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Empty Lot Maintenance HELP!

 
                                      
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I live in a new subdivision and have a 3 empty lots next to me that are not maintained on a regular basis so the weeds in the lot directly next to me are out of control.

They will periodically come through and mow, but in a couple weeks the weeds are waist high.

I am looking for an effective, non time consuming way to kill off some of these weeds as they are starting to jump over into my lot.  If their is something I can spread with a boradcast spreader or spray with a pump spray container, I just need something to kill this stuff off.

Also, would it be idea to weedwack first before applying a solution to the weeds?

Thank You
 
paul wheaton
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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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Dear sneaky,

Hi, my name is Paul.  I have been a certified master gardener for thirteen years.  I once taught an advanced master gardener program on lawn care - specifically involving weeds.  The combination of that and my teaching other people about lawn care brought about the lawn care article that you may have read that brought you here.  I've been interviewed on the radio four times and three times for newspaper - all about lawn care and weed suppression.  My article has been reprinted with my permission dozens of times and plagiarized at least as many times.  These very forums were started because the load on my mailbox was just too massive for all of the people wanting my advice on lawn care (and other things).

I tell you all of this because I suspect you would be reluctant to believe what I am about to say without it. 

1)  Your concerns isn't so much what is in these other properties as much as it is what is on your property:  will the weeds spread to your property?  Would you agree with this?

2)  What if your lawn were in a state that you could put 10,000 dandelion seeds on it and only four dandelions would pop up on your lawn.  Would you then be more comfortable with the weeds of your neighbor?

I guess where I'm going with this is to get you to a point where you are thinking "I have the most awesome lawn for blocks!" and "I don't give a damn about what is going on with those other properties."

Does that sound acceptable?




 
Joel Hollingsworth
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I bet well-timed seeding of a more-dominant plant could help, too...pumpkins?  nastertium?  vetch?
 
paul wheaton
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polyparadigm wrote:
I bet well-timed seeding of a more-dominant plant could help, too...pumpkins?  nastertium?  vetch?


Excellent point!  A bit more work and all, but wouldn't it be fun to try out some smother crops:  buckwheat, cowpeas or peas (depending on the time of year).

 
                                      
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polyparadigm,

Great idea, but the lots next to me is not my property and are to eventually have houses built on them.

I was considering renting a tiller and just turn the soil over but the weeds are so tall I do not think it would be that effective.
 
paul wheaton
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Well,

I kinda wonder if I'm not quite getting through ....

Let's examine a few more points.

1)  Suppose you use vinegar.  Not only do you need to find the right stuff and pay for it and haul it to your house, but you gotta go over to somebody else's property where you don't have permission and poison all of their vegetation.  Most of the vegetation will die.  And then there are still weed seeds there, and now they will sprout.  And the wind and the birds will bring lots more seed there and it will sprout.  It will be a weed fest all over again.  Lots of work and expense and very little gained. 

2)  Vinegar, in small doses, is an edible treat.  And, it is a powerful acid.  Which is why the stuff that we consume is so diluted.  And why the diluted stuff usually doesn't do much of anything to weeds.  But when used the way you are talking about, you are still poisoning the plants.  And whoever has that property might not appreciate that, no matter how good your intentions. 

3)  So rather than trying to kill anything, an alternative approach could be to put so much health and life into your existing lawn that a few weed seeds are gonna be pretty useless.



 
jeremiah bailey
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I agree with Paul. Here's how I'll help justify his statement:

How much is it to rent a tiller? I reckon at least $50, most likely more. Then you have to add in gas. And don't forget it is still back breaking work.

Forget the tiller, forget the killer. For much less than $50 you can get seed for a cover crop and toss it by hand for less time, effort and money than either killing or tilling. And you'd be helping them improve their soil instead of destroying it. That way they'll be a leg up in getting a suitable lawn established. Win-win, for you and them.

I think hairy vetch would be a good cover to sow this time of year, and you'd not have worry about many weeds. The vetch will smother them all.

Then do what Paul suggests, enrich your own lawn. If you've ever seen a good stand of the right grass in the right place, you'd know that there really isn't any room for weeds to sprout. If you're starting to have a problem with weeds in your lawn, then your lawn needs to become stronger.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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The plants I suggested mostly have a habit of forming long vines.  So they could go in at the edges of your property, and if you keep them off of your lawn, they might spread when you aren't looking.

I really do think it will be important to use something easier to kill off than the weeds would be.  Pumpkins would die anyway, right?
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