Reclaiming a Weed Field

Asked April 26, 2020, 7:25 PM EDT

We got rid of our horses a few years ago and since then our corral has become overrun with nothing but tumbleweeds and cheatgrass. It’s quite ugly and we can’t hardly walk through it anymore. I’d like to turn half of it into a garden. The other half I’d like to still look nice even though I won’t be tending or watering it. What are some good, drought resistant perennial plants and/or ground-covers that I can use to redeem a mean weed field? (It would be nice if they would flower or stay green as long as possible but in the end, anything is better than growing thorns) The first year I’m willing to do a bunch of weeding and watering to help the new plants get established but after that I won’t be able to use any water on them at all. Do you have any other advice on how to repopulate the ground with pleasant plants? I thought I’d start by roto tilling the whole thing just to get a clean slate, since the growing season hasn’t started yet. Thank you so very much.

Garfield County Colorado

1 Response

Thank you for using the Ask an Expert service!

We have some great resources for reclaiming a site, but first you will need to remove the current weeds. For information on removing tumbleweeds (which are a result of kochia and Russian thistle) please follow the recommendations from this publication: https://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/natural-resources/identification-and-management-of-kochia-and-russian-thistle-6-314/ For more information on weed management in Garfield County, you can contact the Garfield County Vegetation Management Team directly: 970-945-1377 extension 4305

For recommendations on native perennials, and low water native plants for Western Colorado, we have a few great resources with lists of plants that you can select based on your preferences:

Low water Native Plants for Western Colorado:
https://extension.colostate.edu/docs/pubs/native/WestSlopeSm.pdf

Colorado Native Plant Society:
https://conps.org/gardening-with-native-plants/

Native Plant Revegetation Guide for Colorado: https://cpw.state.co.us/Documents/CNAP/RevegetationGuide.pdf

Thanks,