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How to deal with a field of weeds

cve60069cve60069 Posts: 8

I have rented a small field off a farmer (half a football pitch) that I am allowed to turn into a garden. For the first year, I am only going to grow the boundary hedges and turn the field to grass.  The field was head high with weeds (thistle, stingers and bramble) which I cut down with a brush cutter.  The ground is very uneven so I am going to hire an excavator and driver to level the ground for me.

My question is: what do I do with the weeds?  Do I get the driver to scrape the ground level, smash the weed roots and leave in place, or; do I scape the top surface off and move the soil to a heap.  Problem with that is it would be a big heap.

If I left the weeds in place after levelling, which would be my choice, will it be necessary to kill the weeds before seeding my grass-seeds in September? If I have to kill, I assume I will use a poison.




  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 22,631
    Sounds a big job. The digger will scrape up weeds anyway when doing the levelling. I would spray the lot with glyphosate when he's finished then spray again when more weeds appear as they are bound to. I know a lot of people would be anti weedkillers but, unless you are going to cover the lot with weed surpressant fabric for a year it would be very difficult to clear such a large area by hand. Leaving weeds may only cause problems in your lawn later. People say mowing will sort it, but I found by experience that it didn't. I think brambles enjoy being pruned!
    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • mac12mac12 Posts: 191
    Be better to spray it first if you've got any growth after your cutting . Be careful with the digger that you don't remove your topsoil 
  • Slow-wormSlow-worm Posts: 1,576
    edited June 2022
    You need to spray when the plants are at a particular stage of growth - usually young. So personally, I'd top it or dig it, and spray when the weeds start coming up again. You may need to repeat every year for a while, because plants like docks seed at a rate of knots, and the seeds stay viable for decades. Mowing should sort them once you're lawned, but just keep in mind things can need another go.
    I hate chemicals, but had to use them to get our pastures back to decent grass - for 3 years. Docks and buttercups were taking over from years of previous tenants' neglect. 
    Don't forget chain harrows as a good support for keeping things nice.
  • SkandiSkandi Posts: 1,717
    edited June 2022
    You've got a few options depending how perfect you want the end result,
    Roll it flat and mow it bi weekly for a couple of years and you will get a rough but usable grass area.  Nettles and canadian thistle die under this regime.
    Or get the farmer to spray it as it begins to regrow, unless he's organic he'll have a choice of weedkillers to use on it. Then flatten it, wait for the inevitable regrowth from the brambles, and thistles, spray again and then seed. If you only want grass you can seed after the original weedkilling and then hit it with a selective weed killer when the thistles and other perennial weeds reaper.
    Or you can (if you have a tractor) harrow it, and repeat every time the weeds regrow, it will take a couple of years with this method to get rid of them and it will look terrible while you do it.
  • cve60069cve60069 Posts: 8
    Thanks people.  First job is to flatten the site, then I will deal with the weeds as you recommend above.  There is all sorts of crap in the field and cannot see it because of the weeds. Chopped most down.  I have found an apple tree in the middle (bonus).
  • Slow-wormSlow-worm Posts: 1,576
    I reckon the farmer should be paying you!!

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