I worked in my yard 3 mornings last week. As I said in my last post, it's been really wet here. We were in drought so I'm not complaining and neither are the plants. We don't have grass any more - just plants and rocks and mulch. The mulch really helps to keep down the weed population but I still need to work 6-10 hours each spring and fall to get things under control.
We have a huge number of volunteer trees that come up in our yard. If I catch them when they are less that 6" tall I can usually pull them up by hand. Taller than that and I have to cut them - but saplings cut down grow back. My friend, Laurie, shared her dad's trick with me a couple of years ago. He "cans" little saplings.
These are my tree canning supplies - empty tin cans, small loppers, and a 4 lb. hammer. Cut the sapling off as close to ground level as you can. Turn a can upside-down on top of what remains of the tiny stump. Whammer the can as far as you can into the ground around the stump. It helps if you do this while the ground is soft.
It's amazing - the saplings don't come back! Over time the cans rust out and go away. Below is a can from last year.