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Invasive Weeds (creeping buttercup, ragwort tansy)  RSS feed

 
                          
Posts: 2
Location: Lake Stevens, WA
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Hi folks,

I just thought I'd see if anyone had any suggestions for dealing with invasive weeds.  I'm in the Pacific Northwest (acid soil here), and the back half of my lot (1/3rd acre) was bulldozed before I moved in to get rid of some kind of mini race car track.  It stirred up ragwort tansy, which is toxic to horses, goats, and just about everything.  And then the septic leech field (far back end of the lot--it'd be hard to access with anything short of a bobcat) was covered with creeping buttercup (which is creeping all the way up to the front of the house, and appearing in the regular lawn too).  And, yes, this one is poisonous to animals too. 

I got the monster string trimmer that you walk behind, and it's mowing down the ragwort, but the buttercup just grows back with a vengeance.  My lot is big enough that trying to hand-pull this stuff would be tedious as heck, and the buttercup is hard to pull anyway.  Did I mention that the seeds for these buggers stay in the soil for 15 or 20 years?

There are some thistle and blackberry bushes out there too (have mostly cut down the blackberries at this point, since they were on the drain field too), just for kicks.

Does anyone have suggestions for dealing with this stuff?  My plan for the lawn is to try lime and maybe some earth worm castings for kicks.  But out back there was never a lawn established.  I planted some raspberries and about 15 fruit and nut trees before I had any idea what I was dealing with (and what all was going to come up), and would love to plant more edible stuff back there, but I'm afraid the buttercups will just suffocate things.  (Today I actually found some growing under the landscape-fabric-ring/mulch I put around the trees when I planted them.) 

Ironically the buttercups probably aren't all that bad of a choice for a groundcover for a septic drain field (no mowing, lol), but oh how they spread...

 
paul wheaton
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Posts: 21449
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
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First I want to speak about the toxicity to the animals.  Take a look at this threadhttp://www.permies.com/permaculture-forums/1312_0/permaculture/sepp-holzer-says-quotplant-lots-of-poisonous-plantsquot

But - since you are posting here, I suppose your mission has more to do with a lawn that no animal will be grazing?  You'll be mowing?

Did you see the lawn care article?
 
                          
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Location: Lake Stevens, WA
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Hello Paul,

Thank you for responding.  Yes, I read your article on organic lawn care.  I will try to apply the suggestions to the lawn. 

For the back, where the major problems are, the original goal wasn't lawn but I am wondering if I need to go that way as an intermediary.  I'd actually prefer something I don't have to mow and wanted to do a mini orchard/food forest type area with different layers of edible vegetation.  But the weeds grow so much faster (and the creeping buttercup moves quickly into any disturbed soil) that I'm already struggling to keep some space around the stuff I planted last winter/early spring (fruit trees, raspberries, asparagus) to have a shot at growing. 

I don't currently have any animals aside from the dogs.  I mentioned the toxicity because my original thought had been to rent goats to browse down the weeds out back, but if they can't eat the invasive ones (which dominate), I'm not sure how helpful it'd be.  I've also had the thought of getting some chickens and letting them range free back there to weed and, er, feed, but I've seen contradicting things on the web as to whether they can handle buttercup. 
 
paul wheaton
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Posts: 21449
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
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I think if we want to talk about other cool stuff, then we should do it in the permaculture forum.  Because then lots of folks can chip in and we can have a really cool conversation about this sort of thing.  Most of the cool permaculture folks aren't into lawn stuff so they dodge this forum. 

And as for chickens - let's go to the critter care forum for that  ....

So .... focusing on the weeds in the lawn ...  I want to wave my hand dismissively ....  try the techniques in the article and by next year it should be massivly improved - and you will probably have spent less money and less time on your yard, but it looks far, far better. 

But if you say "I've been doing that for over a year!" then I want to leap in and focus on what is going on.



 
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