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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Minor Yard Work, Part 2

Yesterday, I stopped with some plantings completed and equipment batteries being recharged.

So, they were both charged.  I used the hedge trimmer to cut the seedpods off the Spring bulbs.  It worked wonderfully.  I trimmed the tops off some leaves, but that won't cause any harm.  The leaves with rebuild the bulbs just fine.

Then I pulled out the weed whacker.  It's a powerful one.  A Ryobi 40 volt lithium/ion battery.  Lasts a good 30 minutes.  Lithium/ion batteries take some getting used to.  The battery doesn't weaken and slow down gradually; it just suddenly stops!  Which is actually very nice; you KNOW when it is done, LOL!

I had 2 purposes for it.  First was to cut down the weeds growing between the raised framed garden beds.  That went easily.  The second purpose was to cut down Some Damn Vine.  The neighbor planted it in his backyard years ago.  When he realized how invasive it was, he just mowed it in open territory until it died.

But by that time, it had crept into my backyard.  My backyard is not so open and amenable to mowing.  I have shrubs, I have piles of flat rocks (to be used someday, LOL), I have flowers.  The stuff is worse than forsythia (and I have those from him too).  I can dig out the forythia suckers that sneak in (an annoying annual project) but the vine is not diggable in any practical sense.

So I weed-whacked half of them yesterday (the battery drained).  The idea is that when they are weakened by leaf-loss  and start to grow new leaves I will herbicide them.  I hate using stuff like that, but nothing else has killed them.  I tried boiling water, vinegar, and a propane torch.  The roots are too deep.  I'm going to put large sheets of corrugated cardboard (saved from some flat assemble-yourself bookcases) against my garden enclosure to prevent drift on a windless day and spray them with coarse spray (less wind-drift) very close in short bursts.

Then I will lay the cardboard down on top of the whacked and sprayed vines and put boards on top to keep it in place.  For a YEAR!  I have a spot where I overturned a trash can on them last Summer.  The vines are white, but not dead yet!  If spraying AND covering them won't kill them, I don't know what will

Worse, they are among my fenceline flowerbed.  I can't spray and cover there.  Fortunately (in a sad way) most of the perennials in the invaded area have faded away over the years.  The remaining ones are large and movable (daylilies, sedum 'Autumn Joy' or easy to move like columbines).  The shrubs against the fence are either unwanted ('Golden Euonymous) or about dead (20 year old butterfly bushes).

So there, I'm going to empty the infested part and spray and cover it with black plastic.

The neighbor abandoned the house to the bank last Fall.  I'm thinking of sneaking over there some night and hitting everything within 6' of the fence with Roundup before the place is sold.  I'll have to remove a few fence boards to get at it unobserved...

But I did some positive things too.  I had a LOT of pulled weeds and cut junk saplings.  So I collected the tree debris into a pile (along with a big pile of Winter-fallen tree branches).  I have a trailer-load of that.  I'll bring them to a County recycling place and return with a load of free mulch.

That was enough for the day.  So I went inside and pursued another yard project.  I set up an edged island around a Saucer Magnolia Tree and a 3' boulder I had delivered in place 10 years ago.  I always meant to make a planting island around them, but never did until last year.

I filled the space with 3" of fallen leaves and 3" of compost, assuming it would smother the grass.  It mostly did, but there were some places the grass can through.  I raked the leaves and compost off those areas, laid down packing paper (I save that stuff that comes in shipping boxes).  It's 2' wide and up to 20' long.  So I laid that down on the exposed grass (like I should have all over the island originally) and raked the compost back over it.  That should pretty much take care of the grass.

I planted 50 red 'Fanal' Astilbe nearest the house there, but they didn't take as much space as I thought.  Well, the whole new idea for the front yard is to plant stuff deer don't like.  BTW, I got most of the Astilbes on eBay at a great price (this is no ad, just saying).. Most places are $90/25, eBay offerred them $60/25.  And they were growing and healthy, not bare-roots).

So I went inside and really searched for truly deer-resistant shade-tolerant perennials.  There are lots of lists and few agree.  But I found a GREAT spreadsheet listing plants by degree of deer-resistance.  Do take a look at it.

The site divides plants into 4 categories of deer-resistance; and gives the common name, Latin name, and type (annual, perennial, groundcover, grass, shrub, tree).  I was sad to see that Astilbes are only "Seldom Severely Damaged".  But I got a good list of "Rarely Damaged" shade tolerant perennials to fill the rest of the area.

Some are ones I already have in abundance.  Japanese Painted Ferns, Bishop's Weed, and Ajuga (Bugle Weed).  But there were also some others I liked that I don't have.  Lamb's Ear, Lenten Rose, Lungwort (Pulmonaria), and Spurge (Euphorbia).  If you know anything bad about those last ones, please tell me.

1 comment:

Megan said...

Did you ever consider further the notion of buying the house next door as an investment property?

Does that list indicate which plants are wallaby proof by any chance???

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