to prepare the soil and plant the grass, as well as maintain it in the long run. Many insects do occur normally and naturally outdoors, they are part of the natural cycles of growth and decay. Not all insects are harmful, so you may not need to take steps to control them. Your county extension should be able to help you identify the specific insects you are seeing and determine if any of them might be detrimental, if so they will have the most up to date recommendations on how to control them. In future, please try to limit your question to one topic at a time so we can answer more thoroughly.

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