The purpose of this blog is to chronicle my effort to eradicate the invasive plant Japanese Knotweed and the morphing of that mission to include building a clay-lined pond on the site.

The original plan was to remove all of the knotweed by hand, dig down maybe 6 inches to get as many roots as I could, plant grass seed and keep the area mowed thereby keeping the knotweed in check. After pulling the knotweed, I tried to stick a shovel in the ground and couldn’t; turns out the area was a dumping ground for klinkers (among many other things).

Klinkers are the by-product of burning coal. Here in Michigan klinkers were so numerous at one time they used to smash them up and use them to "salt" the roads in winter. Klinkers are similar to lava rocks but with a bubbly surface and sharp, jagged edges. The house originally had a coal burning furnace and the residents were probably disposing of the ashes and klinkers in this area of the yard for years.

Once I realized that the only thing that was going to grow in this area was probably Japanese Knotweed I decided I would try and remove all of the klinkers (and at the same time the knotweed nodules) and restore the soil as best I could.

Not only did people over the decades dump ashes and klinkers in this area but all sorts of household trash. They used to burn trash in a 55 gallon drum next to the maple tree in the center of the area. I know this because it was buried and I had to dig it up.

Below is a partial list of items removed from the site:

-- Nails
-- Glass
-- Screws
-- Drywall
-- Pieces of concrete
-- Pieces of brick and stone
-- Stovepipe
-- Double concrete laundry tub (shattered in a hundred pieces)
-- Burn barrel
-- Landscape timbers
-- Plywood
-- Mattress
-- Cinder Blocks
-- Tractor wheels
-- Gutter
-- Coconut shells
-- Peach pits
-- Meat bones
-- Tin cans
-- Used automobile oil filter


Before you post...

First. I know Japanese Knotweed can extend 10 meters or more underground and the deepest I went was about 1.5 meters. Of all the hundreds of Japanese Knotweed nodules that I removed, I think less than a dozen went deeper than I was willing to go. I hope to kill this small number as they come up.

Second. I know that for some of the work I could have rented a Bobcat and did the work a lot quicker but I wanted to recycle the soil. While a Bobcat would have made it easier to move the soil around I still had to hand screen the soil to remove the Japanese Knotweed pieces and other foreign objects.

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