So, on your homestead you’ve got kudzu, Oriental bittersweet, great big clumps of Miscanthus (Chinese silvergrass) and some bullies that you’ve not yet been able to identify but you know from the way they’re behaving that they’re indeed bullies, not something you want in your landscape. Fall is a great time of year to take or plan to take the first steps toward eliminating them.
You do have a variety of options and some work better than others for a particular bully so the first step is to identify them. If you need help you can always bring us a sample, a branch with several leaves and maybe the fruit. If you’re sure of the name give us a call and we can discuss which option should work best for you.
And here are your basic options to consider:
Break the reproductive cycle. This works best for annual or biennial plants, plants that go through their entire life cycle, from seed to flower to seed in one (annual), or two (biennial) growing seasons. One way is to prevent the seed from germinating in the first place. This is the approach many homeowners use for treating annual weeds in lawns. There are also natural and chemical pre-emergent treatments available. Or, in small areas you can make a practice of cutting off the flowers by hand before they go to seed. Bag those flowers for the landfill rather than putting them in your compost.
Another option is exhaustion, wearing the plant out by using up all of its energy and preventing it from growing at all by frequent mowing for example. Goats can do the same thing, and there are a number of local folks in the rent-a-goat business. Flame, torching the plant to the ground is another option but can be a fire hazard.
Physical removal of the plant by manually pulling or disking with a machine or tiller may be appropriate in some cases or with some species but not for others. It’s important to not leave any pieces of the root in the ground or you’ll likely have a reappearance.
Finally, we have the option of using a chemical herbicide. These are classified by their mode of action (MOA) or how they actually work. Some are contact, damaging tissues they actually touch, while others are systemic and kill from within after being absorbed into the plant through the roots or leaves.
Selective chemicals may work, for example, only against grasses but not broadleaf plants or vice versa. 2,4-D which kills broad leaf plants like dandelions in a lawn without harming the grass for example, is a selective systemic. Glyphosate, aka Roundup will kill any plant, including your lawn.
Now, after a full season of growth, is the absolute best time of year to get out and look for new bullies in your yard, garden or woods or along the road. Plants that are taking over, climbing on their neighbors, acting like genuine BULLIES.
Call us for help in identifying and in choosing your course and timing of your bully-busting campaign. 828-255-5522.
Written by Glenn Palmer