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In the garden

Yesterday was sunny and about 60 degrees, so after my Jazzercise class I pulled on an old sweatshirt and headed outside to enjoy the weather. After aborted attempts to start sanding off the rust and old paint on the bird-feeder pole (that hasn't had a feeder on it in a couple of years), I moved behind the pole to the last "wild" corner of the yard.

Since I bought this house, I've been gradually reclaiming parts of the yard from an excess of English ivy. The back yard began with a border of the stuff growing out about 4 or 5 feet into the yard from the ivy-covered back fence-and-wall. By now (10 years of sporadic efforts later) the ivy has been reduce to some covering the fence down to the wall that's below the fence, a few patches of re-growth, and the one wild corner where the ivy still covers the ground, several overgrown azaleas, a couple of hydrangeas, and whatever else might be hiding back there.

A few weeks ago I took the pruning saw to the front of the azaleas, and cut them back so the branches no longer touched the feeder pole (which would have provided easy access for feeder-raiding squirrels, once I've got a feeder again). Yes, I know it's not the time to prune a spring-blooming shrub, but I gotta do these things when the urge hits, and just sacrifice the flowers for this year. That pruning let me move in underneath yesterday, beginning with pulling ivy, then breaking off dead branches from the azaleas, pulling up 7-foot-long dead blackberry canes (this corner is a favorite bird perch, and many seeds get planted in the undergrowth), and doing a little more pruning of living branches.

To give an idea of "overgrown azaleas": I can stand up underneath these, in the interior that hasn't been getting enough light to grow leaves. Now that I've sliced several feet off the front of the bushes, I hope the young suckers and sprouts will fill in the middle, and I'll have an area of azaleas with the same height as the old, but about half the width.

After about 2 hours I quit, having pulled the ivy from somewhat less than half the corner and having piled up lots of dead branches. I stopped when I found a cluster of greenbriar shoots, which will need careful digging both to avoid the vicious thorns and to try find the tubers which will only sprout anew if left in place. Greenbriar has an uncanny ability to grow its rhizomes under and through other root systems, and this cluster is completely entwined with a couple of the azaleas. I'll tackle it another day.

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( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
trolleypup
Jan. 17th, 2004 05:18 pm (UTC)
Regards the briars...

What I've done that works mostly. Cut them down and dig up the roots you can access and find. (Depending on climate) Water and fertilize. When the new shoots are about 6 inches tall, paint them generously with Roundup (not diluted, full strength). This should kill most of the main roots. The next set of sprouting should be much smaller and weaker stems, these can just be spritzed with regular diluted Roundup (paint any big juicy stems, of course).

If this is in close proximity to plants you want to keep, keep it off any leaves and away from stems and major roots (although it is absorbed poorly by (not leaves), full concentration should not be put in contact with non-target plants. Roundup does degrade quickly in the soil.

I did this to a friends yard that was 8 feet deep in blackberries, and it was down to little 3 inch sprigs in a year.
ann_mcn
Jan. 18th, 2004 10:43 am (UTC)
Hi, Nancy - this is Ann who used to be on the big Bujold list, and am still on the Atlanta Bujold yahoo group. Found you while looking at LiveJournals with Bujold as an interest. Mind if I friend you?
nlbarber
Jan. 31st, 2004 03:59 am (UTC)
Re:
Must turn on the "email me when people comment", as I just saw this. Please do friend me, and I'll do the same. Good to hear from you, Ann.
ann_mcn
Jan. 31st, 2004 12:47 pm (UTC)
Re:
I'm still new to LJ, and am fumbling around. Not to worry!
I love the Chalion books, and miss talking about he books, but the e-list is way too talkative for me.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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