I own a landscape business. We practice organic/natural landscaping whenever possible, but of course all nursery plants aren't free of synthetic chemicals. We do what we can. That said, I'm looking for techniques to kill invasives and replace them with natives and pollinators.
Aside from manually removing invasives, mowing, solarizing and monthly maintenance to remove persistent invasives, I'm hoping to utilize a non-selective organic herbicide to spot spray. I will need to amend soil as well, so, I may consider tilling after invasive removal. This will likely bring additional seeds to the surface that will germinate, so ill need to re-solarize or spray these plants.
The following is my tentative plan. I'm sure this will change on each site and as I learn. I'm open to suggestions. Thank you in advance.
Side Note: USDA Hardiness Zone 6a-7b
Identify natives that I'll keep and flag them.
Manually remove non-native/ invasive plants. For example hostas and english ivy. I know these are persistent and I will have to go through them several times to kill them.
Brush cut/ scalp areas after invasives have been removed/ dug.
(potentially spray at this point with an organic non-selective herbicide since plants are vulnerable after scalping.) Anyone heard of EcoMight? Its new to me, and looks like good marketing without third party results, but who knows, it might be worth checking out. If anyone has experience with this product, I'd love to hear about it.
4. Solarize the areas that are to be replanted with natives. (I'm thinking silage tarps/film since the leach minimal petrochemicals.)
5. Remove solarization tarps, let persistent plants come back. Spray them with a non-selective organic herbicide and solarize again. (Potentially till at this time)
6. Remove tarps, amend/ work topsoil and plant with native seed mixes. (spring and/or fall planting)
7.Maintain plantings to remove weeds until natives are established. Then, continue with a monthly maintenance schedule to remove non-natives.
***8. Actual beds will be treated differently than large scale over-seeding. Landscape/planting beds will be mulched with cardboard, inoculated with endemic fungi and mulched with hardwood or pine to mitigate weeds while native plants are becoming established.
Does anyone have experience with any of this large scale native seed planting?
Does anyone have experience with commercial non-selective organic herbicides? If so, any recommendations?
Think about the ecological niche that the invasive is filling. Then find a plant that is not invasive to fill the niche. I was listening to one of Paul Wheatons podcast and in this podcast it was talked about plants telling a person what the condition of the soil. Solarizing can work but it takes time and sunny days. Have you looked into a Weed Dragon?
You should never forget that every creature has its purpose in the cycle of nature and can also be very important to humans. Sepp Holzer's Permaculture
If you're solarizing, letting things sprout, and then solarizing again, do you need the organic herbicide in between?
+1 to the farm torch for areas where it makes sense. Use it carefully, because it's easy to burn more than you had intended to: plastic fencing, straw on the ground, dead grass, etc will all catch fire if you use the farm torch around them.
But as long as you're thoughtful in how you use it, it's great for giving the plants you want in an area a head start. We love ours. Propane is a lot cheaper if you buy it from a welding shop or u-haul (I still don't get why u-haul sells propane -- but they do, and cheap) than if you exchange cylinders.
Any thoughts on plastic weed barrier? Got a big roll of it for free some months ago and was contemplating trying it in the tomato and pepper area, since it got a ton of weeds this year. But I didn't use it yet, because I didn't really like the idea of leaving plastic all over the place.
Thanks for the heads up on the cheap propane. I've been doing extensive research on this and I'm putting together a how to document for myself and clients. It will likely go through several iterations before I settle on anything specific, but I'll post the cliff notes here once I go through the entire process. I'll be fall seeding and adding a cover crop/ companion planting to help with seed dispersal when seeding and to fill the void where slow sprouting natives leave open space that could otherwise harbor weeds. I still plan to use boiling water or potentially an organic herbicide for persistent invasives prior to planting. Monthly maintenance will also be key. I guess I should take photos of this entire process. Thanks again.
Please take photos and share your learnings! This forum has been so helpful for me in learning things that you just can't find in mainstream gardening resources. We've got to help each other learn and build up the communal knowledge base - pollinate some goodness, and this will be easier for the next generation!
Uh oh, we're definitely being carded. Here, show him this tiny ad: