Prepare the Site
Removing what's there and prepping the site is crucial to the successful
establishment of your new plants. Although there are chemical options
for removing turf and weeds, physical and cultural methods, like tilling
or covering with plastic, can work. Diligence is key when removing persistent
weeds, regardless of the method chosen.
- A sodcutter, available from
equipment rental companies, is effective for turf removal. However,
it also removes some of the topsoil, which you'll need to replace. The
hard ground underneath the cut will need to be loosened as well. If
your project area is not too large, you can remove grass by hand digging.
- Repeated rototilling or
spading can help unearth persistent weeds. Buried vegetation decomposes
over time, adding nutrients and structure to soil. Typically, three
or four turns over the site in a 5 to 6 week period will do in most
of the green stuff. Watch for resprouting weeds. Also take care to not
till too deeply where established tree roots can be damaged.
- Another method is to cover
sunny areas with black plastic, which acts like a solar oven and cooks
the vegetation underneath. Leave the plastic in place for 2-3 months,
then rototill or spade the area.
After vegetation is cleared
away, choose soil amendments such as organic compost, lime, sand, or topsoil
that suit the plants you are putting in. After the final tilling, level
the area with a rake. Plant soon after site preparation because weeds
will leap at the opportunity to germinate on bare soil.
When to Plant | Planting >>