Weeds: unwanted greens

Purpleloosestrife Photo by K. L. Kyde, 2006

Purple Loosestrife Photo by K. L. Kyde, 2006

The issue of weeds plagues every gardener, along with those conscientious about landscaping every growing season. There are so many ways those pesky, unwanted plants make their way into your yard; via wild animals, wind, and even some seeds can withstand a tumultuous trip downstream. Yet, did you know you can also be introducing invasive plants to your landscape?

One prized perennial that has created ecological havoc for wetlands is purple loosestrife, Lythrum salicaria. Despite its lovely, ever-bearing pinkish-purple flower, these invasive plants have exponentially spread, reproduced and devastated the natural fauna of many wetland environments.

What makes this plant hard to eradicate is that it re-sprouts from root fragments. So manual pulling and even digging up the plants oftentimes encourages spreading.

So what can be done to prevent invasive plants? Be educated planters and make sure you know what you are introducing. Secondly, know about the mystery plants that find their way amongst your strawberry patch or back lot. Oftentimes treatment is specific to each plant type. Many weeds have large tap roots or re-grow from roots so manual pulling is ineffective in eradication. Consult your local garden store for specific weed treatments (otherwise research on-line).

Here are a few resources to learn about the weeds where you live:

Federal and State Noxious weeds

The United States National Arboretum

Weed ID Lists by Region in North America

Purple Loosestrife

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