Forum home Problem solving

new gardener - lots of weeds, advice please :) Posts: 14
edited May 2020 in Problem solving
We have an area at the back of the garden which I think used to be a rockery but is totally overgrown with brambles/weeds/wild roses? and some really deep rooted things. We a huge ivy plant which was taking over everywhere and some really large trees which we ended up chopping down as they were about 9ft tall. The problem is now that the back has some large stumps which we have tried unsuccessfully to dig out and the weeds are out of control!
We do quite a job but everything comes back so quickly. As you can see on one of the photos there is a large area which I cleared yesterday and the other side is still a bit of a nightmare. We've also found lots of concrete in the ground too.

Does anybody have any advice on what we could do. I'm quite a novice when it comes to gardening but really love it and enjoying it at the moment so any advice and suggestions would be great!


  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,530
    Hallo,, and welcome to the forum, and to the wonderful world of gardening!  It's too late now, but in future, if you're getting rid of trees, it's better to leave a taller trunk.  This gives you more leverage; when you're getting the trunk free from its roots, and/or the roots free from the soil, you can make brute force more effective in rocking, pushing and pulling at the trunk.

    I don't think you've any alternative to sheer slog in getting out the tree stumps and chunks of masonry.  Now is not a good time to be doing it; it's been dry so long that all but the most workable ground is very hard.  In your place, I think I'd concentrate on other aspects of the garden until lockdown is lifted and there's been a decent amount of rain.  Then lay on some beer and get a crowd of mates in.  Physical toil in good company can be quite jolly!  A mattock is a piece of kit which a lot of people on this forum swear by for the sort of work you've got there.

    As for the weeds, don't be tempted to rotavate them.  It's a quick, low-effort way to clear the ground, but it will chop all those deep roots to bits and leave them in the soil, where each bit will produce another plant, leaving you worse off than you were before.  You have two options:  ardent spadework to get every bit of root out, or glyphosate weedkiller applied to the foliage, then wait up to three or four weeks until the whole plant is dead.

    I know it's a daunting task, but it will be worth it!  By the way, does bn in your username stand for Brighton?  I lived in and around Brighton for many years; now I'm retired I live in North Wales, where I've always wanted to be.

  • Posts: 14
    Thank you so much this is really useful and lots of things I didn't know about before so will definitely be looking into what you've said. 
    We'll wait until its been a bit rainier before starting anything again. Luckily my parents are both avid gardeners and love helping us out so thats been a great help in the past when they visit but what with lockdown, its a little trickier and I'm very impatient! I definitely want to get it down properly so will listen to your advice.
    In the meantime I've bought myself a little mini greenhouse so will pot some seeds to keep me busy (might be a bit late in the year but we'll see)!
    We have been digging up the weeds from the roots where we can but lots of them are very deep rooted and it seems every time we dig them up something new and different grows.
    Luckily the person who lived here before us left some really useful tools so thats been great but will definitely be purchasing a mattock and will look at glyphosate weedkiller if it comes to it. 
    Really excited to see what we can create with the space too afterwards. 

    I'm not from Brighton but my parents live in North Wales actually, I'm quite a few hours further up north! :smiley:
  • Papi JoPapi Jo Posts: 4,024
    Hi and welcome to our forum! Our friend @josusa47 has provided good advice in his reply. I've been in a similar situation 6 or 7 years ago, when we extended our garden after purchasing part of the neighbour's "garden". All I can say is "don't despair", where there's a will there's a way. It's always worth getting rid of ALL rubble, tree stumps, in order to start with a clean slate. I am attaching 2 pics showing the BEFORE and AFTER states of part of our extension. The only still visible part is marked with a red cross.
    You can view more on my garden site at
    Wishing you the best of luck and looking forward to pics of your progress in your further posts!
    May 2013
    May 2016
    You are invited to a virtual visit of my garden (in English or in French).
  • Posts: 14
    Wow I've just had a look at your garden site, it looks amazing! I'd love something like that in the future. 
    I definitely need to remember to take photos as I go to remember that progress can be made, that is what I have always forgotten to do in the past. Thank you for your words of encouragement :smiley: we'll get there!
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