Landscaping overgrown property in Texas

14 Replies

Hi - Looking for some advice on the best way (and cost estimate) to de-foliate an overgrown property in East Texas. Grass is overgrown and unrully. Vines and ivy in chain link fence ect. Some stuff on house. I'm from northeast (got this property as an inheritance) wondering what best to do with house in texas - looking for most cost effective systems - ARV is about $65,000 for this single family. Thanks!

@Stephen Camardo  

RoundUp is great for defoliation.  You should try to use it when there is little to no wind, because it will pretty much kill everything.  You're going to have more difficulty with the vines, and it depends on what kind of vine it is.  Best advice there is to cut off a section (make sure it's not poison ivy!) and take it to the local feed store or co-op.  Don't take it to the local Home Depot.  The feed store is your best bet.  (Depending on where you are in East Texas, you may have an Extension office nearby.  They are a great source of information.)  Kill the existing ground cover and trim the trees & bushes.  Make sure you trim them well enough to all for sunlight to filter through.  Go back to your feed store and ask what grass seed they recommend for partly shaded lawns.  Rake the soil to loosen the top of it.  Sow the seeds and water.  ANYTHING will grow in East Texas!  If you want to put in some decorative elements, look at ornamental bushes, like the butterfly bush.  It blooms in spring and early summer and has a nice airy shape that adds some variety.  Green is big in East as in lush lawns...not tree hugger green.  Make the lawn nice and you'll be good.

I do agree with everything that Hattie says except for the Roundup-because as she states it does kill everything and stays in the soil for some time.

Otherwise good luck to you

@Sonia Roberts  makes a good point about the RoundUp.  Depending on where you are in East Texas, you may have really sandy soil.  If you do, just water the heck out of it to help wash the herbicide out.  It will drain & dry quickly.  Also, while you're at the feed store, ask them what to put on the lawn, after the grass is dead, to neutralize the herbicide, prior to sowing the grass.  You should be able to apply either an alkaline or base or something that will neutralize it. 

@Stephen Camardo  if you have trouble getting to the property regularly (once a month) you may want to hire a local lawn and garden company. A good one would be familiar with the types of soil in the properties area, and would be able to manage the overgrowth rather easily. 

Depending on how far south in east Texas will determine if you would want a year round regiment or 8 month regiment. A large portion of North Texas plant life goes dormant from mid October until late February because of winter. If the property is too far south, you may have your battle all year round with an ivy,or until you locate the main root.

RoundUp has a formula for poison ivy and brush that you can use on the tougher to kill areas. The label on the RoundUp package indicates that affected areas can be replanted within a few weeks, so that tells me it does not remain harmful in the soil for too long. 

You also can stop the ivy growing up tree trunks by severing a section about a foot long on the tree trunk and cleaning that section off the trunk as thoroughly as you can. 

hey Hattie. Good advice.  I use a local feed and seed store and buy the heavy weed killer from them.  Much better than roundup as it is for our unique problems.  @Hattie Dizmond  I would like to talk to you about flower beds. Have one that is finally ready and it has a bed I need to fill. 

@Tom Keith 

I love the local feed stores.  Those guys are amazing.  Between them and the hardware store in Bonham, I had great Saturdays! 

I love to play in the dirt!  If you really want to talk about what to fill your dirt with, feel free to PM me.

I agree with all that has been said but wanted to lend some clarification on the use of Round up.  Round up is what most people commonly call glycophosphate.  Glycophosphate will completely break down chemically within a few days to a few weeks and will not stay in the soil no matter what type of soil you have... well not as glycophospate anyways.  If you buy a round up branded herbacide that says anything about extended control etc... then you will have only dirt for a very long time.  So if you decide to chemically kill all of your unwanted vegetation, then I would recommend buying offbrand concentrated glycophosphate for use in a pump sprayer and go crazy with it (while following manufacturers mixing instructions) but leave an unsprayed border of about 2 feet around your trees and use it on a calm day without wind or rain.  The feed store advice on plant identification is great, they should also carry glycophospate and when you ask for it they will probably know what you're talking about.  Usually 2 treatments in a two week interval will kill everything except nutsedge and dormant bermuda.  When mixing this don't make a mess, follow the instructions, and add a little dawn dish soap (helps penetrate waxy leaf coatings).

I've personally had ryegrass sprouting with an 80 percent germination rate after 7 days.  This seed was put down 1 day after a heavy glycophosphate treatment on a 3-4 thousand square foot area. 

In your yard I would sod with st. augustine next may.  If you are worried about erosion until may then I would suggest annual ryegrass.  Ask the feed store guys for application rates.  Shade will probably be an issue if you use bermuda, even with a heavy tree trimming which, as has been said already is definitely needed... if you have mostly sunny areas or if you are going to list it quickly then go for bermuda.  You could sod right after clearing the dirt but it's a little risky this time of year and immediately after an herbacide treatment.  If you are just going to list it this winter then don't worry about sod, ryegrass is fine and super cheap.  With an arv of 65k you may not want to spend the money on sod either way.

Wow - great replies - thanks again - any advice on cost to do a 11,000 SF lot - then replant with grass? - we're estimating repairs on the house and while I'm an expert on the inside- I don't have good knowledge on lawn and garden - plus - I'm from the northeast so this would require different grass plants ect.  Good suggestion on the farm store!

Another question - the north side of the property line buffers to a few mobile homes (actually more like trailers) - I'm thinking about a PVC fence there to screen - but in the Northeast, I'd plan a cedar hedge in front of that - would that be good for East Texas - and by the way, this is Port Lavaca, on the inland waterway (but not water frontage) of Gulf.

@Stephen Camardo  would you be replanting with seed or sod?  What time of year will it need to be planted and are you looking for a temporary lawn or permanent lawn?

Have you had any estimates on the outside work?

Fyi Port Lavaca is not East TX when you are talking to anyone from TX.  I don't think it changes any of the advice you've been given though.

If it's all fenced in, find a local farmer with some goats and see if he'd be willing to let you "borrow" a few for a couple days and offer to pay for the diesel or whatever to drive them over and drop them off. They'll graze it down to nothing in no time and you won't have to dump a bunch of chemicals on the property.

Not to ignite a debate about the use RoundUp, but while they claim that oh yeah, glyphosate will just break down and wash away, no big deal, there are plenty of studies that show while it might not be found in the soil, it can be taken up alongside essential nutrients by the plants that it doesn't kill and then remain within the food chain for some time. Now if you're just putting down grass afterward and not eating it then you probably don't care, but if a buyer wants to plant a garden then they might have issues if the soil has been recently covered in RoundUp. Just a thought. I'll go hug a tree now....

I second the goat suggestion.  I put a half dozen anywhere I need to clear out and they will do it in a day or two.  A goat's favorite food is poison ivy.  Second favorite is rose bush so watch out and don't let them get to the neighbors...

ahh !  love the goat idea.  I didn't think of that - there's a company here in Southeastern Mass that does just that here.  Wonder if I can get a goat on a plane to Texas?  ..... hmmm

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