Oh mulch, where have you been all my life? How did I ever get along without you?
The northeast corner of our backyard always has been neglected. Dominated by the corkscrew hazelnut, a common lilac and a variety of care-free perennials, it hasn't demanded much attention. But this spring the hazelnut and lilac looked so pathetic, the entire area needed a little love.
The lilac didn't bloom well and had several dead stems, which I've pruned off. I'm trying to encourage some new stems growing from the bottom, in hopes we can avoid a wholesale severe pruning. I'll give it another year to see if it springs back, but if not, we can take it down to 8 or 10 inches.
Keeping control of the hazelnut suckers is just another ongoing battle. For a long time, I didn't even think they were part of the tree; I assumed some other shrub had planted itself down close to the trunk of the hazelnut.
A big source of the problem is our neighbors to the east. They are just renting, so they aren't too diligent about keeping the growth in check. So we have little visitors from their raspberries, which want to spread everywhere. As much as I like the fruit, I just can't keep them under control. And some other gargantuan stalks, which may be sunflowers, but since it doesn't bloom I can't identify it for sure.
Mulching in this area, as the picture shows, may not eliminate all of the persistent, deeply rooted weeds, but it will surely help keep them to a minimum. I need all the help I can get!