KC Gardens

Dennis Patton’s weed hit list

Yellow woodsorrel
Yellow woodsorrel

From Dennis Patton:

Weeds are a fact of life in the gardener’s world. They pop up seemingly everywhere, no matter how hard we try to keep them at bay. We all have those weeds that just seem to return no matter what we do. I am sure you have your hit lists. After spending a few hours in my garden here are a few of the weeds that just seem to thrive despite my best efforts.

My hit list of weeds boils down to those that tend to be perennials. Perennial weeds are pesky as they have crowns or root systems that are strong once established. As we know, perennial means they return each season, where as an annual needs to germinate and establish to get the upper hand. It is this perennial root system that makes these particular weeds so *$^# difficult to eradicate.

Honey Vine Milkweed

The top weed on my wish list that would go away is honey vine milkweed. Yes, I realize this is a member of the milkweed family and it can be used as a monarch larval host but this plant is not well-behaved. It is a perennial vine that has an extensive root system and a knack for popping up just about everywhere in the garden.

The vine will spiral through plants, overtake a trellis, or cover up just about anything. The plant has long heart-shaped leaves and clusters of small yellow/whitish flowers. On the plus side, the flowers are a wonderful nectar source for many insects. But remember, a weed is a plant out of place. In my somewhat maintained garden the extensive vining habit makes it a garden thug. For now I have been trying to control it by hand-pulling but I know this is somewhat of a losing battle. I also struggle with the thought of destroying potential monarch habitat.

Dayflower

Most people have probably never heard of this plant and some think that its light blue flower is pretty and desirable. I would agree that Dayflower has a pretty flower, but I don’t like it taking over in the area planted with iris and several other perennials. This perennial grows on short, vine-like branches. No matter how much I pull it just seems to keep coming back year after year. What makes matters worse is that when you pull it appears you got the weed. But it comes right back and if I would let it get out of hand it would gladly take over the garden. Like the milkweed, to this point I have controlled by hand-pulling.

Yellow woodsorrel

Yellow woodsorrel, or commonly called Oxalis, is a low-growing perennial with clover-like leaves and yellow flowers. Some naturalists praise this plant as the flowers are considered edible. But in my garden this weed pops up among borders and other low-growing plants; which in my mind destroys the natural beauty of the desired perennial. Like many weeds you reach down and pull, thinking you got it only to find out that it broke off at soil level. Being a perennial of course means that the roots are still holding tight in the soil so back it comes, seemingly overnight.

Weeds are not only plants out of place but those that have better survival tactics than many of our exotic plants we bring to the garden. For the native lovers reading this you may champion these three plants and not call them weeds, but instead call them welcomed additions to the garden.

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