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Reduced mowing vs. PI and tick concerns?

Posted by Josh Willis 
Reduced mowing vs. PI and tick concerns?
September 27, 2017 02:10PM
My family's orchard has long balanced two ideals: letting the understory generally go it's own way, and managing the risks of invasive vines, poison ivy, and (for where we walk) ticks. The former I'm only recently reading (thanks to HON) as preferred permaculture management, which was great news!

The latter remains an issue, though -- Maryland gets vigorous, vigorous growth from vines & PI popping up everywhere. And (like many parts of the east coast), Lyme is much more a worry than it was 20+ years ago. We've generally kept PI in check by mowing the crap of new PI & cutting off major vines nearby; trying to uproot all of it is a non-starter, as there's way too much of it (and too many sources of seeds in nearby woods). Letting the understory grow seems to just let PI proliferate underneath and take vigorous hold of any trunk or low-hanging branch.

How do others manage PI, or for that matter VA creeper, in a management system that prioritizes less mowing? Is it about planting a better cover for the understory? Our cover is a mix of what we call 'orchard grass' and other cover that has evolved over 40 years -- a swath of buttercups here, a swath of violets here, increasing swaths of japanese stiltgrass, etc., letting nature take its course.

Relatedly, how do others manage concerns about tick-lovin' high grass vis-a-vis a less mowed understory?

Apologies if these are very obvious questions. Your thoughts are appreciated!

cheers,
Josh
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