The approach of Winter is pushing me to get some yardwork done. My knee is about back to normal as long as don't kneel on something hard (walking is general fine again even stairs feel normal).
I have several projects to complete. The major one is a 1/3 of the backyard that has become overgrown with ivy, volunteer saplings, and blackberries. What a weird combination!
I attacked it 2x this week. I can cut down the saplings with loppers (a few demand a saw), but getting at the blackberries is horrible. They drape over in a circle, so every one I cut HAS to fall on me and grabs my skin and clothes like an angry cat. I was spending more time getting each individual came loose from me than cutting them.
The area is 50'x65' and that is not going to work. The job requires EQUIPMENT! I priced those glorified gas-powered ground surface hedge-trimmers and decent ones start at $2500. Not the best idea for something I'm not likely to use again. So I called a couple of brush-hoggers.
One came by today. He just cuts everything off at groundlevel. A high-powered mowing and debris removal service. That might be good enough depending on the price. With that, I would have a clear area. I have a good roto-tiller and used it back there once.
It's rough work, but if all that is left is 1" stubs and roots, it WILL tear them out and a regular mower will keep them cropped until the roots are exhausted and die. I can handle THAT.
I would PREFER someone to come in with a small bulldozer and scrape the soil a couple inches deep, remove the plant debris, them spread the soil out smoothly. I haven't found someone to do that yet.
Landscapers want to turn everything into lawn or planted areas with their own shrubs and flowers. I don't want that.
Excavators just want to flatten everything in sight and leave the debris in place. They really don't want to mess with removing piles of brambles.
Part of the problem is that it is a tricky area. There is a 9' diameter pond needing a new liner and a 40' water raceway uphill that flows pumped water down into the pond. They don't want to get close to that.
I may have to take what I can get and try to do what I can afterwards. But at least on this, I am willing to pay someone to do the rough work.
This is all because I had some trees that were shading my garden removed. As some as they were removed, the space under them received a lot more sunlight. I knew I had ivy around, but the blackberries were a complete surprise. They just erupted out of no where. I assume the tree shade prevented them from growing before.
So here is my plan. I have five 2' tall specimen trees (2 korean dogwoods and 3 sourwoods) that should grow only about 20' high. They won't shade my garden. But they shold shade the ground around them to replace the shade that kept the blackberries and ivy from growing. The ground under the older taller junk trees was nearly bare. I'm hoping for a return to that.
I will help the 5 specimen trees grow by surrounding them with scrap carpet. Carpet lets water through but not plants up. I done that with many shrubs and trees and it works great.
The trees I bought are not yet dormant. I water them every couple of days waiting for the cold weather.
If it works, I will have lovely Spring and Fall small trees in the back, no wild growth, and no new shade on the garden.