Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Weeds I Love to Hate

I have written several posts about weeds I appreciate. I was going to sum them up here, but there were just too many of them and time is short tonight. Instead I will show you the weeds I love to hate. Two of them are beautiful in their season but too poisonous for me to want close to the house or in the garden and orchard areas.  The third is not poisonous -- but ugly and hard to pull. These are the weeds I love to hate. We'll start with poison oak, pictured below.

I have written extensively about poison oak and how to identify it and deal with it, so I won't repeat that here. Some of those articles are in the related links below.

It's hard to get rid of poison oak once it has made its home on your property. We have too much to get it all out, so we tolerate what grows far from the house in places humans rarely go. We do have a couple of plants that like to come back every year and live under this pyracantha shrub, right near the trunk. We had gotten rid of them when this picture was taken, but they have come back again this year and will have to be sprayed. Poison oak  is the one plant I will spray if it's growing where people are likely to be.

Weeds I Love to Hate
Pyracantha Shrub Poison Oak Likes to Grow Under, © B. Radisavljevic

The second plant I would like to get off my property is poison hemlock, another plant I've written a lot about in other places. (See Poison Hemlock: Lovely and Lethal.) It is lovely, but it is also very deadly if ingested. It's what killed Socrates.

The individual plants aren't too hard to pull, but one should wear gloves. The problem is that the plants don't come alone. They come in multiples and make a forest if they grow up. They resemble some vegetables and herbs, so one has to be careful. Poison hemlock has a sickening smell, unlike wild carrots or parsley, which it resembles.  It is pictured here intermingling with the weed I hate the most -- a grassy weed.

Weeds I Love to Hate
Poison Hemlock Growing with Grassy Weeds, © B. Radisavljevic

 Why do I hate the grassy weeds? Unlike poison hemlock, which has a long tap root like a carrot, the grasses have a root system that doesn't want to budge. Once they get a few inches tall they are a real pain.

When I started to redo my front yard in Paso Robles, these grassy weeds had made a home there and intermingled with the roots of the juniper bush and calendula. You can see it in the photo below.

In  photo #1, top left, you see the grass coming from under the juniper bush.

In photo #2, top right, you see the grass close up, stubbornly staying put while I'm trying to pull it. I actually broke my weeding tool trying to get it out.

In photo #3, bottom left, after I finally dug it out, you  can see the root system. Each root clings to its own bit of ground and resists any effort to remove it.

In photo #4, bottom right, is a grassy weed I almost had cleaned out, but it is intertwined with the roots of my calendula and I could not pull the weed without pulling the flower out.

I should also mention that I tried to pull the weeds without gardening gloves that would protect my arms above the wrists. Juniper bushes are sharper than I had realized. I have since gotten better gloves for when I need to work around the juniper and the roses.  I also purchased and now use a garden kneeler so I can be more comfortable weeding on my knees. I have arthritis, and this helps. Here's my review of the garden kneeler I use. 

Weeds I Love to Hate
Pulling a Grassy Weed, © B. Radisavljevic

This is why I hate the grassy weeds the most. I usually have several species of them competing for space. I try to put them when they are small, but while I had restricted activities after all my surgeries the past two years, the weeds got a head start. The gardener here at least trims the tops of those that grow apart from the plants I want. I believe I will smother them with black  plastic next autumn, or even before that. I've pretty much given up gardening in Templeton.

Which weeds do you most love to hate? 

If you found this post useful, please share it. The sharing buttons are just above the comment box at the end of the post. The photo below is especially designed for pinning. You see the poison hemlock and grassy weeds growing together in our orchard in Templeton. 

Weeds I Love to Hate

This is my twenty-third post for the 2016 AtoZchallenge, a Blogging Challenge for the month of April, 2016. My theme is plants, since this is a gardening blog. Here are links to the other posts if you missed them.

A is for Apple Blossoms
B is for Bottlebrush
C is for Carnations
D is for Daisy
E is for Elderberry
F is for Flowers
G is for Gazania
Hollyhocks are Edible
Irises Are Garden Survivors
Jupiter's Beard: A Mystery Finally Solved
Kale for Lunch
Lion's Tail - A Perennial Summer Burst of Orange
Miner's Lettuce is Tasty and Free"Naked Ladies" Bloom in August
Oleander through the Year
Plant Pests and their Predators: Aphids and Ladybugs
Quince Fruit from Blossom to Table
Roses Are Not Just Red
Sages Add Color and Attract Beneficial Insects to Your Garden
Tansy and Fruity Teucrium Can be Garden Friends
Urushiol Will Make You Itch

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