I'm an urban permie, and one of my pet peeves is weeds growing in fence lines. I won't use poisons and I hate weed-wacking and even worse kneeling and clipping. I can't completely shade them since I only own one side. Has anyone found any good ways to keep the fence line from turning into a jungle?
Michelle in St. Louis
If you have access to wood chips you can dig out the top soil under the fence and replace with chips, keeps things knocked back significantly making weeding easier.
If your fence is chain link than you could cover the base of your side with wood or sheet metal, which allows for easier weed wacking with a string trimmer or scythe.
If no one will mind or know you could seed vines on the fence that will end up shading out the ground along the fenceline.
Plant sunflowers all along the fence, it wont help to control the weeds much, but at least people will focus on the pretty flowers rather than the weedy growth.
I have done a few of these tactics with good success, i found no one complained when the fenceline was obscurred by sunflower stalks, and the top of the fence was covered in bright purple hyacinth bean vines. They smell and look great so you capture peoples senses before they can get offended by whatever else is going on.
Here in Indiana, I tried growing grape vines with a chain link fence as a trellis. While it was a good idea in theory, but vines tend to grow up and eventually it was just grape vines growing along the top rail of the fence and sending shoots everywhere. The next attempt to cover the fence was to put in evergreen / arborvitae plants right by the fence line and let them grow their branches through the fence to envelop it. Those plants made my side look nice, but for some reason my neighbor cuts any branch that goes through the fence so he gets to look at an ugly fence instead of a plant...oh well.
My neoborsibors also cut my vines flat with the fence. This was one of many annoyances, so we are building a 8' tall cedar plank fence to replace the chain link.
I say plant comfry, sunchokes or another allopathic plant,along with a wood chip path right up to the edge of the fence.
Best answer for a "clean" fence is a wide impermeable layer on BOTH sides so the mower can cut everything with no edging or trimming required. Tin, concrete, rock, wood, mulch, whatever you and the neighbor can agree on.
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