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Weed killer novice needs help see pics.

(9 Posts)
LipglossHoney Mon 09-Feb-15 21:30:01

Hello, I'm new to this gardening lark so need some advice please.

Recently moved in and the garden hadn't been touched for years.
There are no plants just brambles, ivy and some old dead tree/bush things.

The dead tree bush things are rather large and I doubt I could dig them out.

Where do I start? I've chopped the green stuff back and am left with the woody dead stuff.

Weed killer the lot? If so what time of year? And when can I plant on it?

How much on average does it cost for a stump removal person to remove a huge bush/tree thing?

Attached A few pics, I've removed the green stuff, it's the woody tree bush thing I'm not sure what to do with.

Thank you.

shovetheholly Tue 10-Feb-15 12:20:03

My garden was in a similar state at the start! The good news is, you CAN do a lot of this yourself. I removed 40 tons of concrete and hard core from my garden, along with multitudinous brambles, shrubs and weeds. It took a whole summer, but I got an impressive six pack in the process!

First things first: I definitely don't recommend weedkiller this time of year - it works better in the growing season and then only on the green stuff, most of which you have removed (for now, it'll all sprout again int he spring). It's unlikely to make much impact on wooden stuff. What I'd suggest is that you get some weedsheeting (big black rolls, cheap on ebay) and put it over the ground weighted down with bricks. The lack of light will kill everything underneath in a couple of months, but moisture will still get through so you won't wreck your soil. You are then on top of the weeds and can work on sorting out a patch at a time. Just tell yourself it's a goth garden for now!

Secondly, if money is no object, get someone in to clear the shrubs. However, if a few quid makes a big difference, you could simply invest in a decent saw, a pair of long-handled anvil loppers, which you will then have for the future. Oh, and you might need a skip too since you have neighbours close by who might not like a bonfire! The loppers will deal with branches up to about 1.5 inches thick - anything bigger and you can go in with the saw. I've got a Japanese saw called a Silky Zubat, which was about £40 on Amazon - sounds like a lot, but it goes through branches like butter. Once you've got rid of the big stuff above ground, you can dig up the roots with a spade (hard work, but good for you!).

shovetheholly Tue 10-Feb-15 12:21:44

Oh, and one final thing - you might want to think carefully about whether you do want to clear absolutely everything. I had a knackered old apple tree in my garden which I was minded to get rid of, but ended up keeping. It's now a rather lovely tree, thanks to a bit of pruning each year.

LipglossHoney Tue 10-Feb-15 13:25:18

Thanks so much for your reply. I've been 'lopping' but yes I probably need a saw for the rest. I do wish money was no object but sadly no, we need to do as much as we can ourselves. The weed sheeting sounds like a good idea, I'll get onto that. And yes to seeing what the few trees do. They look dead but I'm guessing they may spring back to life.

What about the roots of the huge bush things? How much to pay someone to remove them? Ball park?

If anyone knows?

shovetheholly Tue 10-Feb-15 14:52:50

I think root removal will be quite expensive. Why not get them out yourself? With a shrub, it's really not that much work - just a bit of heft is needed. With a tree, it's more work, but you could think about leaving the stumps and using them as a design feature? In my garden, I pulled them out, turned them upsidedown and made a stumpery with woodland ferns and other under-tree plants. I saw a garden at the weekend that had used the framework of a dead tree to grow an evergreen clematis and the effect was quite lovely.

LipglossHoney Tue 10-Feb-15 19:01:13

It kind of inbetween a shrub and a tree, it's the one to the right of the picture above. That's why I'm not so sure. If it was just a stump I wouldn't mind that, as you say you can make it look nice. I doubt I'd be able to dig this out, it's seems pretty well routed in.

funnyperson Tue 10-Feb-15 21:30:48

lipgloss I would be daunted by your garden! That said, I quite like the look of your woody shrubby thing and wonder what it is. My inclination would be not to take it out this year at least but maybe think about altering the shape of it to raise the canopy by cutting a lot of the base stems out, leaving a few at the top. If you look on bbciplayer at the great british garden revival and carol kleins episode on conifers they pruned a dense shrubby conifer into quite a nice shape. I know yours isnt a conifer but it might look good pruned as in the programme.

aircooled Thu 12-Feb-15 21:27:39

What a challenge but could be fun! This is like the Secret Garden. As shove says, consider whether you want to remove everything before you know what it is. Most shrubs will respond well to a good prune - just make sure you take dead/old wood from the centre rather than just nibble at the edges. Is that a Cotinus with reddish leaves next to the woody thing? That can take a good chop, even every year to get colourful new foliage. Also, be aware that there might be interesting herbaceous stuff amongst the weeds - don't smother it all with the sheeting!

LipglossHoney Thu 12-Feb-15 22:42:47

You know I was so set on getting rid of everything I never thought of letting it bloom a bit to see what happens. I may go for more chopping before we totally get rid then and see if anything looks ok.

Thanks so much

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