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When baccharis needs a haircut, you can call in heavy equipment.

To look its best, coyote brush (Baccharis pilularis) needs to be cut back once a year before new growth starts. But dealing with a large, overgrown plot may seem almost impossible, especially if you think that loppers are the only tool for the job. With a friend's help and a rented heavyduty, big-wheel weed mower, the home-owner pictured above shaved badly over-grown baccharis to about 1 inch above soil level. It took just under 4 hours, including cleanup, to clear seven years of growth covering 700 square feet.

The power mower eliminates mounding or lumpy growth. Regrowth is a more uniform mat of new green leaves. Mowing also cleans away possible living quarters for snails and roof rats.

Now is the best time for the task. You can rent the mower for $10 to $12 an hour, usually with a 2-hour minimum; look in the telephone book yellow pages under Rental Service Stores & Yards.

Before mowing, mark other plants and especially sprinklers with stakes--the mower will slice right through or mangle them. Don't try to push the mower into stiff growth. Instead, lower the blade slowly into a section of baccharis. Pull the mower back, then start again. Wear gloves and goggles, and try to direct debris thrown by the discharge chute away from people and neighboring property.

Use a flexible-tine rake to clean out cuttings. (Considering the depth of the baccharis shown above, little debris remained after mowing--one pickup truck load.) A pitchfork is handy for loading trimmings into a truck.

To stimulate new growth after mowing, scatter 1/2 to 1 pound of ammonium sulfate fertilizer per 100 square feet.
COPYRIGHT 1985 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1985 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Sunset
Date:Feb 1, 1985
Words:272
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