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.