Daylilies forum: how to prepare land

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Name: Mayo
The Netherlands, Europe (Zone 9a)
Region: Europe Cat Lover Daylilies Irises Dog Lover Hellebores
Rabbit Keeper Container Gardener Organic Gardener
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Mayo62
May 24, 2016 9:35 AM CST
I have a question for all of you who have turned meadows or other 'wild' land into borders.

I can get a piece of land that hasn't been worked for 5 years and is full of weeds and grass Thumbs down
If I accept it I want to use it for (more!) Daylilies and my (current and future) seedlings, ofcourse Rolling on the floor laughing

My question to you is: how did you work the land to get rid of the weeds and grass? Shrug!
Did you use a machine, did you do it by hand, use some chemical (blègh!!), or... ?


Mayo
a DL flower a day keeps the doctor away
Name: Sabrina
Italy, Brescia (Zone 8b)
Love daylilies and making candles!
Daylilies Cat Lover Region: Europe Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Level 1
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cybersix
May 25, 2016 1:36 PM CST
Good news Mayo!
You can't use chemicals I guess because they will stay there and affect your plants when you'll plant them here.
I don't know how to get rid of a lot of weeds and grass. To work the soil if the place is big you'll need some kind of machine.
I'd love to find a small piece of land here, but there's none free near me.
Sabrina, North Italy
My blog: http://hemerocallisblog.com
Name: Kevin Smith
INDIANA (Zone 5b)
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kssmith
May 25, 2016 7:40 PM CST
First off, how much land? If its acres then its out of my area of knowledge. I just dig up the grass with a good shovel and take off the first several inches of clay. Then i add things like composted cow manure, peat and maybe some sand if its not sandy already. Here in Indiana we have plenty of clay. We must be one of the worlds top clay pot suppliers. Lol.
Anyhow then i till it in again and again. If i am not satisfied by the color i add some more good stuff and till again and again. Make sure you have no low lying areas. Last year i did not build up high enough and lost a few starts to heaving and rot.
But if you have a lot of land, rent a tractor or backhoe. Good luck.
SO MANY DAYLILYS, SO LITTLE LAND
Name: Barb
Quincy, FL (Zone 8b)
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Dragonkeep
May 25, 2016 9:33 PM CST
My land was planted pine forest. I had 35-40 acres (of my 88 acres total) timbered out leaving hardwoods and some scattered pines. I drove from Florida to the Virginia/West Virginia border and purchased a stumpgrinder that fits the 3-point hitch of my 28hp New Holland tractor. I spent the next 1 1/2 years going down the rows of planted pines, 450 trees/acre, grinding out stumps along the way. We burned the debris remaining, attempting to level the fields as I went. That didn't work as well as I wanted but, time wasn't our friend then. About 1/2 was cleared enough for horse pastures, hay production, etc, leaving the rest for future projects a couple of U-Pick muscadine grapes, blueberries, blackberries, etc. I took soil samples down to the Ag station and had them analyzed, then raised the pH a bit and added fertilizer recommended by the station manager. When I downsized my horses from 8 to 4, I turned my stallion's small pasture into an area for growing veggies.

That transformation began with letting the manure age and cutting all the vegetation really short. I ordered a huge dump truck load of mushroom compost from the local mushroom farm, spread it out onto the projected daylily bed, the 4 ft wide stripes for food production, then put the rototiller on the back of the tractor and rototilled all the manure, compost, and vegetation into a fine soil. We did pull out any vegetation that remained. In the daylily garden, I planted the daylilies, placed several folded pages of black and white newsprint between the plants topping it off with a few inches of pine chip mulch. For the veggie garden, it was a similar process, but I lined the rototilled stripes with good landscape fabric before planting the veggies, then mulching. In both of these cases, water was sent out by rainbirds.

This time for the new daylily garden, more mushroom compost was rototilled in. Believe me, it is worth its weight in gold to rent or pay someone with the equipment to do the spreading of compost and recommended additives to the soil. Unless you are doing hundreds of acres, a couple of acres can be worked in a day or two without breaking your back. Then level it a bit with a rake, roll out your landscape fabric (use the better stuff), put in your alfalfa pellets and whatever distinct fertilizer (e.g., Osmocote) with your plants. This time to keep a lot of moisture off the leaves, we are rolling out irrigation tubing down the center of the 4 ft stripes with smaller tubing with 1 or 1/2 gallon per hour metering nozzles going to each plant. We figure that keeping so much water off the leaves may help with rust. We still get enough rain in Florida to wash the plants off on a regular basis. After the irrigation tubing is finished - connected to the timers, we will be covering the landscape fabric with 3 or 4 inches of mulch. Because we still have a fair number of pines, we thought we would use pine needles (unless someone here says, "Good Lord, don't do that with daylilies - xxx is better!".

This is the project we are currently working on now, so I don't have a final outcome of how this will really work - but it seems like a good plan. I know that using a good, thick landscape fabric and the mulch will prevent light getting to any remaining seeds in the soil which will cut down on weeding. Eventually, I wouldn't mind taking that soil and elevating it up a couple of feet, in lined concrete raised beds, that will keep me from bending over quite so much. I knew what I wanted to end up with and cut down on intense labor, reliance on memory (did I water those plants?) to get a fairly easy-to-care-for garden.

Hope this helps!
“Because we all share this planet earth, we have to learn to live in harmony and peace with each other and with nature. This is not just a dream, but a necessity.”
― Dalai Lama
Name: Valerie
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Irises Roses Peonies Butterflies Birds
Bee Lover Region: Canadian Ponds Garden Art Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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touchofsky
May 26, 2016 7:43 AM CST
Barb,
Wow, quite a project. I have a small pine plantation on my fifty acres (7 acres pine), and have a lot of pine needles. I have found that daylilies and hosta do not mind pine needles!

Weedyseedy
May 26, 2016 8:44 AM CST
Depending on the size of the area you need some farmer with a tiller or a plow. turn it, plant it to a cover crop, ( my father planted a couple of acres of buckwheat to start a vegetable garden to feed us) Plow it under, plant rye in the Fall, turn that under in the Spring and it might be tillable. Of course a few loads of manure first and mixed cover crops with legumes or I guess people plant deep rooted radishes would help. I keep dreaming about starting some new, small, daylily beds but arthritis will stop me from spading, one or two years is to long to plant when your eighty so I think I'll just go fishing.
Thumb of 2016-05-26/Weedyseedy/5b9103


Weedyseedy
May 26, 2016 8:47 AM CST
I finally managed to post the above photo-I don't think I will even attempt to reclaim it--this is Eden after the Fall.
Name: Mayo
The Netherlands, Europe (Zone 9a)
Region: Europe Cat Lover Daylilies Irises Dog Lover Hellebores
Rabbit Keeper Container Gardener Organic Gardener
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Mayo62
May 26, 2016 5:33 PM CST
thank you all for your advice Thumbs up

Wow, I get dizzy thinking about the acreage you all have to work and transform! Sad
It made me realise that my 215 m2 is peanuts and that I shouldn't worry too much about it Whistling

I've found a friend of a friend of a friend who is willing and able to do whatever I want Thumbs up
what will probably be: getting rid of the top layer with the weeds and roots and replacing it with sand, soil and other goodies Hilarious!

I will (try to) make photo's along the way to keep you all posted on the progress Lovey dubby


Mayo

a DL flower a day keeps the doctor away
Name: Barb
Quincy, FL (Zone 8b)
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Dragonkeep
May 26, 2016 8:43 PM CST
That sounds great. Remember that when you are setting it up to design in "easy (easier) to tend". Life happens and if you have that ace in your back pocket, you will be able to handle anything with grace. Have fun with this project and congratulations on acquiring the use of the land and most importantly, friends that will support your dreams!
“Because we all share this planet earth, we have to learn to live in harmony and peace with each other and with nature. This is not just a dream, but a necessity.”
― Dalai Lama

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