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  • Blackcurrant hedge

    Morning all!

    I am intending to plant a blackcurrant hedge in my front garden. I believe I have all the necessary to create a good growing medium. We are heavy clay here despite being so close to the sea but I have two sacks of farmyard manure and one of soil conditioner to dig in so unless you experts have spotted a flaw already my question is this...

    We suffer from mares/horse tail weed and although I appreciate the weed is not harmful to plants i.e. does not strangle it etc like bindweed it is an unsightly nuisance and pulling it up just encourages more and more to grow. Where it pops up we isolate it with a cut off plastic bottle and squirt Roundup down onto it. In the front lawn at present it is not too prolific and any odd ones are just mown down with the grass which keeps it in check but once I take the turf off and dig over the new bed for the blackcurrants it could go bananas. I was intending to cover the bed with a thick layer of weed suppressant, plant the three bushes through it and then mulch on top (possibly bark). Will this work or will it prevent the bushes from joining together to make a hedge? Also how do I improve the soil in future seasons? Roll the suppressant back plonk on the manure mulch and then roll it back? Or will it all need replacing each year - it is semi permeable so will break down over time.

    Your thoughts would be appreciated - my husband has not quite perfected the art of stopping his eyes rolling back in his head when I raise the subject with him - but he's just gone off to the football for today so the project is on!!

  • #2
    Morning Nanny Chicken.

    You have my deepest sympathies, mares tail is a complete nightmare. My allotment neighbour has quite a lot of it on his plot and after years of removing it is starting to reduce its vigour.
    It sounds like you have a good battle plan. Keep doing what you're doing, although I would suggest chopping it off below ground where ever it pops up if it can't be isolated, it will eventually weaken.
    Your use of weed suppressant should work, but it will need to be good quality. By the time you need to lift it to feed your currants hopefully the problem should have gone away or will be getting that way.

    Anyway good luck with your project.

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    • #3
      Can't really give you much except to ask if you give the horse tail a good thrashing before applying weed killer as its skin is pretty tough and the weed killer has a tough time penetrating it.

      Do you cut out the brown spikes as soon as they appear in the spring? These are the reproductive spikes which will shed millions of spoors if allowed to. They appear first before the green ones.

      One suggestion, depending on how much work you can/want to do would be to dig out a trench, line the sides and bottom with permeable heavy duty weed suppressing fabric so that there are large overlaps in the fabric then fill it with riddled soil and well rotted manure. Mulch the top with wet newspaper sheets (quite thigh) and grass cuttings (not as thick - oh and didn't you say your grass cuttings would have horse tail in it so probably don't use it - use compost instead). I don't know for certain if this will keep it out, probably more of a case for how long.

      New all singing all dancing blog - Jasons Jungle

      ”I have not failed 1,000 times. I have successfully discovered 1,000 ways to NOT make a light bulb."
      ― Thomas A. Edison

      “Negative results are just what I want. They’re just as valuable to me as positive results. I can never find the thing that does the job best until I find the ones that don’t.”
      ― Thomas A. Edison

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      • #4
        As a consolation cut out all the horse tail, pack it as tight as you can into a bin with a sealable lid and top up with water. Leave it for a three months and you'll have a powerful plant feed. IT DOES STINK SOMETHING TERRIBLE so keep it as far away from the house as possible AND KEEP THE LID ON IT.

        New all singing all dancing blog - Jasons Jungle

        ”I have not failed 1,000 times. I have successfully discovered 1,000 ways to NOT make a light bulb."
        ― Thomas A. Edison

        “Negative results are just what I want. They’re just as valuable to me as positive results. I can never find the thing that does the job best until I find the ones that don’t.”
        ― Thomas A. Edison

        - I must be a Nutter,VC says so -

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        • #5
          Wow guys thanks for your input - that's interesting - I've seen the brown spikes but just assumed they were the wet flaccid ones that had been covered up by something! Now I know their devious role in all of this I will be more prepared in future years. Didn't think about the thrashing - you're right they do take a long time to brown off and pop their clogs. I do see the point as well, Sean about cutting them just below the surface to weaken them. The reason I was focussing on the suppressant is that we have had much success alongside our house where they were rampant by covering in thick weed suppressant and then a thick layer of gravel. I don't think they die just crawl along and pop their heads up where there is the merest chink of light which is when we zap them but they look ugly. Perhaps I should mulch, thrash, spray then cut as they die off. The area I have marked out for the hedge is pretty clear of it at present - I just know how persistent it is and I want to be ahead of the game.

          Thanks again both.

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          • #6
            as for growing them as a hedge, I have some of mine interplanted with goosegogs to support the long stems and means I don't have to have posts and wires as I have around them in the back garden,so two crops from one area...

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            • #7
              Oooh now that is resourceful. I was advised to plant them two feet from the wall (an 18 inch high wall on the boundary of our garden with the road) and three feet apart. The area I have just stripped of turf - yes really - how delighted hubby will be on his return - is a bit longer which means I can space them a bit further apart and put goosegogs in between. He likes goosegogs (even though he has an aversion to hairy fruit) :-)

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              • #8
                Blackcurrants make huge bushes when mature. My Mum's is as tall as me (5ft10) and is about 5ft wide as well as just over 3ft deep. My cousins in Oslo have currants as hedging on their drive and they are now one long hedge - self-supporting and coping with a temperature range of -15 to 30C.

                It's a lovely idea - I'm growing a couple on my allotment, but as soon as I have a garden I am putting in a fruit hedge.
                http://mudandgluts.com - growing fruit and veg in suburbia

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by sparrow100 View Post
                  Blackcurrants make huge bushes when mature. My Mum's is as tall as me (5ft10) and is about 5ft wide as well as just over 3ft deep. My cousins in Oslo have currants as hedging on their drive and they are now one long hedge - self-supporting and coping with a temperature range of -15 to 30C.

                  It's a lovely idea - I'm growing a couple on my allotment, but as soon as I have a garden I am putting in a fruit hedge.
                  my blackcurrants in the back garden grew to nearly 9ft tall last year as this was where the chooks used to spend the day scratching about and pooping, I have trimmed off 2ft this year as I am not steady enough to climb up stepladders now but its looking like a bumper crop...so more own ice cream....lifes hard but someones got to do it.....

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                  • #10
                    My garden suffers from horsetail and have found the only thing that kills it is a weedkiller called kurtail.
                    I have tried everything, pulling it out seems to make it spread, rubbing roundup into it kills the top but it grows back again and covering it up with weed fabric just makes it send long roots metres under the fabric until it finds the edge to grow out of.
                    Kurtail is about £40 for a 500ml bottle but has lasted me 3 years, I am just about to order some more, I thought I had got rid of it all last year but odd bits are still popping up, I think I will get rid of it eventually by just spraying it as soon as I see it.

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                    • #11
                      I have a blackcurrant hedge...works really well
                      Attached Files
                      Last edited by Scarlet; 30-05-2015, 03:14 PM.

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                      • #12
                        Crikey! Why oh why don't I ever read labels? My lot will be needing to move position in a few years then... Thinking about it, I've seen black currant bushes that are enormous, but have never thought they are the same ones as the sticks I got from the pound shop! Must try harder with thinking!
                        You may say I'm a dreamer... But I'm not the only one...


                        I'm an official nutter - an official 'cropper' of a nutter! I am sooooo pleased to be a cropper! Hurrah!

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Nanny Chicken View Post
                          Oooh now that is resourceful. I was advised to plant them two feet from the wall (an 18 inch high wall on the boundary of our garden with the road) and three feet apart. The area I have just stripped of turf

                          I would bury the turves upside down about a foot deep below the new fruit bushes,let it help fertilise the soil instead of throwing it away...
                          Last edited by Nicos; 06-06-2015, 12:52 PM.

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                          • #14
                            Hi all

                            Thanks for your interest and great photo Scarlet - really encouraging. I did the deed a couple of weekends ago. Stripped the turf and after giving the hens a fitted green carpet at one end of their run I did place the remainder upside down on a bare bit of earth on the front garden the other side of the central path where I was originally going to plant a complimentary goosegog hedge but I have now decided to put a couple of gooseberries in with the blackcurrants (there's plenty of room at the moment lol). I double dug the area and incorporated two bags of farmyard manure and one of soil conditioner. I then covered it and left it and I will be going out shortly for the big reveal (and to check the marestail situation!) All being well I'll plant them today and should then be able to post the photos. Thanks for the tip about the kurtail. I'm going to look for some online in a sec. I don't want to sound flippant but that sounds like £40 well spent to me - you'd have to suffer marestail to understand :-(

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                            • #15
                              Personally I wouldn't touch Kurtail or recommend use by non-professionals. Notwithstanding you can get it on fleabay it's meant for professional use only and carries all sorts of warnings about protective gear, including breathing masks etc. It's not great for wildlife either.

                              I have marestail too, so I understand what you mean, but that stuff is proper nasty - and requires several repeat applications. I looked into our site using it on an infested plot last year.
                              Last edited by sparrow100; 06-06-2015, 12:47 PM.
                              http://mudandgluts.com - growing fruit and veg in suburbia

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