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Reviving our old homestead...and help with wisteria

 
Judith Browning
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Don't plant wisteria and leave.....just a small piece stuck in the ground can become a monster when left unattended.....yesterday we spent the day on the five acres where we first landed in 1973. We hadn't been there in four or five years.and hadn't lived there since 1984....we parked on the main dirt road and backpacked in the grown up 'driveway'. Besides planting some things ,both seed and some herb plants that i know the deer won't eat, I wanted to record what was surviving just fine without us and what was a mis step on our part in the past...like the wisteria that ate my weaving shed...that is after the big pine fell, on it was removed and the roof blew off.....
On the other hand, the steep hilllside behind where our cabin was has well recovered from our free range goats. Thoroughly covered in pine, oak, hickory and some sweet gum.
The garden terraces have lasted wonderfully and the 'weed' covering them was an easy 'chop and drop' so I could plant garlic, hyssop, woad plants, and echinacea, clover, feverfew , anise hyssop seed.
Peonies are survivors..as is the yucca.....daffodils and a button bush...
valley 160.jpg
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weaving shed and wisteria
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recovered from goats
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covering much open ground...needs ID
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terraces after thirty plus years
 
Judith Browning
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some more pictures....
valley 175.jpg
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stone terraces after thirty plus years
valley 177.jpg
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yucca
valley 179.jpg
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pine tree mutation?
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pine tree mutation?
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smokey
 
Judith Browning
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Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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some plants...and a fungi to ID....
valley 173.jpg
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plant to ID
valley 184.jpg
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plant to ID
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fungi to ID
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closeup of fungi to ID
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plant to ID
 
Judith Browning
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we could use some advice on discouraging the wisteria especially, some of it is the size of my wrist running up trees and is popping up everywhere by runners...cutting it back only makes it stonger...and some help with plant ID's.
I threw a lot of persimmon pits around ....the only fruit I know of that will really survive neglect....all of our first , second and third generatin cherry trees, brambles and other fruit are long gone. i think I wil try some muscadine....any more ideas? thanks
 
Judith Browning
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and pictures of a nice patch of jewel weed that we found along the dirt road on the way out of the valley...in a damp spot sort of near a creek. I tried using it on my hands after pulling some poison ivy on our land...I'll know if it worked in a day or two.
valley 143.jpg
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jewel weed
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jewel weed
 
Dale Hodgins
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I've eradicated English Ivy. The only non chemical method I know of for vigorous vines, is to cut them back completely and often, until the roots exhaust all stored energy. Once started, it's important to keep going so that the plants never get a chance to recover and rebuild reserves. I sometimes strip leaves and bark from hard to kill vines. This along with raking up any mulch and trimming tree branches can really harm them in the hotter weather. We want to starve them, bleed them and dehydrate them.

I wonder if the pine tree "mutation" is a well rotted heron or osprey nest that has collected other debris.
 
Judith Browning
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Dale Hodgins wrote:I've eradicated English Ivy. The only non chemical method I know of for vigorous vines, is to cut them back completely and often, until the roots exhaust all stored energy. Once started, it's important to keep going so that the plants never get a chance to recover and rebuild reserves. I sometimes strip leaves and bark from hard to kill vines. This along with raking up any mulch and trimming tree branches can really harm them in the hotter weather. We want to starve them, bleed them and dehydrate them.


Thanks, Dale....I'm not sure if what we did yesterday set the wisteria back at all or just re invigorated it. we can only make it down there once a month or so...next time I think I will do some scraping on the larger 'trunks'and see about removing some leaves as you have suggested. I have read that it is a nitrogen fixer so it's not all bad It was me who planted the 'stick' when my husband brought it home from a neighbor....a beautiful and romantic flower. we thought.....not so much anymore....

 
Leila Rich
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I'm no help with wisteria; it's hardcore stuff.
I wouldn't be surprised if its n-fixing trick makes it more...robust...
I'm sure people have, but I've never seen anyone kill it without poisons

Apologies for going offtopic, but invasive plants are a bit of a 'thing' for me.
I grew up in a really isolated spot with very few introduced plants.
My mother is a keen gardener, but no ecologist!
Her biggest stuff-ups were honeysuckle, jasmine, wild ginger, apple mint, montbretia...and hitch hiking garden snails.
 
Pamela Melcher
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geoff lawton said you can kill any plant if you deprive it of leaves for 3 years.

I have eliminated patches of English Ivy also, no small feat. I just kept uprooting them.

That looks like a big bird's nest in the Pine to me, too.

Valley #055 might be Sow Thistle, which has edible leaves, which I like.

Beautiful stone work!

Good Luck.

Pamela Melcher
 
Doug Hollman
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I have some experience removing wisteria for some clients of ours. I'm a landscaper and some time people put in wisteria only to say oops. You have to cut them all the way down, then get a pick and bar and get as much of the root system out as possible. Get some cardboard and heavily mulch the area, repeat. That growth there is going to take some work good luck.
 
Judith Browning
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thanks everyone!
@ Dale and Pamela...I thought the clump in the pine tree was a nest at first also but those are all bright green needles....My picture is backlit so the bulk of it looks black instead of the green I could see in reality...it really looks like the they are growning that way. Maybe next time I can get a better picture.

@Pamela...thanks for the sowthistle possibility.....I will check it out and also thank you for the stone wall compliment...most everything we did is gone , the split rail fence, the barn and small outbuildings and plantings....the terraces are good to see surviving.

@Doug....thanks....good advice....what you see in the picture is only a small part of the growth and we have very stony soil so won't be doing any digging. Maybe cutting off a little below ground and covering with something then. I am a little curious about what would happen if we just continued to let it run rampent?would it kill itself out as it spreads eventually? I guess the real problem is that we don't live there in order to work on it often enough.
....and welcome to Permies, good to have you here!

@Leila, I am pretty sure that I remember that your mom and I are the same generation.....good intentions but
working mostly in a vacuum with just enough knowledge to get in trouble I sometimes envy anyone homesteading now that has the whole world at their fingertips to call on for advice.....
 
Michael Cox
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The strange thing is the pine trees is known as witches-broom. Most pines get them, they are some kind of mangled distortion of growing leaves, not a nest or a dray or what-not.

One of our pine trees has had one for at least 5 years. Slowly, very slowly, growing bigger.
 
Judith Browning
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Michael Cox wrote:The strange thing is the pine trees is known as witches-broom. Most pines get them, they are some kind of mangled distortion of growing leaves, not a nest or a dray or what-not.

One of our pine trees has had one for at least 5 years. Slowly, very slowly, growing bigger.



thanks, Michael.....witches broom was my husbands thought when we realized it wasn't a nest but he thought that it didn't happen to pines. only deciduous trees, always good to find out new (to us) information.....interesting growth and causes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Witches_broom
 
Dan Boone
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Judith, I am struck by your pictures because 1973 is about when my parents bought their half-acre in Alaska. My mother built an extensive garden (on permafrost!), greenhouse, and many outbuildings during the twenty years she was there, but as of 2 years ago when my father passed, there were no signs of any of it. Willow/birch forest where the garden had been - does not help that Dad sold her hand-made topsoil for $200 to a guy with a loader and a dumptruck in 1998 - and nothing to be found of her raspberries, mints, rhubarb, none of it. Harsh climate there, plus people probably dug some stuff with or without permission. But it gives me new appreciation for the work that she was putting in to make it all thrive. I have often thought how MUCH more she would have accomplished with internet-style info resources, instead of her back issues of Mother Earth News and books from Rodale Press.
 
Judith Browning
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Dan Boone wrote:Judith, I am struck by your pictures because 1973 is about when my parents bought their half-acre in Alaska. My mother built an extensive garden (on permafrost!), greenhouse, and many outbuildings during the twenty years she was there, but as of 2 years ago when my father passed, there were no signs of any of it. Willow/birch forest where the garden had been - does not help that Dad sold her hand-made topsoil for $200 to a guy with a loader and a dumptruck in 1998 - and nothing to be found of her raspberries, mints, rhubarb, none of it. Harsh climate there, plus people probably dug some stuff with or without permission. But it gives me new appreciation for the work that she was putting in to make it all thrive. I have often thought how MUCH more she would have accomplished with internet-style info resources, instead of her back issues of Mother Earth News and books from Rodale Press.


Years later I found that a lot of us were living in parrallel universes during that period of time.......much of how we were living was similar. I suppose those who had read the Nearings influenced those of us who had not....it was in the air...certainly a mass effort to make a stab at a new direction. Rodale, Mother Earth news and a few potlucks a year were our community of peers along with whoever was living on the land with us at the time. We, and I think many others, were kind of 'adopted' by an older couple who had in their past lived as we were attempting...they thought we were crazy, but offered lots of advice and interesting stories. ...I get the 'hand made' soil you speak of....we removed lots of rocks and they just kept on rising up, and we added wonderful goat manure compost and for most of the time had horse and pig and chicken and rabbits too. Actually the soil in the terraces is still very black and rich looking, just full of roots and a bit compacted. I am considering what I might sow it with next after clover and rye grass for the winter.
 
Doug Hollman
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@Doug....thanks....good advice....what you see in the picture is only a small part of the growth and we have very stony soil so won't be doing any digging. Maybe cutting off a little below ground and covering with something then. I am a little curious about what would happen if we just continued to let it run rampent?would it kill itself out as it spreads eventually? I guess the real problem is that we don't live there in order to work on it often enough.
....and welcome to Permies, good to have you here!


Thanks, good to be with some same people for once
If you let it run rampant it will continue to overtake the area. I work at a house where wisteria runs wild and it's going nowhere soon. It covers about a quarter acre now. Are we talking big rocks in soil a good bar is great for digging in stony soil but cutting as low as possible and covering should help.
 
Judith Browning
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Apparently the jewel weed worked against the poison ivy I got into sunday...usually I break out in a day or two after pulling it if I don't wash my hands very soon with a lot of soap. This day i pulled some and didn't do anything until we found the jewel weed hours later and I crushed some leaves with a little water and scrubed for awhile. there is just not enough jewel weed out there for the amount of poison ivy found here.
valley 135.jpg
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Jewel weed
 
siu-yu man
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@judith, re: jewelweed, you may wanna try cooking it up with some vinegar (apple cider or other that you don't mind putting on your skin) and sea salt. include the stalks of the jewelweed (that's where a lot of the good juice is, like aloe). use as much as you can without destroying the plant (so that it can seed next year).

then take the brew, throw it in a jar and stick in the fridge. when you get an itch (any itch), dab some on a cotton ball, and rub fairly vigorously. a little dab should do ya. i've used the above to amazing success this year, and i'm incredibly allergic to PI, and it's everywhere here (and i mean everywhere).
it's gotten to the point where when i find some PI, i just slap on some disposable nitrile gloves and go to battle with it, whereas i used to break out at the slightest touch.

also, if you got mugwort, i've also got in the habit of rubbing my hands and arms down with leaves first thing when i go outside, as i read somewhere that it may act as a preventative measure against the oils in PI. old witches tale maybe, but seems to work...and to keep the bugs away as well. i've gotten to the point where i'll make a garland out of some stalks, John the Baptist style, before i go out into the bush.

one last thing: stay away from the oil based soaps. Cetaphil works for me as a substitute.

of course, everyone's body is wired differently, so YMMV.

p.s. we got a monster wisteria as well. we've been ripping the vines up as we encounter them (not too difficult as they run close to the surface), stripping the leaves to throw in the garden as mulch. the problem is the solution, yes?
 
Judith Browning
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siu-yu man wrote:@judith, re: jewelweed, you may wanna try cooking it up with some vinegar (apple cider or other that you don't mind putting on your skin) and sea salt. include the stalks of the jewelweed (that's where a lot of the good juice is, like aloe). use as much as you can without destroying the plant (so that it can seed next year).

then take the brew, throw it in a jar and stick in the fridge. when you get an itch (any itch), dab some on a cotton ball, and rub fairly vigorously. a little dab should do ya. i've used the above to amazing success this year, and i'm incredibly allergic to PI, and it's everywhere here (and i mean everywhere).
it's gotten to the point where when i find some PI, i just slap on some disposable nitrile gloves and go to battle with it, whereas i used to break out at the slightest touch.

also, if you got mugwort, i've also got in the habit of rubbing my hands and arms down with leaves first thing when i go outside, as i read somewhere that it may act as a preventative measure against the oils in PI. old witches tale maybe, but seems to work...and to keep the bugs away as well. i've gotten to the point where i'll make a garland out of some stalks, John the Baptist style, before i go out into the bush.

one last thing: stay away from the oil based soaps. Cetaphil works for me as a substitute.

of course, everyone's body is wired differently, so YMMV.

p.s. we got a monster wisteria as well. we've been ripping the vines up as we encounter them (not too difficult as they run close to the surface), stripping the leaves to throw in the garden as mulch. the problem is the solution, yes?



thanks for all the informaition. a tincture sounds like the thing since this wonderful patch is thirty miles or so from our home...that is where the five acres with the wisteria is and we hadn't been there for several years...gonna try and get there once a month now but I doubt that is enough to make much headway with that very aggressive plant. the patch of jewel weed is probably ten feet in diameter so I could easily get enough for a years supply of anti itch and not hinder the growth of the patch.. I didn't know that the stems were even more effective, but when I used it I had the whole plant crushed up. all good to know...
 
siu-yu man
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just make sure to use vinegar, not alcohol. all the herbalism books i've read say that jewelweed and alcohol don't mix.
 
Ce Rice
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Wisteria? Save your time and energy, dont rip out anything. Girdle it!!!

That is, find the main stalk or stalks(trunk/vine) and cut off the bark in an 1"-2" wide ring all around it. Make sure you get all the bark all the way around. DO THIS AS CLOSE TO GROUND AS POSSIBLE, not touching the soil.

What this does is lets the plant to continue sending food and water from the roots, depleting them, but the sugars from the leaves never make it back down to the roots. That outer layer you cut off is the pipeline to send plant food back down to roots.

Then sit back and let the plant kill itself. It exerts itself and depletes all its food stores.
 
Leila Rich
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Ce Rice wrote: find the main stalk or stalks(trunk/vine) and cut off the bark in an 1"-2" wide ring all around it

I'm trying to imagine how girdling the main trunk would stop something with a million other stems all gathering nutrients?

There's a wisteria monster I know of that's eating some native bush, and I'll try girdling the thing. Finding the main trunk will be a challenge though...
 
Ce Rice
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Well, if you mean other stems going into the ground, yes it probably wont work, without a LOT of work girdling each one.

Girdling works better than just cutting off the top because it requires less work ( recutting and recutting) and slowly causes the plant to deplete its own batteries.

If wisteria is like other 'invasive' vines (kudzu) the biggest/older plant will have the biggest and most sugar reserves. So cutting it back can be near impossible. Girdling it might take 2-4 years, but will eventually prevail. Just be sure and girdle wider than 1 inch, or it could heal over and bridge the gap.
 
Bill Erickson
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Wisteria - Oh How I Detest Thee!

I managed to kill off a patch that had invaded the front corner of my property in North Carolina. I hacked and slashed it slowly away over a couple of years, pulling up the runners along the ground and from just under the ground. Using my machete to hack it away from the ground (I did make my blade sing one time when it met my shin - creepy sound when steel sings), and eventually it was no more. I think at one point, when I got it cut back to the central spot that I had a fire, and it still came up from some other spots. The biggest key to killing it was choking off its water source. It had a runner make it to the sewer cutout and had wrapped around it down to the main pipe run about four feet down. I cut all of that out, and kept an eye on it for a couple of years. With all the vines cut off, the central tap burned, and the runner to water destroyed - it was done. Then I rototilled the area, raked up all the roots and runners for everything - repeated that a tie or two and then restarted with grass. It was a lawn in town, the city got all hinky about "weedy" yards. Wisteria is "okay" in an area where it freezes for a good spell in the winter time, but otherwise - you are asking for pain when it runs rampant and slowly eats your place.

Judith, didn't you say it was primarily all over your now ruined weaving shed? It might be an idea to clear around there and then burn it during the winter time when there is some rain to protect the rest of your place, unless you get snow there - then that is a perfect time to burn. Not sure if the lay of the land would help you there or not, but it would save a lot of chopping and hacking.
 
Judith Browning
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Judith, didn't you say it was primarily all over your now ruined weaving shed? It might be an idea to clear around there and then burn it during the winter time when there is some rain to protect the rest of your place, unless you get snow there - then that is a perfect time to burn. Not sure if the lay of the land would help you there or not, but it would save a lot of chopping and hacking.


Bill, A burn might be a great idea! It is probably time and the cabin there already burned in a forest fire (someone up the mountain who burns their pasture every year couldn't skip the year when we had a drought in April).
I was sitting here wondering about other more aggressive vines that might actually strangle the wisteria.........that is probably not a good path to take. Maybe something that would freeze back every few years? not kudzu although it is in the area and would be easy to find some...........maybe a short vine the would only strangle the bottom...do some girdling as mentioned above. For the most part, the trees where the wisteria is are very large pine.
Where we live now we have rattan vine...it goes all the way to the tops of thirty foot trees though and wraps around itself and whatever it lands on. but not nearly as aggressive as wisteria....I don't think it would win out.
We do get snow, ice and extreme cold some winters. One of our early winters living on this land the temperature dropped to minus 18 degrees....that is unusual but I think it could happen again...we have had lows of minus 10 or so since then.....and then we get the winter occasionally where the greens in the garden actually keep growing and we are wearing shorts much of the time.......
We are planning a trip there soon......I have been saving some pecans in wet sawdust and persimmon pits and apple seeds in the freezer to plant there this time. I might try to come up with another vine
I have that sort of thing happening here....I like to watch how some plants move against others.......I am experimenting with a few plants holding their own against bermuda....smart weed and vinca are doing well and tansy and chocolate mint pretty good also.
 
Judith Browning
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I've been meaning to add this picture of our cabin that we lived in on this land, even though it burned in a forest fire in the eighties. It was built with rock and pine and oak poles all from the land there.....we did haul in bags of cement, oak boards from an old chicken house for the inner walls, some new nails and plenty that the boys and I straightened to use to hold the chinking in place between the upright poles. Steve remembers that the sand was from down by the river...hauled up the trail. The house was already begun when we finished it...not our design, and none of us had any experience building.....it served us well for 12 years, especially after adding a floor! and a loft after the kids were born. Before we added the wooden floor, we were bringing the goats inside to milk.....as fresh as it gets
We had a 'chinking' party for the outside and spent one really cold winter chinking between the boards on the inside. It served us well
the hollow.jpg
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Judith Browning
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I may have found a possible solution for the wisteria...not sure which kind we planted but if it's Japanese Wisteria there is the possibility of making thread.....I just need to convince some friends that it could be 'fun' and spend some time collecting it http://ryukyutextile.com/wisteria/ and this pdf
 
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