extreme overgrown garden

Discussion in 'General Gardening Discussion' started by supersteph, Feb 11, 2006.

  1. supersteph

    supersteph Apprentice Gardener

    Feb 11, 2006
    Have a garden that hasnt been maintaned for over 8 years, its has intense growth of stinging nettles and ground creeping folage. What would be the best way to eradicate this and progress my garden to lawn. Any advice would be much apreciated. Best Wishes. Steph x
  2. rossco

    rossco Gardener

    Feb 5, 2006
    head gardener/estate manager
    Hi Steph,
    having dealt with a similar problem a few times, I found the following successful. but be aware this is not going to be a quick fix..
    cut down and clear all unwanted growth, which in your case could be the whole lot. when this has been done, leave for about a month or so while the new weed growth starts to re-grow.
    once the growth is no more 6 inches in height, get a selective weed killer such as SBK or GRAZON readily available from garden centres, this will kill off nettles, docks, dandelions etc.. but will NOT kill any grass that may still be there.
    once all the unwanted problems have died off, rotavate the area you want for lawn and rake level, removing all dead plant material, stones etc....only then can you think of laying turf or seed.
    if you want a lawn for this summer you may be lucky only if you use turf, if you do not mind waiting then seed would give you a weed free lawn, and better quality.....hope this has been of help......I have over 30 years in horticulture under my belt so feel free to let me know how things go...
  3. frogesque

    frogesque Gardener

    Sep 13, 2005
    This is the sort of job I love doing!

    The creeping weeds sound like either bindweed (convolvulous) buttercups, bramble or ground elder. All are pernicious and may require several chemical treatments, however, nettles are usually an indication of decent soil underneath so don't despair - it's actually good news!

    Personally I would invest in a good sickle (solid blade, properly balanced - not the cheap replaceable blade type which are downright dangerous), hone and a pair of chrome leather gardening gauntlets then level everthing. Let it all dry and burn it on a bit of your ground you are unlikely to cultivate (if allowed to) and then spread the ash around. Failing that compost it or take to your local council recycling depot.

    Once the garden is clear (yes it will look a mess!) then get a rotary mower to progressively cut the new growth back lower until you can get a cylinder mower onto it. A few shovel fulls of soil will help fill hollows and you can also dig out under your embryonic turf to take out high spots as you progress. Keeping everthing cut short will weaken and kill off a lot of problems and then a dose of selective weed and feed will remove dandilions, buttercups, daisys and clover etc., although these can be left if not too big a problem and/or you want to be totally organic.

    You will then have a lawn of sorts that at least will be relatively green and hard wearing and give you a surface to work on while you cut borders and lay paths, erect shed or greenhouse as required. Once you have the basics of your garden laid out you can then relay your lawns if you think it needs to be done or couch grass continually re-invades your borders

    I realise this is probably a reverse way of aproaching the problem but if you decide to go this way you can let the garden evolve and grow with you without the intial expense of turfing or loss of amenity while you are waiting for a newly seeded lawn to establish. Spend the money instead on good tools and nice perennials - you'll never regret it.
  4. steveb1973

    steveb1973 Gardener

    Oct 24, 2005
    Ring one of the makeover programmes....tell them your garden would make great viewing!!!!!
  5. UsedtobeDendy

    UsedtobeDendy Gardener

    Feb 2, 2006
    Retired teacher and gardener
    practically all my gardening experience has involved doing exactly this kind of thing - and I NEVER, EVER use chemicals!! I hate using them, unless there's a really good reason (like dealing with fungus, with Frogesque's favourite armillatox!) If you thoroughly dig out the roots of all perennial weeds, and do what Rossco says about waiting for fresh weeds (annuals) to grow, then you'll be doing it organically. (p.S. flame throweres are also organic - and are allegedly very good - I haven't had the nerve to use one. Also, I use a machete, rather than a scythe, I find it less scarey, and very effective )

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