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Field Overrun with Lupine, Grass, Goldenrod, etc.

 
Steve Landau
Posts: 20
Location: Vermont
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I am having alot of difficult renovating an old field. I have tried wood chips, with and without cardboard sheet mulch to get things established.

There is so much plant matter which keeps popping up. -

Any solutions for larger areas?

I am willing to pay for earth moving, but I feel like I need to turnover the soil or do something more drastic to get new plants established, or even keep the established plants from becoming overwhelmed - Like the chestnut here:





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Chestnut struggling to compete
 
Cristo Balete
Posts: 421
Location: In the woods, West Coast USA
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Steve, wow, I'd love a field overgrown with lupine!! It fixes nitrogen and brings in beneficial insects! It's a healthy field!! Goldenrod, too, insects love it.

Are you going to make beds, or hugel mounds or pits, or do an entire field? I would mow out some beds, use what you mow to mulch the beds, add layers of manure and whatever else you have until the mulch is very deep. Plant in the mulch. Allow the rest to stay in bloom until it's done, then mow the paths, use that as mulch on the beds. The grass, unless it's crab grass or something that inhibits growth, like timothy, is good for mowing and should be smotherable with very deep organic mulch.

The chestnut looks pretty good to me, unless it hasn't changed in 5 years or something. Clip away some of the stuff around it, and mulch out in a wider circle, deep enough to suppress growth of new weeds.
 
Cristo Balete
Posts: 421
Location: In the woods, West Coast USA
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It looks like you've got great biodiversity there, that's what Permaculture is about
 
Ross Raven
Posts: 242
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If you wish to clear an area, I recommend a pig. They will get to the ROOT of the problem. Don't waist your valuable permi money bringing in dirt. The fix would be very temporary
 
Cloey McCollom
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I don't know how much time/work you want to put into this - but - I have had success by cutting the plants back to the ground with a weed eater during the hot/ dry part of the summer. Do this when the plant gets to the stage of producing seed cut it back just before seeds are "ripe" . most perennial weeds cycle from year to year by the seeds and not the root system so if it is cut back to the dirt while it is hot/dry it will - sometimes - dry the roots out too. Its mainly about timing it right to prevent the seeds from shedding - maybe I'm wrong but when a plant is cut back before it has a chance to seed they usually just develop more branches but if it is allowed to run its cycle, then it is done with its growth for the year - that's why I wait until it has had a chance to develope seed . it took me 2 yrs to remove weeds from our pasture by using this method - I don't know about these specific plants and how they recycle from year to year but it might be something to check into
 
Rick Valley
Posts: 101
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Yeah, you right: grass ain't what you want. But beware of weedeater blight killing your trees- that's when the whip girdles the cambium, but- the tree dies the next year. I favor cold steel- a kama or a scythe. If you hit the tree it may be able to grow back. Depends how big your field some would say, but there's viddies of a scythe wielding guy out performing a weedeater wielder. You might add some woody N-fixers. I've seen (and used myself) people back East use Autumn Olive, but you might be crucified by nativists. Always works for me though. A. O. (and sister Goumi) are Actinorhizal (fungal) N-fixers, (as are Alders); Lupine is rhizobial (a bacterial N-fixer) If you're trying to grow a forest, the meadow may be more bacterially dominated than you want- mulch with wood chips near your trees and inoculate with some duff from a thriving chestnut/beech/oak (all related Fagaceae) forest. Make some more observations of how momma nature do it where you be: what shrubberies do you find in a succession leading to Fagaceae ending up as a forest? Add them to your mix, close enough to the trees to shelter them a bit.
 
Rose Pinder
Posts: 398
Location: Otago, New Zealand
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Steve Landau wrote:I am having alot of difficult renovating an old field. I have tried wood chips, with and without cardboard sheet mulch to get things established.

There is so much plant matter which keeps popping up. -

Any solutions for larger areas?

I am willing to pay for earth moving, but I feel like I need to turnover the soil or do something more drastic to get new plants established, or even keep the established plants from becoming overwhelmed - Like the chestnut here:


What are you wanting to renovate the field into?

Have you seen geoff lawton's videos on using succession to tranform wild ground into permaculture food production? One of the things he does is sow a legume, nitrogen fixing plant, which you already have. Like others have said, lupin and goldenrod look like assets to me.

If it's just the area around trees, try cutting the weeds/grass back to the ground and using a lot more cardboard to cover and then building mulch beds on top that you plant with beneficial plants. You want something thick, thicker than you would get with woodchips and cardboard alone. You need to be careful that you're not removing the rainwater source from the tree though if that's its only source of water (in some climates carboard forms a water barrier).
 
David de Waard
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I have to agree with Ross Rave, a pig can work wonders.
My advice is to plant trees that are higher than the weeds.
Cut down the weeds and let them be, nature does the rest.
it keeps the soil humid and eventually weeds will stop coming.
 
Linda Lee
Posts: 1
Location: Sandy, Utah
bee forest garden hugelkultur
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You should be happy to have these wild plants in your field as they are soil improvers (ie Lupine, Goldenrod, etc). They deep dive into the soil and bring up nutrients that cultivated ones are too weak to reach, plus they unpack the earth and allow water to transfer further down. Bare earth is dead earth. Don't have a monoculture of cultivated plants - companion planting with wild plants is actually better and contrary to outdated thought, the wild plants do not leach nutrients because they can go deeper, fix nitrogen in the soil, etc. If they're overcrowding certain cultivated plants, just pull up around them but leave elsewhere.

Stop thinking of wild plants as weeds and start thinking of their beneficial uses.
 
I think I'll just lie down here for a second. And ponder this tiny ad:
The stocking-stuffer that plants a forest:
FoodForestCardGame.com
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