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What are my options if I have to give up the aesthetics of the garden(currently with a little sod and a loads of weed) to control kill weed.

One option I'm considering is the following:

  1. Mow the area to lowest height,
  2. Use Sod cutter/Bobcat remove the top 1-2"
  3. Water thoroughly for the seeds to germinate couple of days
  4. Cover the place with transparent plastic for 4-10 weeks to bake in sun
  5. Install landscape fabric
  6. Add 1-2" of mulch

Plants I'm trying to get rid of (the ones I can find the names of):

  • Thistle
  • Black Medic
  • Crabgrass
  • Carolina Geranium
  • Yellow Woodsorrel
  • Prickly lettuce
  • Flatweed (cat's ear)

How many times would I be expecting regrowth? How long do I have to wait, before I can reinstall new sod or plant shrubs?

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I think I can offer a little perspective on this. In my own case I am trying to "grow" the size of a vegetable garden incrementally each year. I have tried a number of ways and now know which is preferred in my area, which is characterized by sod with a dense mat of couch/quack grass, dock, thistle, annual crabgrass and various other annual weeds.

The first method was simple digging over, but of course the quack grass thought that was great fun and just grew back even more vigorously. Second method was thorough digging (see this page for example) which worked but was very hard work. My process now is much easier and uses some of the ideas from your list:

  1. Mow grass coarsely, no need to mow close
  2. Mark out and use the half moon to cut out a strict rectangle, V-groove, perimeter only, of the area to be added
  3. Remove the thin strip of sod from the groove and add to the compost heap, leaving a 3" deep channel all around this new area
  4. Cover the area with black landscape fabric right to the edges and into the corners ensuring that some fabric goes down into the groove; if the fabric is a bit worn in patches and shows green here and there make it double thickness so that you cannot see any green through the fabric
  5. Weight down the landscape fabric with rocks, stones, concrete blocks especially at the edges and corners since the wind will try to move it around. As you dig/prepare the main garden or otherwise get more stones throw them onto the fabric to keep it in place; become skilled at tossing stones from a distance onto the fabric
  6. Leave intact for 12 months. At the end of that time remove the stones (build a path somewhere with them) the quack grass has given up and the annual weeds on the surface are gone. You may see some ghostly white flattened leaves of thistle where roots are still trying to be active. The soil will be easy to dig in these areas since the quack grass has gone.
  7. Now work up the area as required for final use.

An alternative method is to build a big compost heap directly on the area to be cleared, but of course that is a smaller area and it is much harder to control what happens at the edges.

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