Saturday, June 7, 2014

The War On Weeds

We have such a magnificent selections of weeds here.  It is hard to decide where to begin.  This morning  it was hot and sunny.  On a day like that I look for a place to weed that is  in the shade.  It might be war, but my comfort comes first.  Dandelions are a bit of a contradiction for me.  I love to see fields of those yellow flowers.  I know they provide food for the bees, but I hate to have them growing in my garden beds.  When they cross that line they are the enemy!  Seeds parachute in on the wind infiltrating when they are just a piece of fluff.  Tiny little plants are easy to overlook.  When they are established and put down that huge tap root, they are a formidable foe.  It's a  never ending battle, but we shall continue to dig them out anyway.

Some of our weeds are  perfectly good plants, if they were somewhere else.  This is a little oak tree complete with its acorn. It was likely  planted by a squirrel.  The tree providing the shade here is a black locust.  The nearest big oak tree is some distance away so the acorn has traveled some distance to invade my space.  Lots of other weeds were present: bindweed, purslane, quack grass... the list is a long one.

This is the WEED! I have been trying to eradicate this ever since we arrived here.  It has become a rare sight here, but today I was horrified to see six plants lurking among the other weeds.  This is ragweed, Ambrosia trifida L.  It is my policy to kill these while they are small before they can do their dirty work making people sick with their nasty pollen.  If you wear gloves and rip these suckers out before they flower you will be safe.  It is a public service to eradicate this weed.  Perhaps we would all be better off if this plant became extinct.  I suppose it might have some redeeming quality that I don't know about.  If it does I would like to hear about it.  Here it is on the most unwanted list and extinction within my territory is the goal.  When I see a ragweed plant , it is gone in a flash!  The battle is over for today, but the war will continue until victory is ours!


Donna@Gardens Eye View said...

Oh I agree Becky. Dandelions are good and bad...definitely bad when they get into my beds along with so many other weeds this year. I am allergic to ragweed so I get rid of it pronto...not much growing here although this year we have more weeds than flowers.

You garden looks so green and beautiful against your gorgeous walls.

William said...

I really enjoy your blog, which I discovered recently. Thank you for sharing.
As to weeds, I feel your pain! But it's interesting how your opinion changes when you have a use for a weed. I started being interested in herbalism, and weeds like dandelions and self-heal (Prunella vulgaris) are great medicinal plants. As for ragweed, it does have an important ecological role. Here is what America's Wetland Foundation says: "Ragweed is truly a pioneer species, normally being one of the first to invade barren soils. It is a very important element in our ecosystem in that it produces nutrients that further enrich its soil, thus paving the way for the invasion of other species having different ecological requirements. This phenomenon is known as plant succession.

Another curious characteristic accelerates the eventual disappearance of ragweed. As they grow, some roots die as new ones develop. These decaying roots release a toxin that is harmful only to ragweed. When concentrations are high enough, the soil can no longer support these invaders and they die. So, if you are allergic to ragweed pollen, have patience. This, too, shall pass!"