Ask a Question forum→Please help! How long will it take for the natural plants to grow back!?

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Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria
Sweetie
Feb 6, 2021 12:00 AM CST


[Last edited by Sweetie - Feb 12, 2021 1:45 PM (+)]
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Name: Lynda Horn
Arkansas (Zone 7b)
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gardenfish
Feb 6, 2021 2:21 AM CST
Welcome! I do understand your horror at what has happened. But it may not be as bad as it appears. Whether it grow back or not depends on how far down the surface was stripped. It's possible that some of the root system of the grasses remain, and if they do, the grass may come back. Now I'm not certain why you would want weeds to come back, but I can tell you that certain plants we call weeds are so hard to get rid of when we want to get rid of them, they might return, too.
I'm concerned most about whatever garden or landscape plants wer removed. Do you know what kind? Did this area have shrubs, or small trees? Flowering plants such as roses? These would not be as likely to return.
As you say, it is February. Right now my own lawn, which is some really nice grass, looks dead. This is natural for winter. As soon as it warms up here the grass will wake up from its winter sleep and start turning green. By April I will be having to mow, and complaining about it! I would say wait until at least April before trying to determine if you have no grass left.
I believe you could perhaps get some relief in court if you choose to pursue the manner that you are having with the realtor who sold you the property. Here in the US, if you signed paperwork to buy a house, and there was a specific clause that you were purchasing the entire property as is, which would include not only the house but the landscaping itself, you could sue this person in court for breach of contract. However, if you didn't express to the realtor your desire to keep the landscaping intact, he might have assumed that you would have wanted it this way, and by removing the existing plant material he was acting under his perceived ideas that this would be what you wanted.
So, that would be a breakdown in communication, the results of which are this; that the realtor really thought he would please you by removing the plant material.
So, in order to make lemonade form the lemons you were handed, if nothing returns, you have a golden opportunity to regard this as a blank slate to design your garden dreams on. Essentially you would be starting from scratch, and while this can be expensive at the onset, you won't have to be removing such landscaping plant material that was already there to install your dream garden!

“ Be kind whenever possible”
14th Dalai Lama
Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria
Sweetie
Feb 6, 2021 6:30 AM CST
[Last edited by Sweetie - Feb 12, 2021 1:45 PM (+)]
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Name: Lynda Horn
Arkansas (Zone 7b)
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gardenfish
Feb 6, 2021 6:44 AM CST
Wow, I'm just not sure! I really do hurt for you! I'm hoping some other members will come on and give you some more excellent advice.
I still think and have confidence you can turn this around, though. Whatever path you take, I will support you every step of the way. Thumbs up
“ Be kind whenever possible”
14th Dalai Lama
Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
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BigBill
Feb 6, 2021 6:44 AM CST
In America, we solve these problems with a law suit. If you went to contract to buy this house and property and when you said yes, the realtor rapes the land without your permission, then he/she is responsible to restore it at their expense. They just can not do what they think is right after a contract is singed. They can't read your mind.

It is not the end of the world but it sounds like miscommunication!

But again, I have no idea of how things work in Bulgaria BUT I would refuse to complete the purchase and live somewhere else.
Rodney Wilcox Jones, my idol!
Businessman, Orchid grower, hybridizer, lived to 107!
[Last edited by BigBill - Feb 6, 2021 6:49 AM (+)]
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Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria
Sweetie
Feb 6, 2021 6:55 AM CST
This was done "for me" after I purchased, after the deal was done. They thought they were helping me. It's devastated me. I went from thinking I was buying my dream home/land, to crying every day.
Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
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BigBill
Feb 6, 2021 7:19 AM CST
It was done after you purchased? And in Bulgaria you do not have any legal recourse? Man that sucks!
But don't worry, I would think most of it will grow back but it won't be overnight.
Rodney Wilcox Jones, my idol!
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Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria
Sweetie
Feb 6, 2021 7:28 AM CST
Hi Big Bill,
I had a big Bill once too!

Thank you for your reply.

When do you think it will grow back? I'd like a hard estimate. Do you think May is enough time?
Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
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BigBill
Feb 6, 2021 7:45 AM CST
It will most likely be in stages, flowers and grasses first then shrubs will leaf out and grow and fill in. I would imagine that within 3 months you will see a large improvement and by late summer, it should look real good. But it will take 5-8 years to recover completely but it should look pretty good in about six months.
You must keep in mind that catastrophic damage does heal in a month or two.
Rodney Wilcox Jones, my idol!
Businessman, Orchid grower, hybridizer, lived to 107!
[Last edited by BigBill - Feb 6, 2021 7:46 AM (+)]
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Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria
Sweetie
Feb 6, 2021 7:54 AM CST
Hi!
Thank you again for your reply. I understood everything but your last sentence. I'm a novice/newbie. Can you expand on that last part? And how does that relate to the 5-8 years part? Thank you again for this information. I don't know what to do or what to expect.
Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria
Sweetie
Feb 6, 2021 7:57 AM CST


[Last edited by Sweetie - Feb 12, 2021 1:46 PM (+)]
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Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
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BigBill
Feb 6, 2021 8:18 AM CST
By that I mean that you will see some scars, some damage for years to come. But after 5-8 years I would hope that the landscape is almost completely healed.
90-95% of the damage will heal quicker, but it is that last little bit that can take the most time.
Rodney Wilcox Jones, my idol!
Businessman, Orchid grower, hybridizer, lived to 107!
Name: GERALD
Lockhart, Texas (Zone 8b)
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IntheHotofTexas
Feb 6, 2021 8:57 AM CST
It's going to grow back, but probably not like you wish.

I think you're going to have to be proactive here if you want something close to natural. Many, many obnoxious weeds appear anywhere land is disturbed, for instance, farmed. Once under the plow, there's no going back to native grassland without a lot of effort.

You probably won't opt for the effort of coming back better than before. But if the ground was the more typical urban lot type of place, it may be largely a matter of keeping major opportunistic weeds down by selectively destroying them as they appear. It's important to get onto them promptly, before they can seed or, if it's their way, send rhizomes out colonizing.

There are such products as "weed and feed", targeting specific types of "weeds" and feeding lawn grasses. There are also things that can be seeded and that will compete with unwanted plants. (The definition of "weed" is simply an unwanted plant.) It might be a great time to look into native grasses and wildflowers you can seed. You may be able to look upon this as the gift of a first step in doing that.

Ask some nursery people about what is available and appropriate.

Here are some resources. Some may be unable to help directly or may be involved in very large projects, but they can all give advise and references to local groups.

https://www.balkep.org/the-bio...
https://balkanecologyproject.b...
http://razsadniknanovski.bg/
http://www.greenbelt.biodivers...

Every region has its native grasses that have suffered greatly from stock-raising and development. There are many efforts to reestablish native grasses. It's a big topic here in Texas where the old natives have been hugely reduced by grazing, and a lot of effort is going into restoring them. Any Internet resources on reestablishing native grasses will apply everywhere, even if it's different grasses.

I think that since this has been done, unfortunately, it's best looked at as an opportunity to create something special. You may find there's more help out there than you know.
Name: John
Scott County, KY (Zone 5b)
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ViburnumValley
Feb 6, 2021 10:38 AM CST
I see that Gerald/IntheHotofTexas got in ahead of me while I was e-pontificating. Except for starting with herbicides, I will add to his words similarly with some of my own.
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Sweetie should tell us more of the story; we're all newbies to yours.

Are you already a resident of Bulgaria? If so, you could tell us more about the climate: when does it warm up enough to go outside in shorts, versus having to wear a coat to work in the garden? While waiting for your response, I'll look up Bulgaria's hardiness zones. It looks like Veliko Tarnovo is in the 7a/7b region. That sounds like Tennessee to me, like around the Tennessee or Cumberland River valleys. Is your property close to the Yantra River?

https://www.plantmaps.com/inte...

If you are not a resident, how much do you know about this property other than from pictures? Did you visit the property when things were growing? How long had the previous owners tended these gardens? Do you know what any of the plants are, or were you given any information about it that you can share? Do you know whether the previous owners ever grew vegetables, or anything like that on this property? Did they have pets or keep any animals in this area?

There a lot of legalistic ideas being mentioned related to the United States, but I would imagine that there are differences between here and Bulgaria. Until an attorney from Sofia drops in to comment, I suspect that will be a dead end discussion. However, if you want to have the realtor/seller make amends, you can ask for some corrective actions. This bell can't be unrung - meaning the disturbance has already happened.

It looks to me like the property had a small plow or tiller run over the grassy/weedy areas, but that the places with vines on trellises and the small trees were relatively undisturbed. This is why I asked my questions above. Purely speculating, the previous owners could have grown vegetables or other things regularly in all this space, and tilling the ground in the winter to allow the freeze/thaw cycles to break up clods and work in compost are absolutely normal activities in preparation for spring's renewal and planting. Almost every nursery in the country that field-grows woody plants cultivates between rows and often between plants to reduce weedy/grassy competition, and to turn under green or composted nutrients. This also allows increased rainfall/moisture infiltration, versus poor permeability and increased runoff on compacted mistreated soils. Yes, there are no-till practices that are increasingly used, but plowing/tilling is still common. I suspect that the "good deed" intended was just that: to better prepare compacted soils, recycle the spent annual plant parts back into the soil, and present a "clean slate" for the new year's growth. Just not what you expected or wanted.

That said: there is going to be a riotous "seed bank" (meaning: lots of seeds waiting to sprout that have either been below the soil surface, or laying on the soil surface waiting for spring) that will sprout and emerge as the soil warms in late winter and early spring. Everyone who gardens will be able to tell stories of the relative sequence of wintercress, chickweed, henbit, deadnettle, thistles, Queen Anne's Lace, wild onions, and every other annual "weed" or wildflower that gets going before we go out to plant annuals, vegetables, and other garden plants. I suspect Bulgaria is not exempt from this process of life as a harbinger of spring (that's a wildflower name, too). What you need to do is have the plowing/tilling smoothed out before that happens. That's what I'd ask the realtor/previous owner to do. It can be done in a variety of ways, but raking or dragging with a small implement will do the job. Demand that this be done when the soil is relatively DRY, not while wet and muddy.

Then, it will just be a matter of time before things green up. Seeds already in this soil will germinate with the sun's warmth, and you will have greenery across this current rich dark soil - likely starting in late February and continuing through March and April. From what I can see, it was somewhat sparsely grassy/weedy in the picture you've shown, so with new seeds sprouting it may be BETTER than what you imagined, with fuller and more even coverage in the disturbance area.

You may find that hard to believe, I understand. But anyone who has tilled the ground or turned over shovelfuls of soil is constantly amazed at what new is found growing, effortlessly. It usually is not something they want (as gardeners), but it is the richness of life. You have stated that you liked the grasses and weeds that were there. I'll predict that all of those will be back, and then some.

So, while the warning is always Caveat emptor, you can move forward and Carpe diem !
John
Name: Zoë
Albuquerque, New Mexico (Zone 7b)
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NMoasis
Feb 6, 2021 11:01 AM CST
Sweetie, do you actually know what was growing in that yard? Looking at your photos, I see vines in arbors and established trees and shrubs in the borders still standing, but it is winter and they are bare. Do you know in fact that the tilled open area held native grasses or wildflowers (did you see them in bloom?) or if it was an unkempt patch of noxious invasive weeds? I agree that "weeds" can be a subjective term, but many invasive species choke out other desirable plants and form unpleasant burrs and thorns that you wouldn't want to walk in or lie down on if they were left to spread.

I agree with Gardenfish—if bedding plants such iris or roses were uprooted, they probably won't return, but I don't see evidence of cultivated beds in your photo. It appears to have been a lawn or possibly abandoned veggie garden long disused and given over to patchy weedy growth.

New growth on tilled soil is definitely going to emerge as the weather warms...you'll be seeing green within a few short weeks. If there were native grasses, they will likely return, as will opportunistic growth and you'll need to decide what you want in that area. The trees, shrubs and vines will leaf out. If you have in mind a wild, grassy field, obtain some grass and wildflower seed and broadcast it freely over the tilled area. Some things will take hold, some won't, but the effect will most likely be the kind of environment you're describing.

I see a beautiful yard with intact existing plants—grape(?) vines, fruit trees, an old enclosed veggie bed—that will bring you tremendous joy and that will require some upkeep, knowledge and hard work. In the tilled area, I don't see what will take 5-8 years to re-establish. I think you'll be surprised at how quickly your yard will spring back. Have a bit of patience and optimism. Nature is resilient Thumbs up

Edit to add: ViburnumValley said what I was trying to, but way better. I totally agree!

For me, gardening is really just an excuse for playing in the dirt. Admittedly, plants are a satisfying by-product.
[Last edited by nmoasis - Feb 6, 2021 11:05 AM (+)]
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Name: John
Scott County, KY (Zone 5b)
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ViburnumValley
Feb 6, 2021 11:16 AM CST
@ nmoasis:

I just said it with an Ohio River valley Bluegrass region Kentucky accent, y'all...
John
Southwest U.S. (Zone 7a)
MsDoe
Feb 6, 2021 12:51 PM CST
Dear Sweetie, please don't be so terribly upset!
This looks to me like an area that was once a beloved and well tended garden. It has been abandoned as a garden, and is now a patch of weeds on disturbed soil. It is nowhere close to a native or natural area. It has most likely been mowed, tilled, possibly sprayed with herbicide, and otherwise treated multiple times to prevent a forest of undesirable plants. Sighing!
It's now winter, and all those weed seeds are just waiting for Spring to start up again. If that is indeed the look you like, don't worry, they'll be back. I suggest you plan on mowing this lot regularly, just keep it trimmed down to a reasonable height.
If you have any interest in gardening, I think you could make this into a wonderful vegetable and flower garden. This would take a lot of work, but could be quite rewarding.
If you wish to restore it to native plants, it may be even more work than creating a garden. I would start by learning to recognize the truly undesirable invasives, and prevent them from becoming established. See if you can get seeds for local native grasses and wildflowers, try to get them to grow instead of the weeds.
Meet the neighbors, see what they are growing, and find out what was on your lot before it was left to go to seed. Gardening is a great excuse for meeting people.
Bulgaria sounds lovely, enjoy your move even if you have to "re-think" some of your expectations! Please let us know how this works out for you.
Welcome!
Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria
Sweetie
Feb 6, 2021 1:00 PM CST
[Last edited by Sweetie - Feb 12, 2021 1:46 PM (+)]
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Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria
Sweetie
Feb 6, 2021 1:06 PM CST
[Last edited by Sweetie - Feb 12, 2021 1:47 PM (+)]
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Name: John
Scott County, KY (Zone 5b)
You can't have too many viburnums..
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ViburnumValley
Feb 6, 2021 1:20 PM CST
It can be cathartic to release/express feelings; understood.

However, despite actions taken without your permission, the "original condition" image you provided does not indicate anything abandoned. That picture shows very recent disturbance, like maybe grazing animals or something. On fertile soils, an abandoned lot like this would have so much vertical vegetation that it would not be able to be seen through to adjoining properties, buildings, or even the trellised vines evident. Something is absent from this story, but that is beside the point.

I see that opinions offered here will not be helpful, so I will bow out to other endeavors.
John

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