Field of Science

On the weed war path

A late spring and a sudden transition to summer (drinking an iced coffee) has done nothing for my humor or my field work, but the weeds have done quite well, and so the Phactors have declared war upon weeds. Please notice that there was a formal declaration of war after we were invaded first and we only wage war to protect the homeland gardens. Here are the worst offenders: Indian strawberry, creeping charlie, oxalis, tillering grass, and the usual array of woody weeds: wild cherry, hackberry, sugar maple, redbud. In shady areas there can be 100-300 woody weed seedlings per square yard, and if you don't get them young, you end up with many less, but much harder weeds to remove (all hail the weed wrench!). The next step will be re-mulching lots of beds and paths. One good trick for gardens and paths is to put down either two layers (2 sheets) of newspaper or one layer of construction paper under the mulch. It decomposes but blocks weeds quite well for a season. This is particular important around shrubs and trees that do not like the fabric weed barriers, which are only useful under hard scape. Here's the real secret about weeding; get Mrs. Phactor going. She's a demon on weeds, sort of gets to a point where she just can't stand the sight of them any more, and shazam! Oops, caught taking a blog break!

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