your advice on herbicide or alternatives

Hello,
We live in Madison, Wisconsin (zone 4.5, clay soil, shade and acid from oak trees). In our back yard is a "garden" which has grown nothing but weeds for a few years. I don't recognize these weeds, but they are not the usual wildflowers and dandelions. They are large and ugly. Some of them have spikes. Some of them are several feet tall.
What do you recommend? (a) get some kind of limited-target herbicide? If so, which? (b) get some "kills everything" herbicide? If so, I'd want something that biodegrades within a reasonable time, so that I can plant something to grow next year. (c) get some organic alternative? If so, what? The local squirrels and rabbits would much rather eat the daffodils and their bulbs than these weeds.
Thank you very much!
Ted Shoemaker
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There are two good alternatives. The first one is to simply remove the weeds by pulling and/or digging them out. You can do this a section at a time - a few hours here and there. For stubborn weeds that are persistent, you can spot treat with herbicide like Roundup or vinegar (acetic acid). Eventually, they will be gone. The second alternative is to mow them down with a lawn mower, string trimmer, brush cutter, or some other tool. If the area is quite large, you can rent a brush cutter. After cutting the weed, you can cover the area with heavy, clear plastic and let it cook all summer. Next spring, just remove the plastic and prep the beds as needed. In lieu of plastic, you can use many layers of newspaper or some heavy cardboard. If you use paper or cardboard, you can put some mulch on top to make the area look good and next spring you can rototill the bed, paper and all.
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Ted Shoemaker wrote:

How large is the area? Do you have grass to kill too, or just weeds? What do you eventually want to plant there?
BTW, squirrels won't eat daffodils (it's about the only bulb they won't eat.)
Best regards, Bob
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Ted Shoemaker) wrote in message

Roundup would fit this requirement and you wouldn't have to worry about it biodegrading. It affects live plant structure only and does not get into the soil. However, it is not a "kill everything". It kills most, but not all, plants. Sounds like you need to work at improving your soil and get a turf established. There is an old saying "If there is a spot of dirt, something is going to grow in it - something you want or something you don't want". Sounds like you have the latter.
Bob S.
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