Saturday, 26 March 2011

Read the Weed, Part II - The Battle Lost

There are weeds so persistent that I find almost impossible to eradicate. No matter how persistent I am in weeding, they are more persistent than me. As I don't use any herbicides in my garden the battle against these weeds is lost in advance. The victory is only temporarily, because soon new plants grow from every tiny particle of root or underground stems left in the ground.
These weeds find their place mostly in my flower beds. They are all perennial weeds that have deep, creeping roots or underground stems that help them spread with great speed.
These are:

Convovulus arvensis L. - Bindweeds, grows on neglected areas and doesn't like cultivated soils. I have it on the garden fence facing such a patch of land. There is no neighbouring plot on this side, but an neglected field.
Every now and then I go there to cut the grass two metres away along the fence and weed the Bindweed that climbs my fence.
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Oxalis corniculata L. - Sleeping Beauty. This is perennial plant with runners and often purplish leaves. It likes creeping between stone flags, brick pavings or between stones in my rock garden. This is an additional difficulty for weeding.
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Ground Elder

Aegopodium podagraria L., Ground Elder. This is considered one of the most invasive weeds that spreads itself by creeping rhizomes. The tiniest piece of it will produce new plant, followed by many more. Removing the leaves and stems regularly will somewhat weaken the plant. I usually remove the rhizomes by fork part of my hoe to avoid cutting them into smaller pieces. Sometimes I take out all the plants from the bed, do a deep soil cultivation trying to take out as many rhizomes as I can and re-plant the bed. The rhizomes are white in colour and easily to recognize. The plant itself is actually nice and there are also cultivars with variegated leaves. But it is only good for areas where we want a single plant ground cover because this extremely invasive plant will crow out all other plants.

Ranunculus ficaria L. - Lesser Celandine. very invasive plant that spreads by underground tubers. It invaded not only my flower beds but the lawn too. It is a spring ephemeral, and retreats into ground after period of flowering and bearing fruits.
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Japanese Knotweed

My neighbour has an imported species of plant in his garden - Polygonum japonicum, Japanese Knotweed. In many Europe countries it escaped the gardens and infested the land. So it happens in Croatia too. In my town, we have it mostly growing on wasteland and on the river bank. My neighbour does not live here and comes every now and then to check his yard. I am afraid if he does not try to eradicate it, it will come to my plot too. It spreads itself by rhizomes  that are very strong. I read the story about the rhizomes finding its way into a living room!! It can grow from the smallest part of the rhizome and there is no other way to remove it but to spray with herbicides - year after year!


  1. I don't use any chemicals either and once had to dig up an entire bed to get rid of a plant that had taken over. The tiniest piece of root would grow a new plant, so I sympathize with your frustration. Good luck!

  2. No chemicals here either, but I do see all those weeds all over. We have a empty lot behind us and the weeds proliferate along with the dreaded poison ivy. Lucky none have found their way under or over my fence yet. Looks like the weeds go international.

  3. Yes, all these plants are cosmopolitan species and common in many parts of the world. Luckily, we don't have poison ivy in Croatia!

  4. I think that's why I've heard if you don't like weeding, you won't like being a gardener. I spend more time weeding than any other chore in the garden (except mulching - to try to keep the weeds down!).

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