Saturday, August 26, 2006

Whack My Weeds!

OK, since you guys were so incredibly helpful when I was stressing over curtains -- and I did eventually find some acceptable ones, by the way -- I thought I'd once again ask for some household advice, this time involving lawn care. I know there's at least one Loyal Reader out there who's a gardening god, and probably 99% of you know more about the subject than I do. I don't think I've ever even used a lawnmower.

I have two problems/questions:

1) I went from living in a trailer surrounded by dirt and gravel to having an actual yard, but the lawn was pretty much dead last year when I moved in. It didn't seem inclined to grow much grass this year, either, but with the insane amount of rain we've had lately, it's erupted into a frightening jungle of weeds. I need some equipment to hack these evil plants down with. I used to have this tiny electric weed-trimmer, but it was a piece of crap: very low-powered, and it was near-impossible to keep the string from tangling. Anybody have any advice on something I can use on a large-ish area full of tough weeds, but that won't cost me an arm and a leg?

2) There were some rosebushes out front when I moved in. But first the structural engineer told me it was probably better if I didn't have plants right around the outside of the house, then guys who were doing my stucco complained they were in the way, so I hacked the poor things down and removed their trellises. The thing is, they keep trying to grow back. I had no idea roses were so hearty! How in the world do I get rid of these things? Or if they're too hard to remove completely, what do I do for them?

Man, I so want to xeriscape my yard with some gravel and a few cacti and have done with it. But there's no way I have the money for that in the foreseeable future. Sigh.


  1. Re: #1... well, I'm not going to be much help there -- I have a gas/oil-mixture-powered weed-trimmer I rarely ever use, and a personal lawncare philosophy that anything that survives my pouring my left-over Coke on it deserves to live...

    As fer #2, a little Google-Fu turned up this little tidbit:

    As for killing roses, the method to use depends upon how many there are. Sometimes a backhoe is brought in to dig up dozens of large plants. For only a few shrubs, cut the plants back to just above ground level. That can be done now or later in the winter. Then use an old paint brush to apply Roundup concentrate (not diluted form) on all the cut ends of the plant. Apply this herbicide liberally. This step must be done later, when there are warmer temperatures. Mid to late March is a good time when those first warm days arrive. It should be done before new growth begins in April. This method works well. Be sure to discard the contaminated paint brush when the job is completed.

  2. I kind of like the "live-and-let-live" philosophy, but not when I can barely walk through my own back yard. :)

    Thanks for the tip on the roses. I dislike the idea of waging chemical warfare on anything, but it may come to that, as I'm certainly not digging them out with a backhoe. Alternatively, I think perhaps the roses just win. We'll see how I feel in, say, March...

  3. Since I work in a hardware store, I do have some knowledge. If you can spend about 50 to 60 dollars on a weedwhacker. You can cut a whole lot of weeds and lawn too. I have a Grasshog by Black and Decker. It has automatic feed so you dont have to tap the spool to get more cutting line. Its fairly light also . You will need a extension cord that you can reach your whole yard.(not terribly espensive. What I like too is that it has a 14" cut. you can actually cut a lot of grass with it. I uses .80 line thickness. Very heavy for those big weeds and small trees! Hope this might help.

  4. Thanks! That might, indeed, be helpful. I'll take a look at that one.

    I was checking out some gas-powered ones online, but they're much more expensive.

  5. OK, been checking that one out on Amazon... There's some mixed reviews there, but overall it looks pretty good for the price. I think I may just buy me one of those and see how it does.

  6. I have one of those. We also picked up a cheap electric mower at a garage sale for 50 bucks - it helps too, but if your yard isn't too big the whole weed whacker should work.
    Ours works really well for a weedy yard (we have no grass, just weeds and vines). I'd just suggest to NOT wear shorts while you use it...I've got all manner of tiny marks on my legs from using ours in shorts over the weekend...

  7. Oh, I almost get rid of the roses, buy some Round Up or other good plant killer and paint it onto the leaves and stump with a small brush instead of spraying it. THat way it doesn't get to anything else in the yard - just the roses. Those things will grow forever if you let them and they'll keep coming back if you don't...

  8. I ordered the weed whacker... I may supplement it with a mower, too, if I need to, but there's very little grass in my yard, either.

    And the reviewers on Amazon already warned me about not using shorts. I've already decided shorts are a bad idea for yardwork, anyway. *scratches at mosquito bites on legs*