Thursday, April 19, 2012

Working in our yard

Looking after our property is a lot of work. There's always something to do but this year it seems like there's a lot of more intensive maintenance work to be done.

For example, I spent all of yesterday afternoon weeding the front yard. The yard isn't very big but the number of weeds there was ridiculous. I guess the soil we used when we seeded the yard had weed seeds in it because there were more weeds there of so many different varieties that I can think of no other reasonable explanation for the situation.hey don't come back

Keeping the weeds under control in the yard is a never-ending task, especially since we don't use herbicides. Even if herbicides weren't banned in Ontario (which they are), we wouldn't use them because I don't believe that they're good for the environment. I've heard that vinegar will kill weeds and there are natural sprays out there but as long as I'm capable of getting down there and pulling out the weeds, that's the way I prefer to clear them up.

This evening we tackled the giant silver grass. Since we lost some of the privacy we got from the trees because we had to take out some of our trees because they were either dead or too close together, we figured that we'd put some of this giant silver grass along the fence. To do that, we had to split up the giant silver grass that we had. We got all but one section closest to the fence pulled out of the ground; we'll need to divide those pieces up into smaller pieces for re-planting.

This is one strong plant! There's a geotextile about four or six inches below ground and  the roots of this plant have either gone right through this textile or pushed it and twisted it around. The roots go down about eight or ten inches below ground; since it grows up to about ten feet tall, I guess deep, gnarled roots make sense.

I don't like that geotextile. There are different kinds that decompose at different rates and what they used on the planting bed up the hill on that side of the property was the stuff that never breaks down. The giant silver grass could punch through that textile but tree roots can't, so what we had on that one hill (where we're lacking privacy) was a four-inch deep block of roots and decomposing mulch. There was no soil there, let alone nutrients for all of those trees. No wonder the evergreens were dying: not only were the trees planted too close together, there was no way they could get nutrients. This kind of geotextile belongs in flower beds to prevent weeds, not where trees are going to be planted.

We ended up taking the stumps out and getting as much of that textile out as we could. In doing so, we were able to turn and mix the soil and add new soil in to give some nutrients to the area. We also pulled out a ton of roots from the stumps and maybe some roots from the remaining trees. I read somewhere that trees do better if they're roots are cut periodically so hopefully trimming them back a bit will be good for those trees.

With those trees gone there was a whole lot of empty space in addition to a lack of privacy. To fill things in for now, we ended up splitting up our ginormous hostas and filling much of that bed with them. Hopefully once we move the grass over to those areas they'll look good and everything will thrive.

There's still more work to be done: we have to split up the grass and plant it and we haven't even touched the other side of the property or the flower beds. I have to say that I do love working with my hands, whether I'm weeding or working with the soil. Given the size of our yard, that's a really good thing!

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