Autumn is definitely upon us. The trees are coloring, the leaves fall, the duration of the day is decreasing and the fresh and fresh air makes working outside a pleasure. Which is good, because the cleaning of falls can be overwhelming. There is much to do, especially for those of us who did not have enough time during the growing season to continue with the garden work.
If you think raking leaves is your biggest source of garden work at this time of year, you would respectfully disagree. The main task we must address is weed removal. Teri Dunn Chase, author of “ How to Eradicate Invasive Plants & # 39; & # 39 ;, has a basic strategic plan to combat weeds, mostly common sense, but is often not done for one reason or another.
First, you should be able to identify your weeds. If you cannot identify them, how can you eradicate them? As you did not meet them at the beginning of the season, they have probably proliferated and are now a bigger problem than what you had done before.
Every time I look at the black swallow grass that has colonized in my backyard, I kick myself for not finding the time to dig it up before. Some of the seed heads have burst, so I've been trying to capture them before they explode in other areas of the yard. If at least I do this, I will not be responsible for its subsequent propagation by air. However, unless they dig the plant, they can still colonize underground. Time is key. Each plant has a life cycle, and knowing what that is helps you discover the best time to try to attack the problem.
Teri says that the next step is to evaluate the problem to determine how serious it is and then concentrate their efforts to achieve maximum benefit. But she reminds us that we can't address weed problems in a season. We must be realistic and persistent in our efforts to eradicate them or at least contain them. She reminds us that chemicals are the last resort. I would go a step further, just don't use them, but if you think you have to do it, be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions and apply only to the selected plants.
There are some weeds that are best for fall, starting with ambrosia. He is the main culprit of allergies in the fall, not the goldenrod, as many people think. Ambrosia is pollinated by the wind; It produces discrete seeds after its small greenish flowers are opened, which can last many years in the soil.
The vines are setting seeds now. The flowers look like morning glories that reproduce from seeds, roots and root fragments. The vines often climb other plants; If you cannot carry them out without harming, trace the vine to its roots and cut it at that point, letting the invader die after a couple of weeks. If you cannot reach the roots to eradicate the plant, remove the flowers to avoid self-planting. When you can enter the area, dig and destroy strong roots.
The curly pier is another weed pollinated by the wind. It has a very deep main root that makes it difficult to remove completely. I know from experience! It is another herb that has taken over a different section of my landscape. I just read that by soaking the area, or just after it rains, it is easier to dig with a garden fork. After boarding the swallow, the curly pier is as follows!
Fortunately, I don't have Japanese knotweed, a kinky spring relative. This miserable invasive is spread by seeds that are dispersed by wind and animals or are introduced into a contaminated landfill. It is not practical to dig up the rhizomes, but it should reduce the higher growth in late summer and fall to weaken the root system. Teri suggests suffocating the area with a thick mulch or a tarp (after trimming the upper growth) and leaving it in place for at least a year.
Tree-of-Heaven is going to be planted now too. Cutting it again does not work because the roots sprout again. As the seedlings emerge, you should pull them. The only alternative if you have a tree is to cut it and treat the stump to accelerate its disappearance.
These are just some of the weeds that wreak havoc on our environment. They are some of the worst. But please do not ignore others in the garden. Remember the wisdom of the old farmer that a year of seeds produces seven years of weeds. Your best option is not to let them establish seeds in the first place, and not to place active weed seeds in your compost.
Here are some sites to help you identify weeds on your property: UMass Extension Weed Herbarium (https://extension.umass.edu/landscape/weed-herbarium); The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service is on the Massachusetts state list of harmful weeds (https://plants.usda.gov/java/noxious?rptType=State&statefips=25); the University of Illinois (http://weeds.cropsci.illinois.edu/weedid.htm); and the northeast regional listing of weedalert.com (https://weedalert.com/search-by-region-results.php?region=8)
Donna Lane owns Lane Interiors & Gardens, is a gardener teacher, former president of the Norwood Evening Garden Club and an active member of many other horticultural organizations. You can contact Donna at [email protected]