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by stone

Worst weeds

06/11/2013 in invasive plants

I was talking to a fellow garden blogger today… and he mentioned that a part of getting his nursery certified was getting his cogongrass eradicated.

Cogongrass has been in the news, I see reports on “The Farm Monitor” and “The Ag Journal” on network television… I’d seen the field guide to cogongrass identification but I really didn’t know all that much about it… Went to google…

http://www.cogongrass.org/georgia/ made for interesting reading and viewing…  in watching those videos, I remarked on it’s similarity to Johnson grass…

cogongrass seems to be worse…

Cogongrass has been called one of the world’s ten worst weeds… This seems like a pretty serious claim, and I was curious what other weeds made the list…

Found a list for Mississippi: http://msucares.com/pubs/misc/m1194.pdf

Found this list: http://hannahtomlinson.weebly.com/uploads/1/4/2/1/14215517/10_worst_weeds.pdf

It’s kind of hard to take it seriously though… a list that includes lamb’s quarter and purslane? Lambsquarter is a valuable food item at my house, and purslane could be… and neither is any great shakes as weeds… If you wanted to include annual weeds, chamberbitter (Phyllanthus niruri) and mulberry weed (Fatoua villosa) would make far better candidates…

It seems like a list of the worst weeds should take into account things like rizomes, stolons, and the born pregnant qualities of the 2 above annuals.

A better list would be this list of Georgia invasives

My list?

Glad you asked…

In no particular order,

  1. nutsedge
  2. bermuda grass
  3. Florida betony
  4. johnson grass
  5. chickweed
  6. chamberbitter
  7. mulberry weed
  8. Chinese wisteria
  9. morning glories
  10. better place cogon grass on the list.
  11. Stilt grass (Microstegium vimineum)
  12. wavy leaf basket grass (Oplismenus hirtellus ssp. undulatifolius)
  13. eleagnus
  14. privet
  15. Japanese honeysuckle
  16. dodder
  17. creeping charlie
  18. dichondra
  19. dollar weed (Hydrocotyle sp.)
  20. Houttuynia cordata
  21. duchesnea

With a bit of walking around other people’s gardens, I could easily extend this list to a hundred… bringing it down to 10 probably wouldn’t be as easy.

Do you have a bad weed? I’d like to hear about it.

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by stone

When is it a weed?

05/10/2011 in invasive plants, religion/philosophy

posted at the idigmygarden.com forums

If it thrives despite no care at all from you, tolerates the worst conditions possible, and lives even when you try to kill it, and cost you nothing, it’s a weed.

If it was expensive, sulks, languishes, and finally dies no matter how much care, love, attention, and money you throw at it, it’s a flower.

I’m not sure where Denninmi got the quote, but it certainly describes the usual take on gardening.

Some people believe that if it doesn’t match the other plants in the bed, (like a sport), that makes it a weed…

or if the plant volunteered from last years patch of annuals…

A slightly broader definition is anything that didn’t come out of the packet of seed, or wasn’t purchased in a container at the big box store….

A new definition

A different definition of a weed might be concern for the environment…
In the new earth-friendly garden where plant-communities are the goal, and plants that weren’t specifically planted by the gardener aren’t necessarily weeds, the term weed has a very different meaning than formerly, when a weed was anything that didn’t produce food…

In the new garden that is meant to attract birds and butterflies, a weed is a plant that is out of control, one that displaces the native plants, and crowds out the vegetation that the birds and butterflies depend on.

With that definition, it becomes clear that the weeds are often those plants bought at the nursery.

The Houttuynia cordata pictured below is one such.
houttuynia cordata
A close look at those roots should suffice to convince anyone that this is not a well-behaved plant…

I trust that everyone remembers my post on wisteria, where I described the impossibility of exterminating that invasive menace…

Chamberbitter is a well known problem weed in the Georgia landscape which seems to have arrived in those nursery containers… IE; the home owner bought something desireable and got the weeds free…

Stachys floridana Florida betony or rattle snake weed is another terrific problem weed… I’ve seen references to this pest sold as a food plant, but there’s simply no way to get rid of it… The only way to kill a patch of this rattlesnake weed is to cover it with a wall to wall carpet, and it expands in ever larger circles if left unchecked. The extension service talks about percentages killed with herbicide application… hand pulling does no good at all.

Then there is vinca, it’s everywhere, crowding out the native plants, and people keep planting it…

And how about Arum Italica? Not a problem in my area with the constant drought, but apparently a terrible pest in a wet area…

There’s also that plant in New England, giant hogweed, I’m not sure why anyone had this growing, it’s like there aren’t enough plants for us to be allergic to, they had to bring new ones in from overseas…

Trees can also be weeds

Mimosa, tree of heaven… planted for those beautiful blooms is rapidly taking over the woodland…

Popcorn tree is another beautiful tree, it looks like dogwood with white berries, instead of red…

Bushes as invaders

Eleagnus is beautiful (from a distance), up close, it’s this mass of thorns, taking over the woodlands, even climbing trees!

And then, there is privet. It isn’t even pretty… The choking smell of it flowering everywhere has me busy hacking up a lung every time I’m outside, this invader grows into a tree, and while the birds will eat the berries, they are said not to get much nourishment from them, and by eating the berries, the birds end up planting more of these nuisance bushes that crowd out all the natural plants, there by losing other food sources…

In conclusion…

By my definition, weeds are those plants (from some where else), that we plant in our gardens…
I admit that I pull ragweed and poison ivy every time I see them, but… most native plants probably belong

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by stone

wisteria

03/21/2011 in gardening, invasive plants

It’s Chinese wisteria season

wisteria bloom

When the Chinese wisteria bloom, they create a desire to own… inside of the heart of everyone that sees them…
The flowers are purdy, and they smell nice… I like to pick a cluster to add scent to the cab of my pickup truck…

Chinese Wisteria come with a huge downside

Chinese wisteria pwns the trees

Chinese wisteria is invasive, and shouldn’t be planted… Anyone that plants wisteria can’t get rid of it…

The tragedy of Chinese wisteria, is that it constantly sends out new vines from the roots, and I’ve seen yards where in spite of being mowed frequently, the vines ran along the surface of the soil rooting frequently, and climbing trees which it proceeded to strangle!

In spite of any amount of herbicide applied, I haven’t seen where it was ever entirely killed out. Wisteria is even more of a problem than the vine that ate the south, (kudzu). You can kill kudzu… Chinese Wisteria sends tap roots straight down for several feet, any amount of digging you do in an attempt to remove wisteria, only seems to encourage it…

There’s another issue with Chinese wisteria… It really depends on your source whether it will even bloom!

Many nurseries carry seed grown Chinese wisteria which can take years to bloom… I once gardened in a yard that had a wisteria that was several years old when I got there, and in the 10 years that I gardened there, that wisteria vine never bloomed! I eventually took cuttings from another vine that had mid-season bloom as well as the spring bloom, The cutting bloomed very well right next to the non-blooming vine.

I’ve read the articles advising heavy root pruning, and fertilizing… those tactics simply increased the non-blooming vine’s determination to out grow the location… Turn your back for a minute, and it’s already trying to escape!

Chinese wisteria reminds me of a story I read as a kid, where the narrator bought 20 acres, only to find that he had a pond, the 20 acres were stacked on top of each other… When his son dove in, there was a dry spell, and the pond dried up… the boy had to be pulled out like a carrot… so they planted beans… As they started planting the second row, the tendrils from the first row began to climb the narrator’s leg…
Anyone knows the name of that story, please let me know… I’ve been unable to find it…

Getting back to the topic of wisteria…

There is a native wisteria… it’s less widely available, and as it blooms after leafing out, it’s less spectacular… and as a result, people keep planting the invasive import.

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