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cedillamuerta
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Weeds intertwined in fence.

Since I've only just started getting into plant care, I'm afraid that I've been neglecting our backyard and it's been growing wild. If anyone could provide me with a solution to any of these issues I'll be in your debt :P

Here's the situation:

On one edge of the yard, we have a chain link fence and our neighbors set up a privacy fence just inches apart from it. There are all kinds of blackberry vines and Japanese climbing ferns on it and naturally, they are growing in between the fences where I can't reach them with anything. There's also a Chinese Tallowtree growing in and out of the chain link about an inch thick. I can deal with the blackberry and probably the tree too, but those ferns are just evil! They can spread anywhere through spores just by touching them, so I don't want to spend all the time pulling them just to have a thousand more grow in their place. I would prefer not to use harsh chemicals for obvious reasons, and there are way too many to use boiling water or vinegar on the roots. Is there any way I could rid of them without spreading them?

Thanks,

Cedilla Muerta

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ElizabethB
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Sounds like you need some serious herbicicde.
Elizabeth - or Your Majesty

Living and growing in Lafayette, La.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

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cedillamuerta
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Haha, really? I don't grow anything in the ground in my backyard (yet), but I didn't want to make a habit of using herbicide.


EDIT: Just did some reading, and apparently the only herbicide that is consistently effective against Lygodium is glyphosate :shock:

DoubleDogFarm
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Is removing the chain link fence an option? No need for two fences.

Eric

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cedillamuerta
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We don't have the funds or experience for that, and we'll be moving in less than a year probably. I suppose I'll just let the cold weather take care of it (if it ever comes) for now. What exactly does vinegar do to plant roots, and will it alter the soil? I guess I'll just buy a large quantity of it and spray the ground.

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applestar
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From personal experience, I would feel better if we found out what the neighbor is growing on the other side of that fence first. My neighbor did not bother and killed/seriously stunted my native plant shade garden when he carelessly treated the fence border with some unnamed herbicide (he would not tell me/was evasive).

Since we are talking true fern, I wonder if going in the opposite pH scale might work better? How about baking soda? Still deadly to plants and it will seriously affect the soil biology (be aware).

I do like Marlin's suggestion to get at them from UNDER the fence and card boarding them.

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cedillamuerta
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I think I'll try the cardboard method. We have a lot of extra sitting around and I think I could slip it under their side of the fence (we all know each other pretty well). Thanks guys. I knew you'd be able to think of something. Now it just needs to hard freeze so that they can die back down to the roots.

So, do y'all know what having lots of West Indian Chickweed tells me about the soil? It's native, so I don't want to really eradicate it from my yard, but right now it's out of control and the seeds are sticking to my feet every time I go out :lol:

cynthia_h
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Please remember: the OP posted her question in the Organic Gardening Forum, where herbicides other than vinegar and similar kitchen-safe substances are not kosher. Certainly not glyphosate, etc. Conventional techniques are often recommended in other areas of THG, but this specific Organic Gardening Forum is just that: organic. :)

Re. the original problem, I had in mind a combination of what others have suggested:

--are two fences really needed? If you *own* this property, your fence can be removed. :)

--which would make the plants more available to...oh...brush-eating goats, who will happily eat everything down to the ground: blackberries, ferns, weeds, etc. Many brush-clearing services these days operate using, essentially, "rental goats." They come with a human watcher/tender and the appropriate number of goats for X days, based on their professional estimate of your needs, and the brush/greenery/invasiove plants are history. Zap. :twisted:

--or, if goats aren't available in your area, horticultural vinegar rather than kitchen-strength is recommended. Regular kitchen vinegar is 3% acetic acid; horticultural vinegar is at least 5% acetic acid, and I've seen mention of stronger stuff--although I haven't had any containers of it in my own hands. You (generic "you") can spray the stuff on the leaves of undesireable plants, killing them that way, or you can direct a small stream of vinegar toward the main root(s) of the undesireable plants. Once they start to weaken visibly, use a weeder (aka asparagus knife, dandelion knife, forked weeder) and get the roots out. It will take a few passes, but it will work. (I've used it against Yellow Star Thistle, scourge of California.)

--a few hardy, non-risk-averse souls have used a propane weed torch. That may not be a very safe choice near a wooden fence! But, to be complete, I thought I'd mention it. Most plants (i.e., those not evolved for a fire-dependent ecosystem) don't appreciate being burned off at the ground surface. I haven't used this method myself, but there are members of THG who have. Maybe they'll add their experience to this thread? :P

--although I conquered invasive Bermuda grass back in Berkeley by digging it out and sifting the roots out of the soil, I don't recommend that technique this time because of the ferns and their spores. As you've observed, the spores will scatter at the slightest touch. I'd recommend a combination of perhaps the goats followed by the vinegar *before* resorting to digging; that way, the ferns will be weakened ahead of time. :twisted:

Hope these techniques work for you! :D

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

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cedillamuerta
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Thanks again y'all. I'll see if I can find a way to remove that part of the fence myself, though I don't know if my parents would appreciate having a goat around.

@ cynthia_h:

Haha, I'm a guy. I just sort of chose this name at random. And the fire method is definitely not an option :D. Lygodium is famous for being a "fire ladder", allowing flames to get up to the tops of trees and causing damage during prescribed burns.

cynthia_h
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cedillamuerta wrote:Thanks again y'all. I'll see if I can find a way to remove that part of the fence myself, though I don't know if my parents would appreciate having a goat around.

@ cynthia_h:

Haha, I'm a guy. I just sort of chose this name at random. And the fire method is definitely not an option :D. Lygodium is famous for being a "fire ladder", allowing flames to get up to the tops of trees and causing damage during prescribed burns.
Oops! The "-a" endings got me.

The goats come with a keeper and leave very soon; they do not reside in the yard. It's like hiring a handy(wo)man: s/he comes, does the work, and goes home. The goats have a home; they just visit yours to eat the weeds down. They don't run wild over the yard, either; whenever I've seen goats at work in the Bay Area, they've been enclosed by portable fencing and corralled by a Border Collie or two as well as a human being.

Cynthia

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ElizabethB
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Never heard of hiring goats :!: What a great idea!
Elizabeth - or Your Majesty

Living and growing in Lafayette, La.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

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