Monday, July 15, 2019

My NonHerbicide Method (or experiment)? For Reclaiming My Overgrown Weedy Garden Site

I love deer.
They use our place as a refuge with lots of forest, water, "edge" habitat, no free-running dogs, and a deer buffet, aka "a garden".
In fact, they love the buffet/garden part so much that I had pretty much stopped traditional gardening, until last year...

Fenceless deer fence corner gate area

In 2018, I started installing very tall posts around a 50 by 50-foot section of the "garden area". I did this incrementally as time and my budget allowed. 
All of the posts are now up and I have 2 big rolls of deer fence (From Deerbusters). 
There are still bits and pieces deerfencery sort of stuff to obtain, but I am inching closer to a deer free garden area.

The deer fence is not really the subject of this post though.
The subject is weed control.

The garden area is a mess, a neglected mess.
With year-round rampant growth here in Florida, you can till it all pretty and in a week or two, it's back to weeds.
To get a jump on the weeds during this "The deer fence is not done so no sense in planting anything" time period, I am employing 2 methods ... with a subtropical twist.

Roundup and all herbicidal remedies are out of the question here at PureFlorida HeadQuarters (PFHQ). I never liked them before the recent cancer concerns, but that issue clinched it.

The photo above shows a long stretch of clear plastic sheeting. This is my "Solarization" plot.  The plastic acts as a solar oven and cooks the weeds beneath it.

Lifting up one edge shows it is pretty effective.

The palm fronds in the photos above and below are blocking light over an area of bare soil that has already been solarized.
This allows me to work with just a few tarps instead of covering the entire area with multiple sheets. 
I decided to use them after noticing how a few of them left on the lawn after trimming killed the grass beneath pretty quickly.
I have an endless supply of palm fronds from my forest and they are easy to harvest with a ladder and my lightweight Ryobi One Plus 18volt battery powered chainsaw.

The photo above shows tarps also being used. 
The tarps aren't technically "solarization", but they do prevent light and water from getting to the weeds beneath.
They seem very effective, durable, and inexpensive. 
I like that they are out here earning their keep, instead of being neatly folded up waiting for some normal "Tarpy" use.

The basic plan is simple enough.
1. Use NO chemical herbicides.
2. Cover soil with a tarp or clear plastic to kill weeds.
3. Wait till weeds are dead.
4. Move covers to new areas.
5. Cover cleared areas with a thick covering of palm fronds to prevent regrowth.
6.  Before planting, burn remaining palm fronds to enrich the soil and till in.

I will update as this project progresses.


Sandra said...

Great and thank you for helping the earth.

Paul said...

The old tarp that used to be our only shelter before the cabin was built at Roundrock is now put to a similar use in the gravel around the cabin. I've heard that four inches of gravel is enuf to stifle weedy growth, but the weedy growth hasn't heard that. And being so close to my lake, I don't want to use herbicides around the cabin either. So the tarp, which migrates around the area for longer or short periods. No palm fronds, though.

R.Powers said...

Thanks Sandra! I'll update with a progress report later.

R.Powers said...

You just hang on my friend. You'll be growing palm trees in Missouri in the near future.