Hi everyone, I'd like to go at the buckthorn/honeysuckle question from a different angle. I have about a dozen acres of overgrown/abandoned grape vines and wild cherry and black walnut (upstate NY), among other things growing. I am slowly lopping the buckthorn and honeysuckle (many are as much as 3 inches in diameter), and planting fruit and other trees. I will also put down cover crop seeds as I go along, maybe half an acre at a time. I have heard about using salt and vinegar on stumps so they don't grow back but I was also thinking about black plastic on top of using this mix. Thoughts?
Black plastic in what manner? Like, shrink-wrapping the stumps? Or more loosely covering a whole area?
Actually, when I think about it either way I think this would be more trouble than it's worth. Wrapping the stumps seems labor intensive and probably not very effective, b/c the buckthorn will just put up new suckers from the ground. Covering a larger area with plastic will indiscriminately suppress all plants, not just your problem plants, and unless it is permeable it will collect water and become a mosquito breeding ground.
From personal experience, I would recommend against even the permeable "landscape fabric" in a setting with trees. I used this some years ago to surround strawberries and tomatoes near a mulberry tree. Some strong weeds still grew up under the fabric, and even more frustrating fallen mulberries, twigs, leaves, and other detritus built up on top of the fabric and weeds srpouted in this "mulch." Then of course the plastic degrades after a year or so and you get scraps of plastic blowing everywhere.
Weeds are just plants with enough surplus will to live to withstand normal levels of gardening!--Alexandra Petri
I have used black plastic (also clear plastic) to clear areas. It works well. The only caveat is that once everything is dead and you remove the plastic, you need to plant it immediately if you want to control what grows back. I just did an area like this and planted white clover. It worked well and the clover came in pretty thick. I do have thistles coming up in the area, put they are easy enough to pull in an area the size I did. I also planted some onions, mint, and a couple other things to begin the guild. Many more things will be added. I have herbs ready to go in, and with beans and a few others. The area is around a new pear tree I put in.
I have only a small amount of property but honeysuckle is still an issue.
I cut it and use it as firewood, biochar feedstock and compost.
I wonder if flame would help to keep it from coming back.
A weed torch would be convenient but little bonfires would be cheaper and greener.
Drilling holes adding Epson salt has been advocated but I really have no experience with that.