Clearing rough ground

In my backyard, I have an area roughly 20X30 that is covered by some blackberry vines, maple tree shoots, and gravel mixed in with the dirt. What is best way to reclaim this area so that I can use it for a garden or lawn? I have no idea how it got to be this way before we moved onto the property. Thanks for any advice.
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laborers) or hire a bush hog mower guy. You will probably have to use herbicide to keep the blackberries from coming back. You could get a bobcat to scrape it too
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Lots of work here...Get a weed-eater with a blade attachment. It would be good to have a chipper/shredder to start a compost pile. After the brush is cleared away remove the stones by hand--get help from kids. Have a few soil samples analyzed to tell you what amendments are needed. (Do you need potash, lime, nitrogen, etc?) Rototil the area removing roots and rocks. You might want to use the rocks to border the garden or some other use. Adding compost before rototilling will help the garden or lawn.
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My recommendation would be to go in with a strong gardening pitchfork. Use it to loosen the ground around the blackbeery and other shrubs. Then pry with it under the root ball while someone else with a strong back pulls the shrub out. Loosen a wide area around the shrub you are working on so you get the most of the roots in one pull. Any that break off and stay in the ground are likely to regrow. It's hard work, but you will have a usable garden quicker than just mowing it down.
Bob
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The ones I grew up with were like tangled up razor coil. Grabbing it was not an opition. It grabbed you. Is there any poison ivy in there? It seems to go together. That is why I didn't suggest burning.
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there are advantages to natural areas around a home. perhaps eating the berries?
not everything needs to be a flat green lawn...........
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No poison ivy here in Seattle where blackberry runs wild. Heavy leather gloves can be used to handle blackberry just fine.
Bob
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My experience predates chemical herbicide usage, so that might work now, but without it, both the blackberry and maple shoots will keep coming back unless you remove all the roots and stumps; that means digging and probably repeating the process for a couple of years.
I don't see gravel being a problem; plenty of gardens and yards contain some gravel, and as long as it doesn't interfere with cultivation, I would just let it go. It can actually help drainage. If you really want to remove the gravel, build a sieve out of appropriately sized hardware cloth, and run the dirt through it while you are dealing with the roots.
I spent years getting rid of a blackberry patch; the berries were nice, but with young children I didn't want a patch where they would get all scratched up. I chopped down a small maple that shaded where I was putting my garden, and 35 years later it still sends up shoots, which I cut and use for garden stakes.
tenplay wrote:

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