Thursday, August 11, 2011

Invasive Weeds

I want to do a three part discussion of some of the pests we see around our garden.  These fall into three main categories: plant, animal/bird, insects.

Let’s examine plants today.  We can break this down into two main groups: invasive weeds and allergen causing plants. 

Invasive weeds are becoming more and more of problem as we introduce new plants to our environment, whether by accident or on purpose (think dandelions and purple loosestrife).   In my vegetable garden both the aforementioned are issues.  I don’t get too bent out of shape about dandelions though – they last for a short season, and they do provide greenery on my lawn the rest of the year.

Loosestrife I have in my garden, but it seems to have a little brown bug that chews away on its new growth, so it doesn’t ever get to the flowering stage.  As long as I am fairly vigilant with the roots, I can keep it at bay.


The other plant that spreads by roots that I do have an issue with is horsetail.  It never gets very large, or overpowering, but it is everywhere, and there is not a herbicide that will touch it (not even Roundup).

One other annoying weed that seems to have gotten a foothold everywhere is goose footed lambs quarter (well at least I think that is what it is called - I've google searched, but nothing seems definitive)  The problem with it is that it seems to be able to reseed within a couple of weeks of germination, and it is prolific in its reproduction.

 And next up, we have crabgrass.  It is an insidious little plant, that germinates in hot July, puts its tenacious clutches down and takes up habitation for the next month, where it crawls and creeps everywhere, smothering everything in its path, and then drops enough seed to start your own nursery for the next season.

On to the allergy plants next.  I have poison ivy in one fairly contained patch at the end of my property.  I know it is there, and as long as I avoid it, it doesn’t bother my gardening efforts.  Wild parsnip on the other hand is everywhere.  I had a little bout with it last summer, enough to have developed a very high regard for its potential.  I got a few tiny blisters on my wrist, that just kept coming back, and reappearing elsewhere on my arms.  They were small, but ITCHY.  I cannot imagine having a large lesion from it.

Poison Ivy

Wild Parsnip (three stages - immature, in blossom, seeding)

Wild Carrot/Queen Anne's Lace  (everywhere, but kind of pretty)

Pampa grass - not a problem in my garden, but I see it invading a lot of wetlands about.  Those stalks are up to 10 feet tall.
And that is about all I have to say for today.

Musings and meanderings from the Musical Gardener.


  1. It has been quite the summer for weeds, hasn't it? They love this hot, dry weather. My poor hubby has wild parsnip blisters all over his arms right now. :(

  2. Can Gordon take antihistamines? If so, I'd try that when they get really itchy. Calomine lotion helps a bit too. Just don't scratch them and spread the serum around.


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