All Things Gardening forum: New house has backyard jungle- help!

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Nanoregi
Jul 2, 2017 3:09 PM CST
My family moved into a new house a month ago. The family that lived in it the 10yrs before we moved in, basically ignored most of the backyard.

The weeds are easily 5ft tall and so thick I had to take a machete to get through it.

I have slowly been making my way through the weed jungle, using a shovel to pull plants up at the roots.

Once I have everything dug up, my plan is to lay down plastic and leave that till next year, then we will lay sod and put in some garden beds for veggies.

My main question is, will laying plastic and leaving it till next spring be enough to have killed any weeds I missed.

I'm just outside of Chicago.
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Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Jul 2, 2017 3:26 PM CST
Before you pull up and kill everything, are you sure they are all 'weeds' and not perennial plants and/or food plants?

Plastic by itself might help, but what I do is lay down some nice thick cardboard (think "free moving boxes") then a layer of plastic. That will keep out all light and most of the rain water and pretty much nothing can grown under it.

You might take photos of some of the plants and post each of them on the Plant ID Forum just in case you have some gems you might like to keep and relocate into your new garden beds. Thumbs up
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Name: Deb
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Bonehead
Jul 2, 2017 3:38 PM CST
You plan sounds good to me - I've had good luck with solar-killing. The addition of cardboard would also be helpful if you can manage that. Most of what I see in your photo is some sort of burdock which is a pretty persistent invasive with a long taproot. Hack away! Hopefully you can get your jungle minimized this summer and have the winter months for planning. Keep your eye out for local green-elephant events (trades of plants, and usually folks will take cookies if you don't have plants to use as currency) or garden club sales (often much less expensive than nurseries). Get to know your neighbors, and ask for their advice - most gardeners are willing to share their bounty. Mail order to me is the most expensive way to purchase plants, and can be dicey if the company is not well vetted. Best of luck, and keep posting photos of your progress. We love to follow along and as Greene notes, might be able to help you spot hidden treasures.
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Jul 2, 2017 3:38 PM CST
I always suggest that new homeowners don't touch the trees, shrubs and plants for a year so they can see what they have and what they might want to keep. Posting some photos in the Plant ID forum is a great idea - you will get a head start on that year's wait. Smiling

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Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Jul 2, 2017 3:54 PM CST
Good idea, although I certainly would not have the patience to wait a full year. Another thought would be to track the sun exposure and wind direction, which can be very instrumental on a yard plan.
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Nanoregi
Jul 2, 2017 4:33 PM CST
Thanks! I have no shortage of moving boxes having just moved. I'll lay that under the plastic.

This is what most of it is (plus about 1ft deep dead leaves):

Thumb of 2017-07-02/Nanoregi/974707


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Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Yardenman
Jul 3, 2017 12:36 AM CST
I have the same situation! But I've lived here years and know the brambles and saplings aren't worth keeping. I had a brushcutter-guy scheduled to clear the are to ground level (after which I would mow), but he injured himself and changed jobs.

I have a weed whacker gas job with a steel blade. I'll have to use that. The wild ivy is going to get sprayed. There is just too much of it for any other choice.

The covering with black plastic is a good idea, but keep in mind that voles will explode in population under the cover of it.
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
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Shadegardener
Jul 3, 2017 7:11 AM CST
If you're trying to solarize the soil with plastic, it's best to use clear plastic and it will take a whole summer to accomplish solarization in the Chicago area. If you're trying to suppress weeds, layer on as much as you can but be prepared for them to resprout in the spring when you uncover and start digging.
Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realize that we can't eat money. Cree proverb

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