Pullin' weeds

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Eigenvector said:

Recently it seems like 7-10 hours per week, to keep the garden beds from turning into a mass of maple, elm, ailanthus, mulberry and buckthorn. These are all seeds that kite in (or are pooped in, for the last two), hit the top of any mulch, and are quite happily sprout there. We had a drought last year which stressed the trees into growing and enormous crop of seeds and the bountiful rains this year meant the seeds have almost all sprouted.
If it were just the random weeds of cultivation (crabgrass, spurge, purslane, lamb's quarters, henbit, pigweed), it woud be less time, and mulch keeps a lot of them down.
The pernicioius perennial weed gil-over-the-ground I rip out of the raspberries each spring, and maybe pull from the edges sometimes while berry picking, but I leave in the lawn.
Dandelions I pop out of the lawn where they show up. (They almost never sprout in any of my garden beds.) They have gradually been beaten back to only the way in the back part of the lawn.

Hand pulling and mulch (garden beds). Weed popper or ignore(lawn). Weapons of mass destruction (carefully confined) along one fence line.

--
Pat in Plymouth MI ('someplace.net' is comcast)

After enlightenment, the laundry.
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On 7/5/2008 10:55 AM, Eigenvector wrote [in part]:

I almost missed this.
There are herbicides that are specific to grasses. That is, they kill grasses but not non-grasses. As always, read the label warnings carefully. Some of these herbicides might cause temporary or even permanent damage to plants you want to keep.
--
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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I'm almost inclined to let the grasses grow where they are - coming up inbetween the lavender clumps. They tend to match the lavender plant, but I was worried that if they got a foothold the lavender would get starved out. I really don't like resorting to chemical warfare, but pulling the grass out doesn't seem to work.
More options on my plate.
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On 7/6/2008 7:46 AM, Eigenvector wrote:

Grass won't starve lavender. Lavender prefers a "lean" soil with scant nutrients. It also prefers a soil without abundant moisture. It's more likely that the grass will fail to thrive in an environment that favors lavender.
--
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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For the side question, I dug up a gaura in order to free it from unpullable grass, almost killed the little shrub, but it eventually returned, and so did the grass well rooted in the gaura's roots. So now I just pull what I can hoping to tire out the grass before it tires me out.
I probably do weed for an hour a week but it's pretty much arranged to not have to weed at all. All shrub clippings get mulched up and returned to the yard, in autumn leaves are repositioned where I don't want weeds to pop up in spring, and a Toyota pick-up truck load of clean compost costs very little except the labor of shoveling it all over the place. Some areas are so densely planted the weeds don't have a chance, like under the mixed hedge which is too dark for much of anything to grow though poppies do well at the shade-line so long as it's no nuisance that they lean over in the only direction for sun.
Areas unplanted are permitted to be as weedy as they like, and if I spread a garden into a weedy area, I lay down heavy cardboard and put steer manure on that and then plant it the following spring. If it's possible to make a hill, a new area I cover with a foot or two feet deep with half-finished mulch and tree branches, add some dirt, then the cardboard (and for loamy looks, inert composted steer manure) on top of that and then add a foot or so of good garden soil on top the next spring for a gardenable mound. All orchestrated to keep from weeding, yet a couple significan perennial gardens encircling the patio I just weed.
-paghat the ratgirl
--
visit my temperate gardening website:
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wrote:

Thanks, I appreciate that. Now I at least have some sympathy as I pull up the individual grass stalks.
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Save your back! Search the Web for "long handled precision weeder". The Weed God does not command you to genuflect in front of every weed!
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