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Clearing weeds from a paddock


I was hoping that thi sis the best place to get advice on my garden

i have just moved to a new house which has an acre of garden / paddock. Previously this was a well mown lawn ; but as the house has been empty for at least 12 months it has been neglected

as well as long grass, it has large brown/ brush lije things which are about 2 ft high. My friend says that thery are last years docs that have gone to seed - this makes sense as at the base in new , green growth

i am after advice for

a) immediate suggestions on how to clear said docs ; and if they are how do i stop coming back. My friend suggested Grazon as a weedkiller which i Googled but am a bit worried as there is a pond at the bottom of the garden (the garden slopes down to)

b) any suggestions fpor getting it back to its 'former glory' ? i plan to buy a lawn tractor

Many thanks. Any suggestions, tips would be appreciated.

at the moment it is a bit daunting and i just do not know where to start !




  • Welcome to my world.  We have an acre of what we call an orchard: young fruit trees and rough grass.  We have planted some wildflower plugs into one area of it but we battle docks every year.

    I do use Grazon, but I don't have a pond.  If I was in your situation, I'd use Glyphosate (Roundup or similar) and just make sure that I targeted it very closely on the dock leaves so it didn't kill the surrounding grass.  Now is a great time to do it, when the fresh leaves are growing strongly.

    If you have a farming supplies shop near you, I'd buy a backpack sprayer and generic glyphosate which you can dilute - it will be much cheaper than garden centre bottles.

    Now the bad news: we've been in this house for three years, and I spray for docks every spring.  And every summer I wade through the grass looking for any docks I missed and cutting off seed heads (those brownish/red things) and binning them.  Docks are very persistant and, when the leaves are small, hard to spot.

    For what it's worth, we don't mow the grass short all through the year.  Instead we let it grow up until August, allowing time for the wildflowers to flower and set seed.  Then we hire a heavy-duty brush-cutting mower (our tractor won't deal with hip-high grass!), push it through the field and rake it up.  If you live in the countryside, another option is to ask a local farmer if s/he wants to make hay from the field.  If there's nothing else planted in it, they might mow and remove the hay for you.

    If you want it to be lawn, then a lawn tractor (although you will probably need to use a brush-cutting mower once just to cut it down to a manageable length) used regularly will help to deal with the docks too, although weedkilling will be necessary alongside: the mower will stop them growing big or setting seed, but it won't kill them.

  • I have had success with docks using a spray called SBK with is fairly cheap and easy to get hold of and less toxic than Grazon (they'll laugh at you if you try Glyphos, it is not strong enough in the normal dose). Try to leave the spray for as long as you can bear the long grass as the more leaf area there is then the more of the chemical will get into the root, just before flowering is best.

    To recover the lawn/paddock hire a brush mower or if you are feeling macho google Wolseley Clearway, they come up on ebay every now and again and I will vouch for them though you may also need a pipe and flat cap to go with it. After that go back to the mower and a repeated close cut will prevent any course weeds like dock coming back.         

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