Wednesday, July 08, 2009

A rose by any other name....

When Shakespeare wrote this, he was smart enough to talk about a rose and not something like Scotch Thistle or Dyer's Woad, which are both nasty weeds that show up on Summit County's list of Noxious Weeds. This got me thinking. How do you decide what is a wonderful flower and what is a weed? I went out to Websters and found this:

Weed: a plant that is not valued where it is growing and is usually of vigorous growth; especially one that tends to overgrow or choke out more desirable plants.

Turns out that this is incredibly relevant. When designing the landscape for our house, I decided that the steep embankment would look great with a few trees and a ton of wildflowers. Last year, the wildflowers started coming in. This year, with all the unusual rain, everything is filling in nicely.

Then I noticed this one yellow plant. It was doing REALLY well. There was a lot of it showing up and it seemed to be dominating the hill. The larger plants were about 4-5 feet tall.

I grabbed a chunk and took it to the local nursery. Before I could even ask what it was, a guy came up behind me and said "Pull it all. Pull it soon before it goes to seed".

Turns out that pulling it wasn't as easy as it sounded. This is a small plant, about 18" tall. The root has multiple 12" runners. Put it in a hard rocky soil and it might as well be part of the earth.

So I dug and I dug. I filled up the entire trash can.

Then I made a few more piles. As always, I include Jasper for perspective.

Now I am getting seriously tired, but I pulled enough for another pile down below.

I just kept on going.

Next time you are out in your yard and pull a few weeds, just remember how bad it can get.

I figure it will take me a few years to really knock it all back.
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