Monday, December 03, 2007

Sod killing cardboard

As I have posted about before, I am a big fan of using cardboard to kill the sod and suppress weeds when developing new garden beds or planting shrubs. We've successfully used that strategy with the blueberry hedge, the holly hedge and the grape arbor bed.

As we are over run with weeds like creeping bellflower, plantain, creeping charlie and more here at Henbogle, we are continuing that strategy as we work our way along the boundaries of the property, removing invasives and planting shrub borders.

Next spring, we'll be working on the east border beyond the freestanding deck, by the neighbors swing set. We have a ancient, gorgeous flowering crab along the west boundary, and now are concentrating on understory shrubs and plants, probably hostas and ferns as it is pretty shady there. Our bottle tree is featured there as well, capturing any evil spirits that venture our way.

The first step in creating the shrub border: kill off the existing plants, a mix of orange daylillies, mildew-ridden phlox, creeping purple bellflower and other assorted weedy growth. In the past few years I've planted a few black- and red chokeberries in there, and on the far side of the crab a serviceberry or two. My next step is to smother everything else and give the shrubs a year or two without competing weeds, and then we'll be able to fill in with the shade-loving perennials.

Over the last few weekends, we cut back all the plants, spread our chopped leaves, then laying down thick layers of brown cardboard over the leaves. Over the winter the cardboard will begin to break down, and in the spring we'll cover it with mulch of some sort, and try and be patient. And of course, we have to weight the cardboard down so it doesn't blow away.

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