Posts Tagged ‘invasive plants’

Last year I decided to let this pretty – but aromatic <ahem> “weed” go. The flowers are pretty & it makes a nice ground cover.

Later in the summer, I keyed it out and discovered that what I have is “Herb Robert”, commonly known as “Stinky Bob”, and it is a pernicious escapee from potted flower arrangements. It’s a noxious weed that pushes out native wild flowers in Oregon and Washington. Can you hear my heavy sigh?

I hate – HATE – invasive species. European starlings, English House Sparrows, tansy ragwort, Scotch broom, Himalayan blackberries, bullfrogs, pike, bass in native trout waters, nutria… the list is quite long. Some invasives you just have to learn to live with, like Eastern gray squirrels and Eastern Fox squirrels that have pushed our native chickarees deeper into the woods. The eastern squirrels don’t like the deep woods where there are no people, so the chickaree still reigns king there.

I have also had my share of gardening “oops”: planting fireweed, for instance. Lovely native plant. Takes over rapidly – so not a great idea. Fortunately, it’s easy to get rid of, as is the Stinky Bob weed. Both just happen to be a bit labor intensive: you have to get on your hands and knees and pull them up.

I got about 3/4’s of the flower bed cleared tonight before the sky turned dark and I truly had to come into the house. Tomorrow is supposed to be nice, again, and I hope to finish the flower bed. Pulling up the Stinky Bob revealed some plants I had planted earlier that had waned, in part due to the invasive non-native Oregon grape variety I planted some 10 years ago, and killed (for the most part) last fall.

That Oregon grape grew 10-12′ tall and spread. I wanted native Oregon grape, that grows a foot tall and maybe spreads 2′ out – not something that shaded my flower beds and threatened to take over the fence between neighbors. I took a chain saw to it last year and cut it all down. There are sprouts trying to come up this year, but I strip the leaves as I see them. The stumps are covered in black plastic to kill them.

I corralled the Comfrey that I replanted from the wild, thinking it was a native plant. It’s a nasty conqueror, impervious to most herbicides, and highly loved by bumble bees and hummingbirds. I discovered what kills it: vinegar and salt. I still have two plants, but if a runner starts, I cut it and apply vinegar and salt. It might take 2-3 applications, but the runners die and the Comfrey is contained.

I have a cape fuschia that I need to kill. It’s so pretty, but it just takes over. The hummingbirds like it, but… It’s just too large for any place in my yard, sends out runners, and is becoming a pestilence. I hope my hummers forgive me: I will find something of equal value that is less invasive.

Speaking of invasive: my milkweed plants are popping up again – and more of them this year! I don’t much care how invasive this plant gets, as long as it eventually calls to the butterflies I want to attract to my yard. It’s fragrant and lovely. It seems to propagate more by runners than by seed, although mine were originally planted seeds. It doesn’t seem to compete with the peonies and Dragon lilies, or the aster in that flower bed.

I need to find a victim person interested in taking on some divided Dragon Lily bulbs. Mine have outgrown their space by four times. They aren’t invasive, hardy to zone 8 (maybe zone 9), striking purple-black flowers, attract beetles and flies… and smell like rotting hamburger.

But first, I finish pulling up Stinky Bob…

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