Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Garden Invaders & How To Evict Them.

Sign by Stonewall Jackson Elementary School, Dallas TX

Dandelions? Buttercup? Easy-peasy, just get a long knife and pull up the roots. If you want to talk about serious invaders hell bent on taking over the earth then meet my nemeses; Bishops weed, mint and St. Johns wort. Oh yes, I have all three in great abundance in my new garden. What to do? I can either post a disclaimer at the gate which reads ‘Wildscape’ or go to war. I have chosen the latter.

Bishops weed


St. John's wort

Here’s my plan of attack.

  1. Dig up and throw out any perennial, tree or shrub that is so congested with the roots of these horrors that there is just no way to separate them. Brutal but realistic. Choose your battles.
  2. Any plants which look as though they can be saved will be shaken or washed down to bare roots then placed in a temporary quarantine (in my case a corner of the vegetable plot) until I am sure they are clean. That will probably mean until late next summer.
  3. Nuke the heck out of the soil. CRIMINAL! OUTRAGEOUS! I hear you say, and I would agree with you. However my other option is to spend the rest of my days digging up every tiny piece of root and frankly my chiropractor earns enough. I also intend to stay here for the rest of my life so I don’t plan to be out there with my walking frame aged 90 still fighting them. So I will buy Round Up (wearing a suitable disguise in case anyone recognizes me), which is the least nasty of the non-selective herbicides and spray as many times as necessary until no more offspring are evident. That could easily take a full 12 months and 3-4 treatments.
  4. At that point I’ll amend the soil and re-plant those things which proved themselves worthy.

In answer to your question “why don’t you add cardboard and cover with 6-8” mulch to smother the weeds?” my answer is simple. For some weeds it works, for these it’s not enough. Trust me.

A good friend calls this the ‘safe and sane approach’. You use organics whenever you can and the least toxic option when you can’t. Maintain your gardening sanity.

Is anyone else on the warpath?

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