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Clearing invasives like kudzu, asian wisteria, and privet  RSS feed

 
                        
Posts: 175
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Ive had my property for a while, but Im just now getting serious about dealing with clearing, design, and planting the whole thing.  Im on two-and-one-half acres on the edge of town in a rural area.  Behind me is 50 acres of abandoned farm land which is mowed periodically but it has areas of kudzu.

My own place is infested with Asian wisteria -- which acts much like kudzu, both are fast growing legume vines that grow both by underground runners popping up everywhere and
scaling 100 ft trees.

Also there is privet -- a shrubby bush resembling boxwood, and chinaberry trees, which sport their poisonous berries and even more will be back next year.

Any strategies for effective land clearing anyone?

Cutting this stuff is just like fertilizing it:  it comes back with a vengeance if it is not killed.
 
Posts: 555
Location: Western WA,usda zone 6/7,80inches of rain,250feet elevation
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I believe every plant has a weak point.Prepare your weapons as you watch and observe the plant.Here we have blackberries that become easily visible in the winter with their evergreen leaves.Winter being the killing season that it is,a slow and steady assult makes gains.Im not above nuking a place with major disturbance or a ground cloth for a year and it can give you the jump up.Greenhouse supply stores sell 12`ground cloth that can be flipped yearly leaving substantial ground to plant.And while Im not too into greenhouses,I must admit to having a soft spot in my heart for the breathable groundcloth.Carpet?yuck!free though.
 
pollinator
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
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I've read about good results with sheets of old tin roofing, gradually flipped over to take more and more ground. I think planting right to the edge of the shaded patch would have a few benefits: whatever is under the cover has stiff competition, and desirable plants at the edge get the benefit of very thorough mulch.

I could also imagine expanding a perimeter using either over-grazing (if there's a species that won't poison itself...) or a conscientious slash-and-char. Or if a root crop can be established among all that, maybe pigs would churn everything into oblivion?

On species weak points, I understand the allium family can be allelopathic to legumes. Maybe deeply-mulched garlic would be worth considering as a transition from the wisteria? Monocots also have the benefit that broad leaves are easy to see among them. If you have any favorite bad neighbors (walnut, rye...) that you are already interested in, you might look up their interactions with the three species you plan to displace.
 
                        
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you might look up their interactions with the three species you plan to displace.

any ideas where to look this up?

Great ideas -- keep them coming!

So far Ive tried:

a goat -- she ate most of the  privet, but the chinaberries and wisteria are poisonous.
Black vomit on a white goat -- a very bad scene.

hack and squirt method of glyphosate.  Not practical for the amount of invasive vegetation.
Most applications need several treatments.

clearing and mowing.  If you cut a chinaberry you get several trunks growing bac k in the same place.

old rugs.  they rotted before they accomplished much.

cardboard -- this does seem to be effective, but again it has to be re-newed regularly.

I haven't tried the tin roofing.  I have tried asphalt roofing because I had a lot of it.
Ive tried solarizing with plastic sheets.

Propane torch.  I apparently got a defective tank.  The flame started shooting out uncontrollably some 30 ft or more and backing up my arm.  I nearly burned my garage down and wound up in the emergency room at the local hospital.  I found out what morphine is for!

I do have a lot of ferel garlic here.  It does hold its own -- I haven't really studied the alleleopathic effect as a weapon -- good idea.

Has anyone tried steam weed killing?

http://www.rittenhouse.ca/asp/product.asp?PG=1898&gclid=COnW2cGtiaECFQ0M2godhToTOg
 
Matt Ferrall
Posts: 555
Location: Western WA,usda zone 6/7,80inches of rain,250feet elevation
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whoa!thats crazy.Ive had a similar torch experience when the tank fell over and liquid propane entered it.Too bad about the carpet.a mess to add.Ive seen old metal roofing used successfuly be people but use mine to cover stuff.Howabot focusing on trees.You could just keep stuff from climbing them and let everything on the ground go hopfuly shading some of it out but given your description it sounds daunting.
 
                  
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Is chinaberry poisonous to pigs and/or goats? If not, you could go in Holzer-style and let the other critters do the work.
 
                        
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The chinaberries are poisonous to goats and so  is the wisteria.  Ive tried girdling the chinaberries, but they don't die.  They seem to thrive the more you hack away at them.

I thought I really had the situation under control when I watched those purple panicles of wisteria go down the goat -- munch munch -- but not when it came back up!

Someone told me if I had a regulator on the propane tank, the gas could not have siphoned back into the tank.  For now, though, I avoid propane.

Yesterday I found a recipe on the net for vinegar weed killer.

1 g white vinegar, 1/4 c. isopropol alcohol, and 1 oz detergent -- I used Johnson's baby shampoo.  I raked the poison ivy off the shed and doused the rest of the plant with this stuff.  Its too early to say if it worked.
 
Posts: 27
Location: Jackson, United States
chicken forest garden trees
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I just found your post as I'm looking for information on something else. We've got 8 acres of wooded hillside to clear the brush from and to rehabilitate into healthy productive woodlands and food forest. Just this morning I was reading in the book gaia's garden by Toby Hemenway about the natural succession of any landscape. The plants such as Kudzu are the pioneer plants which are there to heal the land. I would suggest checking the book out and reading about the succession and what comes after and, if you've not made much progress in the last 5 years with other methods, you may be able to find a solution by working with the natural reasons for a plant being where it is...healing the land/soil.

I'm not sure yet as to how you'd go about implementing the process of elimination, or at least control of the three plants mentioned but I hope the book can help at least some. Accelerating the process through planting appropriate guilds would help. What the "invasives' thrive on is a sunny edge and if you eliminate that then you cut down on the problem.

Also, did you know that kudzu is edible? There are kudzu festivals held every year, especially in the south.
 
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