The worst weeds of all

The Queens County Advance - - NEWS - Carla Allen

Which weeds make you grind your teeth and rip at your hair? What is a weed any­way? I agree whole­heart­edly with the ax­iom that a weed is in the eye of the be­holder.

Some­one once told me that rhodo­den­drons are con­sid­ered weeds on the Scot­tish Isles be­cause they take up valu­able pas­ture space.

I know which plants are weeds on my prop­erty. They’re the ones grow­ing where I don’t want them to.

The Global In­va­sive Species Data­base has com­piled a list of the world’s 100 worst in­va­sive alien species. It’s sur­pris­ing to see which ones are in­cluded. Ja­panese knotweed for one. Well okay, no sur­prise there. But they’ve also in­cluded privet. I’ve seen plenty of those be­ing sold for hedg­ing over the years.

If I could, I’d con­demn all of the fol­low­ing to the com­post heap, never to sur­vive nor prop­a­gate.

Wavy bit­ter­cress (Car­damine flex­u­osa) was re­cently iden­ti­fied for me by my friend Jodi Delong. It’s by far the weed I curse the most. I was haul­ing it out of the gar­dens in early March as it was bloom­ing. A smal­l­leafed, rosette-form­ing plant with white flow­ers, its seed heads ex­plode and fling seed all over the place when touched. Leave a tiny piece of the root or leaf in the ground and a new plant starts. Pulling them out early is the best method of con­trol.

An­other bad one is the dan­de­lion. If only for the dif­fi­culty in re­mov­ing all of the long tap root. Last year I bought a tool es­pe­cially de­signed for ex­tract­ing this weed but it’s not foolproof.

For some, it’s the wild ajuga that drives them crazy. It blooms pur­ple and forms a thick, flow­er­ing car­pet on lawns. Lim­ing the area helps, but I’m a poor one to ask about re­mov­ing weeds from lawns. I’m in the moss-makes-an-al­most-per­fect-lawn camp. As long as the ground is cov­ered and rel­a­tively green, ev­ery­thing is fine with me.

An im­por­tant fac­tor in con­trol­ling your weeds is to be as vig­i­lant as pos­si­ble in re­mov­ing them be­fore they have a chance to set seed or mul­ti­ply by run­ners. If you can keep on top of them early in the sea­son, the plants you want to flour­ish will have a head start and will stand a bet­ter chance at crowd­ing out younger weeds. That’s why I al­ways like to plant an­nu­als close to­gether if pos­si­ble, in their weed­free bed. Once they spread and grow to­gether, weeds won’t have as much chance to com­pete.

Weed­ing as ther­apy? It can be re­lax­ing, med­i­ta­tive and life reaf­firm­ing. By hav­ing our hands in the soil, we are ground­ing our­selves, re-bal­anc­ing our spirit. There was a time not so many years ago when I didn’t have the op­por­tu­nity to weed for close to a year. When I got back at it, I was amazed at my trans­porta­tion to a qui­eter, slower pace and the great sat­is­fac­tion of see­ing an area re­claimed to or­der.

- 37, of Liver­pool, Queens County, passed away on Thurs­day, March 22nd, 2012, at home. Born in Liver­pool, he was a son of Rose­mary Wam­boldt, of Kingston, Nova Sco­tia and the late Ed­ward Roy. Ash­ley will al­ways be re­mem­bered for his af­fec­tion­ate smile. He loved to go fish­ing and hunt­ing. He is sur­vived by a Sis­ter Tammy (David) Leblanc, of Liver­pool; Brother Tony (Am­ber) Roy, of Brook­lyn; niece Alexis Roy, of Brook­lyn. Cre­ma­tion has taken place un­der the di­rec­tion of Chan­dlers’ Fu­neral Home, Liver­pool. There will be no Fu­neral Serv- ice by fam­ily re­quest. Do­na­tions may be made to the So­ci­ety of Deaf and Hard Hear­ing Nova Sco­tians (SDHHNS). On­line con­do­lences may be made to the fam­ily at www.chan­dlers­fu­neral.com

Carla Allen photo

Wavy bit­ter­cress (Car­damine flex­u­osa) has seed heads that ex­plode and fling seed all over the place when touched.

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