Sunday, May 28, 2017

My tiny war on weeds.

I said I'd follow up on this grassy weed that springs up all over the new clover lawn. Given the root structure, I didn't think it was an actual grass but couldn't find it online or in a weed identification book I'd checked out from the library. I did, however, find a website that lets you send in photos to ask a local expert.
Someone at the ag extension from a neighboring state provided the answer: Yellow nutsedge, "a troublesome, difficult-to-control weed." Apparently I am to be thankful it is not the even more aggressive purple nutsedge.  Sedges spread by underground tubers, so my plan is to just keep pulling them out as they pop up. Thank goodness it's a small area!
More of my attention of late has been here. I love working in the little oasis that is my backyard. And nothing is quite as mind-clearing for me after a long day at work as sitting on the ground and pulling out weeds I don't want.
This is a weed I think of as "popperweed." It's actually called hairy bittercress and when the tiny seed pods dry, bittercress will shoot those little fuckers everywhere. Often into your eyeballs if you are weeding. It's a diabolically clever means of spreading its offspring far and wide.
This is another weed I tried in vain to identify and then sent into the ag extension site. It starts out green and pales to yellow and has hard purplish seedpods and tiny white flowers. I was told this is burweed but when I looked it up, that doesn't quite fit. Particularly since this weed has no spines and that's one of burweed's chief characteristics. I do believe it's a broadleaf winter annual but its identity is still a mystery to me. I pulled out as much of it as I could find and now that it's dormant, I'll wait to see what emerges next winter and pull more.
I declared a fatwa on this weed a couple of years ago. Creeping charlie (aka ground ivy) is not an unattractive plant but it will absolutely take over and choke out everything else. I want room for weeds I do like - clover, wild violets, wood sorrel, henbit, deadnettle - to spread. I have completely eradicated it from my front yard and flower beds, and now I've turned my attention to the back yard. It's a sisyphian task and I suspect I'll never quite get it all. But that won't stop me from trying. And when an entire vine pulls out at once? It makes me absurdly happy.
This is the one weed I will actually use an herbicide on. Because I want the roots dead. I am wildly reactive to poison ivy and it has brought misery into my life on countless occasions. However, I read that the key is not just using soap or a specialty wash, but to take a wash cloth and scrub any exposed area to thoroughly remove the urushiol oil from your skin. I've been doing that and so far, so good.
When the city recently repaved our neighborhood roads, they did so without any sort of notification for not putting yard waste out for pick-up. Instead, they shoved it into my flower bed. On top of blooming flowers. Not knowing why, I pulled it back out and added more to the pile. Lather, rinse, repeat. The third time, I dragged it out onto the newly-paved road, cut back all the leatherleaf mahonia that was growing through my fence from a neighbors yard and added that to the pile. And waited. This time, the city carted it all away. I suspect I'm known as the crazy woman who puts out endless piles of weeds. But I can live with that.

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