gardentraut
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Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2012 5:48 pm
Location: ohio

groundcover take over

Our new house has a 10X30 area that is taken over by ivy, and 2 other unidentified ground covers, weeds, poison ivy (which I'm recovering from!) mums and coral bells. I want to completely start that area over and plant an herb garden and add some accent large grass plants. I'm thinking about soil solarization because I do not want to use any chemicals. I'm wondering when I should do this since I want to plant my herbs in the spring and how i should go about the solarization process. Also would black plastic be the best bet or would clear plastic. The area gets about 6-7 hours of sun a day and I'm in zone 5 if that makes a difference. Thanks!

Bobberman
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Location: Latrobe Pa.

I am not sold on any of the plastic ways to distroy weeds because it only makes the first 3 inches of soil warm! Clear plastic allows weeds to grow and black seems to not do much at all! I would cut the weeds with a mower and roto till the ground several times every 2 months! I would them get a nice mulch. The weeds will be limited and easy to pull!
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DoubleDogFarm
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I'm thinking rototilling ivy is a bad idea. You will just spread roots around.

Here is a slightly different approach.

Mow, like Bobberman suggested, but set low - scalp. Leave the clippings in place. Now broadcast a complete organic fertilizer over the clippings. Fertilize at twice the recommendation on the bag. Now cover the area with cardboard. Then cover the cardboard with mulch. In the Spring dig holes and plant your herbs.

Eric

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rainbowgardener
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It's actually too late this season to do the solarization. Here in Ohio, days are already getting shorter and temperatures moderating. For the solarization to be very effective, especially on really tough stuff like ivy and poison ivy, the plastic needs to be on for at least 6 wks in height of summer (which of course means you basically can't use that area that whole growing season). Best is 2 layers, black plastic on bottom with clear plastic over it, that way you get the weed suppression of the black and the heating of the clear. And Bobber, when you are trying to get rid of ground covers like ivy, it really doesn't matter if the soil doesn't heat real deeply. Ivy doesn't root very deeply, it's all pretty much in the top inches.

But, yeah I like the cardboard method. Ivy being very tough, I would lay down multiple layers of cardboard. Wet it thoroughly to aid in breaking down and maybe walk on it a bit to reduce air pockets under it. Then you can lay down several inches of topsoil and plant into that. The cardboard smothers the stuff under it and then rots away, leaving a nice planting bed.
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Bobberman
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Since someweed roos are hard to kill I would suggest round up on the green leaves for a week before mowing since round up kills the the whole plant down to the roots. Seed sprout are easy to pull or mulch after tilling! I agree with the ivy but the round up will kill it! They use round up for no till areas for corn and it seems to work well. Something that may also work is spraying with straight vinegar on the green plants since its organic and a natural herbicide! Planting herbs from seeds is much different that planting established herb plants since established plants are much easier to mulch when you plant them!
I enjoy fishing ,gardening and a solar greenhouse! carpet installation repair and sales for over 45 years! I am the inventor of the Bobber With A Brain - Fishing Bobber!

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