Rotavator to tame paddock? Will it work?

We have a paddock out the back, but no animals to eat it, and therefore it has gone to pot a bit - covered in docks, nettles, cow parsley etc.  My husband, some years ago, hired a mini digger to scoop off the top layer of part of it, which we then raked and re-seeded to form a sort of pitch of better quality grass which we now mow and keep in order.  Since then, access difficulties mean we can't get a digger in, but I am keen to repell the army of weeds and extend the 'tame' area.  I am wondering if a rotavator would do the job - the problem is that the ground is full of bits of sandstone, about the size of the human fist, which I keep pulling out and disposing of.  Would they keep snaring the rotavator up, or would a heavy duty one be able to cope with them.  I have never used a rotavator before and don't want to hire one only to find it can't cope.  Thanks in advance for any words of wisdom. 

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Posts

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,242

    I think it would chew up the weed roots and spread them about even more. What are your plans for the paddock?. Are you looking for clear ground or  mown grass?

  • Busy Bee2Busy Bee2 Posts: 1,005

    In the short term, mown grass.  The weeds come up through the tamed bit, (along with the moles!) but because we mow it and put weed and feed on it in the summer, they don't get a foothold.  In the long term, I might cultivate more of it, but in the short term, if I can just get it to mowable quality, that will be something.  All the gardening here has been an ongoing conquest that started at the house and is moving down the paddock!

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,242

    If it's flat, mow it. It will do away with stinging nettles, they don't like being mowed.

    I've mad a lot of 'lawns' over time just by mowing what's there.

    I wouldn't be weeding and feeding. I don't like the weed part. I might spot kill any nuisance plants with a bit of glyphosate.

     

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 43,690

    Just keep pulling out the stones and mowing - not very short, but often enough for it to be possible to push the mower - the more you mow the better it will be - in the past we've tamed large areas of thistley nettley grass but regular mowing with a rackety old petrol driven rotary mower.  Wear good boots and protective goggles if it's stoney ground and just get at it.  

    I wouldn't put any fertiliser on it, but if there are large patches of nettles/thistles etc then I'd hire a knapsack sprayer and just spray those areas with glyphosate.

    Maybe you can bribe/reward the children to stone-pick - I understand it was popular with farmers in Norfolk in years gone by - they got the local children to clear their fields ....... apparently they even got time off school to stone-pick ......... I'll get my coat image

    No-one knows if you've done your housework, but everyone knows if you've done your gardening !
  • Busy Bee2Busy Bee2 Posts: 1,005

    It's not possible to mow over what is already there - well at least not with our very average lawn mower (when we win the lottery we will get a ride-on mower!).  The ground is very uneven - also not level with the current grass because of the top layer having been taken off, and what little grass is left is not the right sort, so I do think it needs re-seeding.  Maybe I will just dig it, throw out the stones and weed roots as I go and reclaim it in patches, which was what I was planning to do.  Just wondered if a rotavator would be quicker, but maybe not then.  As for children and stone picking - perfectly valid!!  We place a plastic bucket at a few metres distance and ask them if they can throw the stones into the bucket - there is no end to their enthusiasm for finding ammunition then!  And the stones are either ready in a bucket for dumping further down the paddock - into the area I will be cultivating in 2030, or in roughly that area, so easy to collect and bucket. 

  • SwissSueSwissSue Posts: 1,447

    This isn't a joke, but if the paddock is fenced, could you "borrow" a goat from somewhere, they will eat up anything, from thistles to brambles!?image

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 43,690

    Just an idea, but would the children be interested in creating a miniature version of the Desert Wash as in the gardens at East Ruston http://www.e-ruston-oldvicaragegardens.co.uk/pages/view/588/new-brochure.htm  on page 18 of the brochure - something quite dramatic!

    No-one knows if you've done your housework, but everyone knows if you've done your gardening !
  • Busy Bee2Busy Bee2 Posts: 1,005

    Sue, we have indeed considered 'living lawnmowers'!  But the amount of expense and effort in mending the fences would be considerable.  They haven't been attended to for some time. Dove what a beautiful place!  I would love to visit there - my kind of gardening - lots of rooms with different moods and plants.  Am already checking out the map book to see how long it would take to get there.  At least it's not in Cornwall!

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 19,737
    Dovefromabove wrote 

    Maybe you can bribe/reward the children to stone-pick - I understand it was popular with farmers in Norfolk in years gone by - they got the local children to clear their fields ....... apparently they even got time off school to stone-pick ......... I'll get my coat image

    Gosh Dove - you Norfolk people know how to live.....imageimage

    to walk through a forest is to touch the past

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 43,690

    Ah, but I've been transplanted - born in Beds, grew up in Suffolk, transplanted into Norfolk image

    No-one knows if you've done your housework, but everyone knows if you've done your gardening !
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