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No Herbicide please


 
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richsib
Rank attained: Hazel Tree
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Joined: 04 Jan 2013
Posts: 2
Location: Roscommon/Mayo border

PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 3:28 pm    Post subject: No Herbicide please Reply with quote

I want to turn a piece of rough grass between my house and the road, approx 1/2 acre, into a "wild lawn" with native grasses and meadow flowers, and a few native shrubs. In summer the land is waist high with various grasses, brambles round the edges, thistles 2m tall, a few nettles and a few willow saplings. The land is in north west Roscommon, close to the Mayo border. It has a south and West aspect with a few tall Lawson Cypress trees on the SW side (they are marked for removal, and replacement with natives, when I get 'round to it).
I would rather not use any herbicides in the preparation of this area. I can knock down the current surface vegetation with a brush cutter, strimmer, scythe or similar. When that's done, I can get a local farmer to plough it, but then what do I do next? Roll it, harrow it? Can this be done in winter for sowing in spring? Help and advice is greatly appreciated.

Cheers, Rich.
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tagwex
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Joined: 23 Feb 2010
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Location: Co. Wexford

PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 12:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Plough, rotavate, harrow then roll.
Swallow your pride and spray it, so much less hardship. 0.5 acre is going to be a hard toil otherwise.
"a brush cutter, strimmer, scythe or similar". All good but what about the roots? They will just grow again. If you have willow then it is wet ground, may have to wait a while for that tractor.

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Its my field. Its my child. I nursed it. I nourished it. I saw to its every want. I dug the rocks out of it with my bare hands and I made a living thing of it!

This boy can really sing http://youtu.be/Dgv78D2duBE
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Sue Deacon
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Joined: 31 Dec 2014
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Location: West Fermanagh

PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 12:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know I'm going to get shouted down by Tagwex and it IS going to be a lot more work, but I think you are right not to spray.

In the past I have used glyphosate to clear the ground prior to sowing or planting. I believed the lie that it 'becomes inert on contact with the soil'.

I do know one farmer in England who wanted to plant up an area of (commercially) poor ground as a meadow and wildlife 'reserve' on his farm. He ploughed, rotivated etc and has successfully achieved just what he wanted.

It won't happen overnight, but it sounds a lovely idea. Good luck.

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Greengage
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Joined: 09 Nov 2011
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Location: Kildare

PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 5:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sue Deacon wrote:
I believed the lie that it 'becomes inert on contact with the soil'..

I would be interested in reading the scientific data on this.
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Good guy
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Joined: 11 Feb 2013
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Location: Donegal

PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 8:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If it was mine I would not spray, nowadays, unless the ground is totally infested with dockens, for instance. I would take the time to dig out the worst offenders by hand, before ploughing. Also, remember, many "weeds" have an important role to play for wildlife. The dreaded ragwort, for instance, supports more than 30 kinds of invertebrate, including the beautiful cinnabar moth. And thistles can be very beautiful plants, as well as providing seeds for the goldfinches.
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richsib
Rank attained: Hazel Tree
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Joined: 04 Jan 2013
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Location: Roscommon/Mayo border

PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2017 3:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your feedback everyone.
30 years ago when I was working in forestry in the UK, I applied hundred of gallons of Roundup in young plantations. Back then they told us it was so safe we could practically drink it, thankfully no-one tested that theory. I sprayed many different insecticides and herbicides on ornamental trees when I was working in the US too. My chem. spraying days are over.
I am aiming to create a mini native landscape with only native flora, which will hopefully attract some native fauna. Plantings will include native meadow grasses and flowers, arbutus, crab apple, spindle berry, cornus, birch, alder, dog rose, prunus etc. There is no commercial objective in this project, so taking chemical shortcuts for an easy life is not in the plan. The motivation is purely selfish on my part, to have something nice and natural to look at. If it doesn't work it doesn't work, but no-one or nothing gets hurt in the process.
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tagwex
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Joined: 23 Feb 2010
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Location: Co. Wexford

PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2017 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If that is your logic then go for it. Sound reasoning, Good luck with it too.
_________________
Its my field. Its my child. I nursed it. I nourished it. I saw to its every want. I dug the rocks out of it with my bare hands and I made a living thing of it!

This boy can really sing http://youtu.be/Dgv78D2duBE
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Good guy
Rank attained: Chlorophyll for blood


Joined: 11 Feb 2013
Posts: 2502
Location: Donegal

PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2017 2:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love the sound of your project and appreciate your motivation.
When I began my garden, here, in 1989, it was pretty much a blank sheet. Although the house was by then some 15 years old the previous owner had done little more than mow the grass. I doubt if he ever used fertilisers, let alone weedkillers.
In the early years I used weedol to kill off bits of lawn before making beds/borders and for a few years I used roundup sparingly on problem areas but for many years now I have used scarcely any chemicals anywhere. I can't remember when I last applied a weed killer, now, though I have used some cheated iron on a few plants that were sickly. I don't use fungicides or insecticides either, except for a few organic slug pellets and pyrethrum spray very occasionally.
My garden is full of birds, frogs and the occasional hedgehog and there is a healthy population of invertebrates. You say you are hoping to attract native fauna - I'm sure you will, in time. Hopefully you will attract native plants, too. The common spotted orchid has come to live with me, I have lots of primroses, foxgloves and other wildflowers in the garden too. If I like them where they are growing, I just let them get on with it.
All the best with your project - I look forward to the progress reports!
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