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Ground cover in woods

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by Joful, Apr 26, 2014.

  1. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    So I cleared a small area in the wooded hedgerow separating my yard from a neighbors, for storing piles of topsoil, mulch, stone, etc. I graded it roughly level, but the soil has no stability, especially after rain. I need some sort of ground cover to keep poison ivy at bay, and provide soil stability. Ideas?

    I can plant grass , the only down sides to that being poor durability (in the shade), and the fact that I'd have to mow it.

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  2. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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  3. Grisu

    Grisu Minister of Fire

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  4. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    The Vinca might be a good option. I wonder how it holds up to 4wd tractor / front end loader traffic. Looks hearty, and not terribly invasive. Don't need something that's going be trying to get into the lawn.

    Grisu, do you remember my other thread about actually planting a big hedgerow? ;lol Got another site contractor coming out tomorrow, to review plans on that, which is actually the other side of the property.

    Related to that hedgerow, I watched them clear a solid acre or more behind my house today. I was supposed to get the trees, but the crew was dealing with difficult / muddy conditions, and decided to just shred everything. I got 5 trees out of maybe 100 removed. There are RV-sized piles of ash and maple wood chips back there right now. :mad:
  5. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    I've got about 0.25 tree shaded acres covered in vinca/periwinkle that is blissfully maintenance free. The previous owners (or perhaps the previous previous owners) also experimented with english ivy, honeysuckle, virginia creeper, etc which are all duking it out for the sunnier parts of my yard, swallowing and strangling everything in sight, but in the shade, the vinca rules quietly while behaving itself.

    For your application, unless it was going to be empty for a while, I would just lay down straw.
  6. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Straw keeps the weeds at bay, but provides no soil stability under a 3000 lb tractor. Grass does a great job in full sun, but remains weak and vulnerable to traffic in the shade.

    This area will be used very heavily 2-3 times per year, and then mostly unused between.
  7. bassJAM

    bassJAM Feeling the Heat

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    I've found that crusher run makes great ground cover, and keeps the weeds at bay. And it doesn't care if its in the sun or shade.
    Warm_in_NH likes this.
  8. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Periwinkle. It will grows nicely even in the shade and you don't have to cover the whole space as it will spread all by itself. We put out some in a few areas and have been very pleasantly surprised at how well it does. Sometimes the deer will eat it during the winter (it stays green) but it does not seem to hurt as it comes right back. Ours has grown only about 4" high but is very thick.
  9. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Periwinkle is vinca. It's tough, but I'm not sure how well it will stand up under tractor loading/unloading/turning. Maybe once it is well established? Also look into barrenstrawberry and creeping charlie.
    Last edited: May 6, 2014
  10. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    well, as is so often the case, I needed to use the area before I did anything about it, so I just laid down mulch for now. Actually, not even the whole area, just a "road" 6 - 7 feet wide x 30 feet long, between the entrance and where I'm piling topsoil.

    On a related note, I think this might be the first year my mulch usage tops 70 yards. Already at 55 yards, and we're planting another 23 trees in June.
  11. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    That's a lot of mulch for sure. Like 7 big dump truck loads.
  12. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Yeah, I was getting killed in delivery fees , buying retail. This year I went wholesale, and they can deliver 25 yards/tri-axle, or 50 yards/semi. Can't get the semi in my driveway, so they've delivered two Tri-axles, so far.

    My problem is my FEL bucket is too small, maybe only 1/4 or 1/3 yard. I need to build a removable bucket extension.
  13. bassJAM

    bassJAM Feeling the Heat

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    For that much mulch, you need one of these!

    [​IMG]

    I can't imagine laying that much mulch! I did landscaping for a couple summers and I think the largest residential place I ever touched was 15 yards. Heck, the largest commercial job I ever did might not have topped 30 yards!
  14. Lake Girl

    Lake Girl Moderator Staff Member

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    White Dutch Clover? Red Fescue? I know they take hold pretty well in poor soil as we have them in our yard. Seem to handle trucks/machines but not sure how well they would do with more frequent abuse.

    I think I'll keep the invasive Tansy in my yard over your poison ivy:) If not mowed down early the stalks get pretty fiberous but supposed to be a decent insect repellent.
  15. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Hah... Bass, the PO actually did have it blown in, but he paid about $3500/yr - $4000/yr on that job (included cleaning out the gardens). I can do 25 yards in a day with my loader, if I work hard.
  16. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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  17. Lake Girl

    Lake Girl Moderator Staff Member

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    No pastures here or livestock - just lots of trees and rocks. It's everywhere along the side of the road here. I have been trying to kill it but pretty overwhelming as it is very hardy and spreads like wild fire. Best I seem to get is control the spread. Apparently can be toxic for cows and horses but sheep and goats eat it like candy! The best answer for control are goats and sheep (not too interested in that) as I won't be taking chances on contaminating water sources:
    http://www.wildflowers-and-weeds.com/weedsinfo/Tanacetum_vulgare.htm

    Since I seem to be losing the struggle, I checked on its herbal properties. It is toxic if used inappropriately. Wish I knew a European trained herbalist... Herbalist tradition for the most part is lost in the US and Canada due to big pharma. Some folks seem to forget there are a lot of synthetics that are produced based on traditional remedies. It was imported originally with earliest settlers since it was used as a medicinal.
    http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-suppl...veIngredientId=686&activeIngredientName=TANSY

    Edit: Interested in learning more about its insecticide properties since it doesn't seem to be going anywhere....
  18. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Thanks, it looks like tansy has a lot of potential when used properly. We're in a horsey area and are not allowed to have tansy growing here. If you do you can get fined by the county. FWIW, there are a lot of medicines based on poisons. It's just a matter of degree with some. Warfarin (coumadin) is a common anti-coagulant frequently given to folks with heart conditions. It's also commonly sold as rat poison in a stronger form. Wolfsbane and foxglove are a couple plants that are toxic, yet used for medicine.
  19. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Speaking of mulch, just received another 25 yards today.

    image.jpg
  20. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    I let the local tree trimming and landscape guys know where they could dump wood chips on our property.
    I smile when I come home and see a new pile has been dropped off.
  21. Bobbin

    Bobbin Minister of Fire

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    Very late to this, but! Vinca minor is very close to being labelled an invasive species in New England. It's lovely, it's tough, and it's evergreen (all good). However! its so successful that it is capable of quickly choking out the native plant life, esp. the early spring "ephemerals" (native lily of the valley, star flowers, trout lilies, wintergreen, and partridge berry). Please don't plant it.

    Frankly? I think you'd be better served with landscape fabric and/or layers of fresh wood chips. But that's my opinion on a matter that is controversial.
  22. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Thanks! I ended up just laying a few yards of mulch in that area, for now. I had 50 yards on hand, and really only needed about 40 - 45 yards for my gardens, so it was an easy choice.

    Planting another 23 big trees in about 3 weeks, to make a new hedgerow 180 ft. x 12 ft. Can't wait to see how much mulch I'm going to need next year!

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