Hi, this is my second post since I became a member. I received very valuable information on my first post so here we go again. We moved into this house/property about 3 years ago and we are in the process of transforming it into somewhat a forest garden. Anyway, there are lots of weeds growing everywhere, my property literally looks like I have a lawn (my daughter loves how it looks). I have a weed wacker and that is usually how I cut the weeds. I am trying to cut them before they go to seed, even though it is still raining (unusual) My plan is to cut the weeds and leave them there as they will hopefully cover any other weeds that are growing. Any recommendations?
If you have access to enough organic matter I'd sheet mulch over the top of everything. Good start for a forest soil ecology as well as good weed control. Any mowing system will just eventually just select for low growing mowing tolerant weed or grass species. An alternative which I practice is let all the weeds grow as long as they want, then when they become senescent just push them over away from the intended tree planting site (works best when the weeds are wet from a good rain), and then mulch over the top. This way the weeds become an asset with the minimum effort. I've got 2000 tamarillo and avocado trees to plant this season, and this is the method I will be using.
Weeds are plants that grow in conditions that other plants cannot compete well in. If you have weeds it likely means that your soil is in poor condition. The weeds will slowly improve your soil health by growing there.
If you want grass I would spread grass seed and then continue mowing the weeds before they produce seeds. This would be the low cost, slow process to shift the space to grass. This method usually will take years. Someone else might have ideas if you want quicker results.
I planted some buckwheat and clover in a small patch next to the chicken coop. I wonder if I do this in a larger scale I would end uo with the same problem except this time would be the buckwheat and clover, although I have read they are great weed suppressants.
I second Leora's suggestion of sowing what you would like to grow, and keeping the weeds mowed before they can go to seed, and with time you'll see a change. I like "weeds", to me they're not weeds they're forbs, and supplies biodiversity in my lawn. Other simple things that can be done is a soil test and pH adjustment. For example, if the pH is currently 5.0, the weeds that nature has provided that like acidic conditions will thrive. Up that pH to 6.5, and those acid loving weeds will cease to thrive, and other things such as your buckwheat and clover will gladly take over.
"Study books and observe nature; if they do not agree, throw away the books." ~ William A. Albrecht
It all depends what your goals are. Where do you want to be in one season versus 2-3 seasons versus long term?
Weeds are nature's emergency ground cover. They do a great job. They're slow to build soil, though. If you want something faster you need to take action. But the weeds that are growing there are there because they are well adapted to the site, so you might consider how to incorporate them to one degree or another in your near and possibly long term plans.
Buckwheat is a great nutrient scavenger, is super competitive, and its succulent nature means it will readily breakdown and feed the crop that follows it. It does not play well with others, though. It's easily killed by frost but can readily self-seed. Oh and bees LOVE it. So do chickens.
Will clover grow for you there? A shade tolerant variety can fix nitrogen below other crops and most are perennial, so great for a no-till or food forest application.
The sky's the limit! Your land looks very pretty. Have fun with it and good luck!
In the city I did a survey of our weeds, identifying each I could and every one had some palliative reputation, were edible or both. So we mow regularly and enjoy the wild violets and clover. Certain more aggressive spreading weeds we eliminate using an electric line trimmer.
The Greenhouse of the Future ebook by Francis Gendron