grape hyacinth?

Discussion in 'Garden Pest Management and Identification' started by roxturpin, Apr 16, 2008.

  1. roxturpin

    roxturpin Member

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    This plant is growing in my landscape and I can't control it... if I try to dig it up, it multiplies. Can anyone help me with control? I'd like to have a patch of it... but it's random and looks like weeds.
     

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  2. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Yep, grape-hyacinth (Muscari).
     
  3. joclyn

    joclyn Rising Contributor

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    if you are digging it up, you need to make sure you get all the bulbs.
     
  4. maggiec

    maggiec Active Member 10 Years

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    You have to bite the bullet and decide to do without it. I had it all over one bed. In the past I waited until after it flowered (the blue flowers looked so sweet) but by then the greens were already weak and when you try to pull the plant out, the bulbs snap off and stay in the soil. Also, I thought I would keep a few cute little clumps, but they spread like crazy. This year, as soon as there was a fair amount of green growth I went through the bed and pulled them out bulbs intact. I'm confident I removed almost all of it and it'll probably just be a bit of minor cleanup next spring.

    Another bulb that I'm clearing out this spring is something I think is 'camassia'? Again, I thought I would leave a few clumps and now it's choking up one of my beds. The plants self-seed all over, the bubs are bigger and deeper - harder to dig out. They form great big clumps and after digging up just half a bed, I filled up 2 huge bags.

    I really have to laugh when I see these bulbs for sale.
     
  5. joclyn

    joclyn Rising Contributor

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    i have them and i don't see any more than what i planted - 5 years ago. are you in a warmer zone than i am?
     
  6. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    A sheet of these is an opportunity to plant a magnolia, flowering cherry or other spring-blooming specimen plant in its own contrasting blue carpet. Try to make use of this "little blue bulb" to create similar landscape pictures instead of spending years destroying an asset.
     
  7. roxturpin

    roxturpin Member

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    i was thinking something along those lines... and then also wondered if there's anything I can plant among it that would "crowd it out"...
    thanks - that's a good idea
     
  8. roxturpin

    roxturpin Member

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    I'm in Oregon - Portland area... where are you?
     
  9. roxturpin

    roxturpin Member

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    I spent several days the first year we lived here trying to dig them all up. I'm pretty sure there are more this year than there were then! I would just like to keep them in their place. They're pretty in tight clumpls.
     
  10. roxturpin

    roxturpin Member

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    I know! I can't believe people buy these things! Maybe I should dig them up and put them on ebay! :)
     
  11. dawnh

    dawnh Member

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    Hi everyone,

    I just wanted to make a comment regarding the difference between invasive plants and weeds. Lately, I've heard people start to throw the term "invasive" around in reference to any plant that can be aggressive in the garden (like grape hyacinth), but "invasive" plants are more than just weeds. They have the ability to cause real harm -- economic, healthwise or environmental. Grape hyacinth may be a pest, but it will never take over an ecosystem like Japanese knotweed.
    It's important to be precise with the term, because when we're trying to take action on the real invasive plant species, we want people to understand that it's more than just a nuisance plant that we're talking about. And that there's more at stake.

    Thanks!
     
  12. maggiec

    maggiec Active Member 10 Years

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    I inherited these bulbs with the garden when I moved in. And yes, my initial thought was how pretty they were (anyone see the movie 'Howard's End' and the guy walking through a blue cloud of flowers in the woods). But it doesn't stay a 'nice blue carpet.' After blooming, it gets truly messy and it is EVERYWHERE. Also, as I acquire more and more plants, space is at a premium, and the large clumps of camassia (?) choking out my prized plants get rather annoying. (So is hauling 4 large bins of it to the truck) So I will sacrifice the 2 weeks of cute little blue flowers and willingly put in the work so the rest of the year is a happier place.

    I wouldn't say these plants are 'invasive' but yes definitely aggressive. It's a matter of what is appropriate for each garden. If I had a nice spread of woodland, then I would love having these guys prop up all over. But it's just not working out in my space, where every spot is at a premium.
     
  13. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    If these little plants are "choking" your other plants - are they really crowding them out, or is it actually just a matter of not liking how the planting looks? - then probably the easiest thing would be to place the other (apparently quite small) kinds of plants differently, instead of scattering them through the bulbs.

    It seems to me so much of the struggle in gardening attempts is based on insisting on effects that run counter to the situation (site conditions). Going with the flow may often be more likely to result in satisfaction. I've even seen a picture of a solid patch of field horsetail being made use of by scattering windmill palms through it. The contrast in appearance between the two kinds of plants was quite appealing.

    There is a smart way to do everything.
     
  14. maggiec

    maggiec Active Member 10 Years

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    I guess I just didn't know the 'smart way.' Sorry.

    Yes, there is of course the aesthetic as well as the practical consideration resulting in me preferring to take the muscari & bluebells out of my garden beds. Aesthetics is a personal thing, isn't it, so the horsetails used so cleverly by someone else just may not appeal to me. Perhaps my tastes are too plebeian.

    And yes, the bluebells or camassia or whatever the heck they are, do form large enough plants & colonies to become a nuisance. They may not bother my lilac, but they tend to move where they like, even covering the entire bed and ruining my rock garden. Perhaps I've painted the picture too vividly and given the impression that this cleanup was some sort of Herculean task that was wildly illogical. But actually it was just me spending a few days of rather satisfying exercise cleaning up my beds.

    And it's just me, addressing the original post, letting someone know that yes, it can be a pain but there is a way to get it out, IF you don't want it.

    Isn't gardening all about manipulating nature? Really, isn't that what we all do in some form?
     
  15. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    I wondered if you had alpines, it would have to be something dinky to be overwhelmed by grape hyacinths. Although it continues to sound like you really don't know what they are. Having a problem with camas taking over a garden would be most unusual. Being overwhelmed with bluebells (Hyacinthoides) wouldn't be, maybe that is what you are fighting instead of grape hyacinths (Muscari). Bluebells are common here and form lush clumps of leaves that could easily pile up on small plants. Your choices remain the same: either get them all out or modify your design to work with them.
     
  16. maggiec

    maggiec Active Member 10 Years

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    Ron,
    I know what muscari & bluebells are. Yes, I had these by the bushels. If I could have sold all my muscari bulbs, I'd be rich. I believe the third bulb is camassia, as I have googled this and the pictures & info match up.

    http://www.hillkeep.ca/bulbs camassia.htm
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camassia

    Hmmm, it says this bulb "naturalizes beautifully." I can attest to that. Height: 30 - 130cm. Fairly sizable, I'd say. As I said earlier, I filled up 3 large bins with this stuff. Where did it come from? No idea. It showed up in my garden one day, I thought it was lovely, and 2 years down the road, it had taken over one entire 15' bed including the rock wall.

    Yeah, muscari are smaller, but like ants, there are a LOT of them. Really, I don't think I'm the only one finding they can overstay their welcome. Just read the original post.

    I'm not sure why you persist in questioning how much these plants impacted on my other plants/overall garden design. That is really up to each gardener to decide. When a particular plant runs rampant in your garden to the point where it becomes a thorn in your side, then it is a 'weed.' If I happen to love dandelions forming a beautiful yellow carpet under my magnolia or over my entire lawn, then they are an 'asset.'

    I already knew what my options were, quite obvious - that is why I took them out.
     
  17. roxturpin

    roxturpin Member

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    Oh my - it seems I've started something. My apologies. I am not a seasoned gardener, but I do know that the muscari (grape hyacinth) are an annoyance. I chose this category (invasive plants) because it seemed to apply. They just appeard in my garden too... and they look like weeds after they bloom, so I dug and pulled and hauled away two loads...two years ago. They came back last year and I just ignored them. This year I'm pulling, trying not to dig, because to dig is to cut and to cut is to creat more! Under each flower there are 3-6 bulbs.
    I have heard that in some parts of the country people actually plant them and want them. Here in Oregon, in my landscape, they weren't planted, aren't wanted and I'm going to keep trying to get rid of them.

    Thanks so much for everyone's input and again, I'm sorry that I caused and argument with my post.
     
  18. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Just be thankful you don't have onion weed. That is a pest. If I were near enough I would love some of your grape hyacinth. They along with daffodil, for-get-me-nots and the bluebells [Hyacinthoides non-scripta] really make for a lovely spring with out too much effort.

    liz
     
  19. dawnh

    dawnh Member

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    Hey Roxturpin,

    Don't apologize! That's what this forum is all about -- learning. Maybe some folks didn't realize that there is a distinction between weed and invasive and maybe now they have a better idea. And now I know not to plant grape hyacinth in my backyard, unless I want a perfect purple carpet. :-)

    Dawn
     
  20. terrymoore

    terrymoore Member

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    This interesting discussion highlights how various gardeners view a similar scenario from such opposite directions- one person' invasive weed is another's landscape focal point. I personally cannot get enough bulbs in the ground. Each year I invariably dig up old plants as I try to fit in new. I love the effect that masses of blues,purples,pinks etc. give to areas under fruit trees, along rock walls or anywhere the grass grows. I find bulbs are about the most reliable spring bloomers on the west coast and and for that few weeks in the spring they put a smile on my face. After that they just get mown with the rest of the grass until they return next spring! Hey send me all of your Muscari!
     
  21. maggiec

    maggiec Active Member 10 Years

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    Roxturpin,
    Please don't apologize. Let me be the first to say I'm sorry for letting my passions get carried away. Since I packed up the last of those darned muscari yesterday (here's hoping) I feel much more mellow. (I confess I left a few patches under the 50ft cedar where it is better behaved.) Btw, may I introduce my best friend, the 4-tine weeding fork.

    http://www.leevalley.com/garden/page.aspx?c=1&p=10501&cat=2,51810

    It is such a great tool - doesn't cut but lifts and loosens. I love this thing.

    Don't get me wrong - I love bulbs too (just not the "tribble" kind). Nothing nicer than seeing them pop their heads out after a long winter.

    terrymoore, haha, you've inspired my next craigslist ad:
    "Free: grape hyacinths. Naturalizes beautifully. You dig."
     
  22. Lysichiton

    Lysichiton Active Member

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    I have both bluebells & muscari on the loose in my garden, but they are not really a problem plant for me in the Fraser Valley. 2 things I do (or don't):

    1. A SHARP cutting hoe. Just push-pull & cut the leaves. Let them lie - they make good mulch. They send up more leaves - repeat. Just takes a few minutes. After 3-4 goes, I win.
    2. If they are around my wanted plants I pull or dig them with the bulb attached, as others have said; but I DON'T put them in my compost heap, unless it's a really hot one! They seem to survive for 2 years & grow from mini-bulbs the size of a grain of rice!

    Sometimes I look at the survivors in the corners & think "What else is growing there anyway?" & I let them be till they get rambunctious again. Then hoe,hoe,hoe.

    gb
     
  23. SamKay

    SamKay Member

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    Wow! I had no idea about Grape Hyacinth until yesterday! When I moved into my place it was already Autumn, and didn't know I had them in the back. Then as the Spring comes I see all these purple flowers, and yesterday someone told me they were G H. So today I spent some time weeding them, and checked online to see which parts I should weed. From the look of the comments in here, I don't need to worry about protecting them from weeds! I'll still weed, though just to keep my backyard from looking messy.
     
  24. growing4it

    growing4it Active Member 10 Years

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    I would LOVE to have some camassia!!! Have you tried potting some up for sharing?
     

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