How to Attack an Overgrown Garden

Gardening is something that many of us have a good deal of experience with. A majority of us have spent hours upon hours working on our gardens over the years, gaining knowledge, and honing our skills. We also learn how to attack an Overgrown garden.

When it comes to gardening, you run into many different problems. Of course pests and diseases are a problem. So is the over production of an invasive crop. You can try to manage your garden in a certain way to minimize these problems but sometimes you have to think on your toes.

1. Attack the Weeds

Your overgrown garden may have become a jungle, but you don’t have to let it stay that way. If you missed your chance to prevent the garden from becoming a mess, a few steps can get it back in shape. The key is to organize your plan so you can attack the weeds and other problems as efficiently as possible.

Attack the weeds. Weeds are likely to be the biggest problem you face in an overgrown garden. They’re often the first thing that grows when a garden goes untouched. The best way to handle them is to use an herbicide spray like Roundup, which kills plants down to their roots.

If you want to avoid chemicals, try pulling up the weeds by hand with a weeding fork or a trowel. Be sure to wear gloves and long sleeves, as some weeds cause skin irritation, such as poison ivy and poison oak.

Prune bushes and shrubs. The next step is to prune any bushes or shrubs that have become overgrown or are blocking windows or walkways. Pruning shears work well for small branches, while larger branches may require loppers or tree trimmers. Once again, be sure to wear protective gear like heavy-duty gloves or eye protection when working around sharp objects.

2. Remove any Diseased Plants

You’ve probably seen how a garden can grow wild if it’s neglected for too long. Weeds, vines, and other invasive plants might take over an area, leaving you with an overwhelming task.

If the area is relatively small and not covered in thick grass or other vegetation, you can simply set to work pulling weeds and cutting down the vegetation. This is usually a good approach with flower gardens and raised beds, where the soil is loose enough that you don’t have to dig up the roots of plants.

Otherwise, follow these steps:

  • Remove any diseased plants. These should be disposed of right away, don’t put them in your compost heap or let them sit on top of the soil while you’re working. If they’ve already spread their disease to nearby plants, those may need to be removed as well.
  • Focus on removing the most aggressive or invasive plants first. In many cases, these will be weeds like dandelions and thistles, which are difficult to remove once they’ve taken root. Other plants worth removing include poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac and kudzu.

3. Scrub Hard Surfaces, such as Paths and Walls

Overgrown gardens can look very unsightly, so it’s important to keep on top of your garden maintenance. If you’ve got an overgrown garden and don’t know where to start, read our guide to getting it back in order.

Scrub hard surfaces, such as paths and walls.

For walls and paths, you’ll need a stiff-bristled brush and a bucket of soapy water. Scrub the surface thoroughly to remove all the dirt, paying particular attention to any cracks or crevices.

Check for loose paving stones or bricks, weeding between them as necessary, and reset any that have come adrift.

Use a leaf blower to clear away fallen leaves on lawns, paths, patios and drives, then sweep up any remaining leaves by hand.

4. Prune Evergreens and Fruit trees before the Spring Growth Starts

Pruning evergreens and fruit trees before spring growth starts will create a healthier plant with more flowers and fruit. Once new growth begins, pruning will stimulate even more new growth that can make the plant too large. In addition to pruning, it’s important to shape up evergreens and fruit trees by removing dead or broken branches. When you trim away dead or broken branches, it creates an opening for disease and insects.

Make sure to have all the tools you need for pruning. Having your tools sharpened is important so that you don’t tear the bark or stems of your plants when pruning. You also need to have sanitized tools both before and after pruning so there isn’t any cross-contamination between plants.

Deadheading should be done throughout the summer as needed on flowering shrubs, roses, perennials and other plants that produce flowers. Deadheading stimulates new flower buds and maintains healthy plants.

5. Renovate the Lawn

Gardeners often find that they have plants they never meant to put in the garden or that have taken over. It happens all the time, especially if you are a beginning gardener and purchased plants without paying attention to their mature size or growth rate.

What should you do? Here are some ideas:

  • A badly overgrown lawn is an eye-sore and a safety hazard. If your lawn is becoming dangerous to mow or walk on, or it is so covered with weeds that it is ugly, consider renovating it.
  • You can cut down the grass and weeds, apply a herbicide such as Round-up (following label directions) and then wait three weeks before applying grass seed.
  • Alternately, you can replace the sod with new sod. Either way it will look better than having a weed patch for a lawn!
  • The most important thing you can do to ensure a good harvest is to pick healthy plants with no signs of damage. If you are starting a new garden, it is best to plant fresh seeds as well.
  • If your garden has been neglected for some time, you may have to deal with weeds and overgrown plants. You can deal with these by pulling them out or cutting them back.
  • To get rid of weeds, pull them out by the roots and throw them away. If you don’t want to pull them out, cut them back so they won’t grow back as quickly or as large. In addition, trim bushes and hedges that have become overgrown so they don’t take over your garden space.
  • After clearing your garden of weeds and trimming back bushes and hedges, it’s time to plant new seeds or move plants into their permanent locations in your garden.
  • You can buy new seeds at local nurseries and home improvement stores or order them online from seed companies like Burpee and Johnny’s Selected Seeds. You can also dig up plants from existing gardens if you have permission from the owner.

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