Author Topic: Cleaning up a mess  (Read 3398 times)

Offline Gray

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Cleaning up a mess
« on: July 13, 2016, 11:25:22 AM »
Hey folks. I'm looking for some help in cleaning up my yard.
Here's the details:
When we moved into this house the back yard had not been kept up for nearly 20 years. It was absolutely overrun with privy bush (that's what the arborist called it). It was thick enough in most areas that you could not access the two barns on our property. We had someone come in and rip it all out with a mini excavator. He did a good job getting most of the root balls but there are still many roots in the ground that are sticking up or barely below the surface.
We now have an extra half acre of usable land which is fantastic. I have been using a borrowed tractor and box blade to smooth the ground and clean up some of the roots but a lot still remains.
My question is this: What can I do to stop these roots from growing back, or will they? I can pull up the roots but there are thousands of them. Could I spread hay or mulch to suffocate them?
Any advice is appreciated.

Offline Carl

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Re: Cleaning up a mess
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2016, 03:35:45 PM »
You have to KILL or remove the PRIVET root as the plant is quite tough.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uTr1rtGn3Wg

Offline I.L.W.

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Re: Cleaning up a mess
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2016, 07:19:31 PM »
It requires repeat cutting to kill. Get a brush hog or a decent lawn mower, set the blades to 5" from the ground and mow them. Next week, lower the deck by ΒΌ" and mow again. Repeat this process until they stop growing back. Every time the last cut scabs off, you cut it just a little lower and keep the cut open to desiccate the roots through the stems.

You can use a flame weeder (I highly recommend them, best $50 I ever spent). You'll need to make 5-10 passes over the area, perhaps once a week.
Alternatively, you can buy a rubber sheet (like a pond liner) and spread it over the area for 6 weeks, that should kill it.

You could use glyphosphates, but I really don't like using them personally.

Offline never_retreat

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Re: Cleaning up a mess
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2016, 09:14:54 PM »
Not familiar with the exact plant in question, but could you just roto til it under?

Offline I.L.W.

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Re: Cleaning up a mess
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2016, 09:46:03 PM »
Not if they're 20+ years old. The root system is very tough and resilient (prone to resprouting), but brittle enough that it's hard to get all of the root out of the ground. Similar to Barberry, but resprouts easier. You need a bad-assed PTO tiller on a serious tractor to make a real dent in it. A lot of it is probably younger growth which would be easily removed, but if there's some old plants in there, it could be a real pain working around them.

That's the real problem. Young roots are delicate, easily pulled but break off and resprout. Old roots are tough and take a lot of force to remove. You can't easily till the young growth if it means working around older growth, and the brute force to remove the old growth will shear the young roots and make them spring up even more, lol.

You could dig around the old stumps and winch them out, then till the remaining area. That's a lot of work, but effective and wouldn't take more than a day or two with the right equipment. I prefer the constant pressure methods which are a lot less work and require no real equipment to implement, but they can take a while.

Could throw up some hog panels and let some pigs root in there. That'll do it.

Offline jd350az

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Re: Cleaning up a mess
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2016, 09:47:15 PM »
Wish you could send it to me, I need something invasive :P lol, I may plant dandelion on my land when I get it, need something to take hold and help itself propagate

Offline Gray

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Re: Cleaning up a mess
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2016, 10:03:15 PM »
I appreciate the replies. I'm not sure what I will try first.


Wish you could send it to me, I need something invasive :P lol, I may plant dandelion on my land when I get it, need something to take hold and help itself propagate

I wouldn't wish this stuff on my worst enemy. The majority of them had stumps 8+"in diameter. Many of the roots are a couple inches in diameter and one I was able to pull up was 10' or so long. The 30hp John Deere I am using couldn't spin a big enough roto-tiller for these roots.

Another issue with the roots is their close proximity to other roots of existing trees. Most of the area is shaded over by old oaks and other trees I do not want to damage.

Herbicides sound easy but again I don't want to damage the old trees plus I would like to have some grass or clover growing at some point.

I will try to get some pictures tomorrow to show yall what I am working with.

Offline I.L.W.

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Re: Cleaning up a mess
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2016, 10:57:03 PM »
Anything over 4" in diameter, just use a stump-grinder. You can rent them pretty cheap for a day.

Offline Gray

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Re: Cleaning up a mess
« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2016, 07:17:51 AM »
The stumps are all gone. The excavator made short work of those. Just lots of roots in the ground

Offline 12th man

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Re: Cleaning up a mess
« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2016, 01:57:53 PM »
not sure what that plant is, but repeated mowing is definitely the way to go if you can. Just pretend it inst there and mow frequently.  Might take a few years.

You could also see if it is something goats or pig will eat.