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Southern Minnesota
penguing1227
Aug 5, 2017 2:21 PM CST
back story: We bought a house last fall. The previous owner was rarely home and so had just planted things that didn't really need maintenance. We thought it odd that there was so many different things in the back but the front was literally just weed blocker with mulch over it, no plants.So we pulled up the weed blocker and found 2-5 inch tree stumps all over. We just turned the dirt as much as we could and scattered wild flower seeds.
Well the flowers did not grow but the trees and various other plants sure did. There are flowers with spikes, some with berries, other greenery, and each stump sprouted about a dozen branch offs. I tried to dig to see if I could excavate the stumps but they are too deep for me to do. I can't afford to have a pro come out yet, though I will start saving up. I did read that if you drill holes in the stump and fill with salt it will kill the stump.
That said Will I be able to plant something over it for the time being? I will be getting rid if the trees, they are too close to the house to let them grow. But until I get someone out to take care of them can I just put down weed blocker and topsoil on that and grow something in 1-2 inches of topsoil? or am I doomed to have a bare area or weed blocker infeont of my house until then?
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
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dyzzypyxxy
Aug 5, 2017 2:29 PM CST
Hi and welcome. What a shame they covered up your front yard tree problem with mulch.

Don't use salt on the stumps. Drill holes and put in a product called "Stump Rot" that's available at big box stores or any garden center. By next spring, the stumps should at least be dead so they won't sprout up when you plant around them.

You need more than 1 to 2 inches of topsoil though. Dig wherever you can, make mounds of topsoil 10in. or so high, and plant perennial flowers in them this fall. Things like irises and daylilies will give you some good looking foliage and a few flowers the first year, then just keep getting bigger and better every year after. Nurseries give big discounts on perennials towards the end of the growing season, September into October. Mulch them well for the winter, and they'll be ready to take off next spring.

Btw, your County Extension service is a great resource for beginning gardeners. They have lots of great information, classes and free advice from Master Gardeners. Get to know them.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Southern Minnesota
penguing1227
Aug 5, 2017 2:52 PM CST
Thank you for the advice! I'm not terribly worried about getting the stumps out, as long as they stop growing. So Next week, When the rain stops I will be making a trip to the store. Hopefully all the rain we are supposed to get will help so I can dig. The dirt is just dry and packed I'm having issues breaking through it. So fingers crossed I just have to get muddy and will be able to do something pretty.
There are nurserys everywhere in my small town. So I'm sure I'll be able to find something.

I didn't even know that the County Extension service was a thing! I grew up in townhouses and apartments so I am new to all this.
Southern Minnesota
penguing1227
Aug 5, 2017 2:57 PM CST

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Also any ideas what this is? I almost grabbed it with my cloth gloves. There's 5 of them growing.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Aug 5, 2017 3:31 PM CST
I think its Solanum rostratum (Buffalo Bur Nightshade), native to your area.

Elaine gave you good advice. Let me add that you don't want the landscape fabric - that is what caused your soil to be hard and packed in the first place.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Name: Rj
Just S of the twin cities of M (Zone 4b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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crawgarden
Aug 5, 2017 5:05 PM CST
Sounds like they cut the trees and threw the soil and weed blocker down to clean it up for the sale, that being said you will need to eventually get the stumps out just because they will continue to grow!

Great advice from Daisy, get rid of the landscape fabric... stay away from the rock mulch thing (MN thing), you will still get weeds, it serves as a heat sink and soil will get more alkaline. Go with 3-4" of wood mulch, the soil will improve and its much easier to pull the weeds.

Are we talking Dakota co?

Take a little at a time, or else it becomes overwhelming, welcome to the site!
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Plant Identifier Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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stone
Aug 5, 2017 5:27 PM CST
There is a way to deal with those sapling stumps that doesn't involve dangerous toxins.

I prefer to knock the sprouts off with an axe or mattock.
It usually doesn't take long for most trees to die.

When digging out the stumps....
Use a mattock.
It isn't necessary to get the entire root system... Usually grubbing a stump out once... Is sufficient.

Of course, there are exceptions....
You can consider more drastic approaches with those.... Personally, I just use the mattock again.... No big deal.

I'm not sure why everybody suggests poison as a first line of attack.

Incidentally, did any of the sprouting trees and bushes look like something worth keeping?

They already have a root system.... Would be a lot easier to let something grow back than to work at killing it... Just to plant the same thing later.

Bummer that they thought bush hogging the front area was better than gifting you with shade trees and flowering shrubs....
[Last edited by stone - Aug 5, 2017 5:34 PM (+)]
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Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
Frugal Gardener Garden Procrastinator I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest
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RickCorey
Aug 7, 2017 2:05 PM CST
Fortunately the chemical approach to stump removal doesn't require toxins.

Most stump-removing products are just potassium nitrate, a very concentrated fertilizer (13-0-48). It might be concentrated enough to be toxic to the cells right around the holes you drill, and any xylem or phloem that dissolved, concentrated potassium nitrate flows through.

But mostly, by the time it leaches out of the stump or is consumed by microbes in the stump, it becomes the plant nutrients K+ (potassium) and NO3- (nitrate).

I used to think about burning out stumps, or putting Drano / sodium hydroxide into holes to digest the wood. KNO3 is much better for soil and other living systems.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
Frugal Gardener Garden Procrastinator I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest
Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database.
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RickCorey
Aug 7, 2017 2:14 PM CST
I agree strongly with Stone:

>> Incidentally, did any of the sprouting trees and bushes look like something worth keeping?

Maybe some that are near the house would stay small enough if allowed to grow back? Many houses have "foundation plantings" right up against the foundation where I would have expe4cted the roots to attack the foundation.

I also agree with Crawgarden:

>> Go with 3-4" of wood mulch, the soil will improve and its much easier to pull the weeds.

Mulch will suppress many new weeds from sprouting and make other new weeds much easier to pull. Not your established tree and bush weeds! Their roots already are deeply embedded in that hard soil.

Best of all, lots of mulch, replenished each year, will feed soften and enrich your nasty soil just like slow-release compost would. And it keeps hot, drying sun off the living soil. And it keeps moisture IN the soil while preventing heavy rain from pounding and puddling your hard soil into muddy clay soup, and then into rock-hard "baked clay".

Enough mulch and compost make anyone a genius gardener.
Southern Minnesota
penguing1227
Aug 7, 2017 2:57 PM CST



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I'm going to say no not worth keeping. The first picture is 3-4 that I haven't cut back again yet. The 2nd is stumps that have been cut back. The "gardening area" in front of the house goes out about 5 feet and across about 8. There's easily a dozen stumps that are sprouting in that area.
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Aug 7, 2017 6:41 PM CST
Get a carpenters one inch drill. There the flat drill bits.
Drill, a quarter inch deep into stump, very close to cadium layer. 4 inch stump. 4 holes.
Fill each hole with straight, full strenght Round-up, two or three times.
Then, basically follow everyone else's instuctions !
IF !!! Your not planting edibles !
😎😎😎
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
Aug 7, 2017 6:48 PM CST
Cambium - the layer just under the bark

Cadium - ?? haven't a clue... Smiling (I love teasing you Phillip with one L)

Why go to all that trouble - just paint the stump with full strength brush killer.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Webmaster: osnnv.org
Southern Minnesota
penguing1227
Aug 7, 2017 7:03 PM CST
Lol thank you for the help! Hopefully I'll get it taken care of this week. My dad was telling me to put pennies on them. I am not really qorried about chemicals or any of that. I have a 2 year old but unless I'm doing yard work, we stay to the back yard. And it's far enough back that I don't have to worry about people on the sidewalk.

I thought about it but I will hopefully be doing edibles in the back yard. But the back yard is a whole other mess. There's trees back there (away from the house) that my neighbor said told us were parasitic. And it looked like they had black spot (do tress even get black spot?). We cut them to the top of the fence and when we replace the fence will finish em off. And there's like 100 other plants, including wild grape vine. Sighing!
Name: Rj
Just S of the twin cities of M (Zone 4b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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crawgarden
Aug 7, 2017 7:52 PM CST
The "black spot" may have been anthracnose, very common especially with all of the moisture we have had this year.
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
Name: Laurie b
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids Tropicals Region: Mexico
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lauriebasler
Aug 7, 2017 11:41 PM CST
Buy and make compost. Amend the heck out of your soil, and you will have the most beautiful and easy care landscape. My house had weed blocker when I got it too. It really destroyed the soil in some areas, and made fixing up the yard a brutally physical chore. Amend, and it will improve faster than you think.

Good luck.
Name: Michelle
Pleasant Lake MI (Zone 6a)
Region: Michigan Canning and food preservation Keeper of Poultry Herbs Organic Gardener Butterflies
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Mizshelli
Aug 8, 2017 8:23 AM CST
Sounds a lot like my yard when we moved in. Tree stumps everywhere, plus we have had to cut down 2 more. They also used plastic landscape fabric in the front garden and planted some ditch bushes (ugly as heck, they were the first to go). They also had yucca growing by the peonies (I kept it all) so I turned that into another garden with a wishing well :). Took me 2 years so far, 3 summers total, but I keep doing little bits here and there, so in about 10 years I will be the envy of the neighborhood. LOL
Is treise an dúchas ná an oiliúint.
(Nature is stronger than nurture)
https://mmhobbyfarm49272.wixsi...
Minnesota (Zone 3b)
RpR
Aug 8, 2017 8:39 AM CST
stone said:
I'm not sure why everybody suggests poison as a first line of attack.
..

You have probably never had to deal with Minnesota standards such as Box Elder, Cotton Wood, Willow and a few other sucker trees that laugh at non-toxic attempts.
Southern Minnesota
penguing1227
Aug 12, 2017 6:13 PM CST
Thank you everyone for all your help!
It rained most of last week and it is supposed to rain this week. I got out to do more trimming today. I put down some landscaping fabric on the area I did before because I have a 2 year old and its a hit and miss how long I get to be outside and I didn't want crap to start growing again lol.
The pile of greenery it stuff I cut down between the corner of the house to the a.c. unit. I drilled holes in the tree bases in the front about an inch down and filled with Epsom salt. There was a bunch of small trees on the side (too small to drill into but too big to dig out) and creeping Charlie so I just threw salt out. Might not do much good just on top of the soil, might just kill everything, that's ok. No one sees that side of the house, not even my neighbors unless mowing the yard, which that side is all clover. I haven't made it to a store for chemicals, which is why I just used salt. At least for now.

Does anyone know what the last picture is? It was a bush type. I thought it was like a hedge but it is super spikey. It was much much bigger but I cut it down, half was dead. As you can see it started re sprouting.
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Southern Minnesota
penguing1227
Aug 12, 2017 6:22 PM CST
This is the Google maps view before the previous owner cut and covered it all.
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