My wife and I recently inherited her parents home in a residential neighborhood of Long Island, NY.
We will probably not be keeping the place, so going full premaculture/forest garden isn't in the cards.
The back yard (about 1/3 acre) is completely overgrown by ~30 years worth of untended English Ivy and Silver Maples. The appearance is unkempt, to say the least, and will not help with resale of the property.
As I tear out the ivy and cut down the forest of maple saplings, what can I do to keep the topsoil from drying out/blowing away that won't be too objectionable (from the viewpoint of typical suburban buyers)?
Clovers? Compost/Mulch? Any other low-growing ground covers that won't be too difficult for future owners to deal with?
Low cost / Low maintenance ideas would be especially helpful.
You could always try clover and mix native grasses which will stay under 6 inches to reduce the need to mow the lawn.
Location: Long Island, NY (Zone 7)
posted 5 years ago
Thanks for the advice, Kris.
My lack of knowledge leads to follow-up questions:
Even after I clear the saplings and smaller maples, there will still be significant shade from the remaining trees. (2 Silver Maples @ 75+ feet & at least 1 Black Walnut @ 50 feet that is very narrow for its' height.)
1) Any particular variety of clover that would do best in the conditions described?
2) Will any kind of grass have a chance to thrive in this instance or will I just be spreading seed to amuse myself?
Trim up the trees neatly, don't leave big stumps, put down a thick mulch in the tree area, rent a heavy duty mower and take off the ivy, over seed the lawn with a good brand shade mix grass seed with clover in it. keep it damp. or buy the seed with the mulch built into, but it is expensive and needs less watering, you could also have a company come hydroseed it.
Another idea would be to chip the trees that are cut and use that as mulch, putting a picnic table and swingset there and leaving a lot of the trees, only branching them up a bit to make it look neater. Setting the scene for fun family times in the shade might help sell the house, and an additional 1/3 acre to mow might be off-putting.
I'm with Kris, dutch white clover does a fantastic job of filling in bare soil as a cover crop and will serve at least two functions: crowd out weeds and fix nitrogen to the soil to feed the grass. Grass and clover balance each other well as clover thrives in a nitrogen-depleted soil, while grass is a nitrogen pig. If you want to favour clover, mow shorter and it will have the advantage. Otherwise, mow high and the grass will assume the lead.