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HeatherMacCloud
Weed and rock removal

I'm moving in with some friends soon, and they've asked my help in fixing up their yard. Their front yard isn't that bad, a little weed infested, but nothing a good over-seeding and fertilizing won't cure with time. The back yard is another story entirely...

It's full of weeds, there is no grass at all, and to make matters worse the yard has been dug up so there's rocks everywhere. Little rocks that are the size of a golf ball, big ones that are the size of a man's fist or larger. There are tons of them, too, all throughout the yard.

I'm trying to come up with a plan of attack for getting it back in shape that doesn't involve picking up each rock by hand, but they look too big to just till everything under. I'd like to avoid a lot of heavy chemicals. There's a feral cat and her kittens that like to hang out in the yard, and I don't want to risk them getting sick. Any ideas as to how I can turn this rubble field into an actual yard without spending the winter moving rocks and pulling weeds one at a time?

A. Spruce
Re: Weed and rock removal

Don't bother trying to use herbicides on the weeds, all you'll succeed in doing is killing the green parts, it does nothing to the seed in the soil, and ultimately, herbicides pollute the soil and water run-off.

Mow the weeds, if you can't use a mower with a catcher, then use a weedeater, then rake up and discard as much as you can. If you want to kill the weeds, then water the area well, then cover with a dark tarp, the lack of light and heat build up will kill the green stuff.

The rocks, are they native to the soil or were they brought in and used as landscape material that have just gotten out of hand? If the rock is too large and dense to till the soil for leveling and planting, then you're going to have to get most of them out of there. The easiest means will be with a rock screen, you can make one yourself with a few 2x4 and hardware cloth or expanded metal. You build a 2' or 3' wide by 4' or 6' long box with the 2x, then attach the hardware cloth with small fence staples. If you want to get really fancy and make it durable, you wrap the hardware cloth up the outsides of the box and overlay with a 1x, attaching the 1x with screws. This will pinch the cloth and hold it tighter as well as cover any sharp edges that can catch your hands. Once you have the screen, you prop one end up so that the screen sits at an angle. You want just enough angle that as you toss dirt onto it, that it rolls down the screen on it's own. The rock and debris will be shed to the end of the screen, the clean dirt will fall through the screen.
You could also build or buy a trammel screen which is by far easier to use, but that's a whole lot more complicated and expensive.

JLMCDANIEL
Re: Weed and rock removal

Get some 5 gal buckets and contact local Cub Scout troop and offer say $5 a bucket donation to the troop.You'd be surprised how fast the rocks can be gathered by 5 or 6 kids.
Jack

kcb
Re: Weed and rock removal

Rake, scoop, haul. Anyone nearby need some rock fill, cover for a rock drive, or other innovative and free way to dispose?

kcb
Re: Weed and rock removal
JLMCDANIEL wrote:

Get some 5 gal buckets and contact local Cub Scout troop and offer say $5 a bucket donation to the troop.You'd be surprised how fast the rocks can be gathered by 5 or 6 kids.
Jack

Great idea. And be sure to write a check to the troop for the funds. The check is your proof of a tax-deductible contribution to the Scouts. Don't forget to keep drinking water near during the task.

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