Persistent mysterious weed

Discussion in 'Plants: Identification' started by Melanie Joy, May 30, 2019.

  1. Melanie Joy

    Melanie Joy New Member

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    This weed is everywhere in my garden. it's a ground cover I guess, but chokes out everything else. I pull it up constantly and sometimes get a long white root, but it grows as fast as I dig it up. What the heck is it?! And is there a way to eliminate it or reduce it?
     

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  2. Michigander

    Michigander Active Member

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    Modern chemistry to the rescue! Round-Up kills it and several brands of weed per-emergent preventives will stop it from coming back. Nothing is better for weeds than preventing them from going to seed on your watch by pulling them before they get to that stage. Get a little slow on the draw, or a little lazy, and they win. Gardening is an on-going sport, the work is never done.
     
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  3. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Renowned Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    We never recommend the use of pesticides before identifying the problem.

    Does the crushed foliage smell garlicky?
     
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  4. Melanie Joy

    Melanie Joy New Member

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    Yes - I don't intend to use Roundup. If that's my only option I would continue to commit to a daily hour of weeding every day instead, assuming my back holds up. The leaves don't smell garlicky, just have a generic 'green' smell. I think I know the plant you mean and it looks kind of like it. But the leaves on my weed are roundish with a point.
     
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  5. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Renowned Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    If no one pops in and can identify it from the photos so far, let one grow as far as flowering stage, photograph it, and then yank it.
     
  6. Melanie Joy

    Melanie Joy New Member

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    Ok I looked at the leaves again. They're heart shaped and serrated. I think I did let one grow by mistake . It was tall and had a blue plume. Very pretty. I'm not sure that was the weed tho. The waves were on get and thinner.
     
  7. Melanie Joy

    Melanie Joy New Member

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    Oops. The leaves on the plant that flowered were narrower and longer ,
     
  8. Margot

    Margot Well-Known Member

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    Why not? The problem in this case is a plant growing where it is not wanted. We call such plants 'weeds'. Does it really matter what its name is?
     
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  9. vitog

    vitog Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Melanie, if you are referring to the leaves on the flowering stem, those are often narrow and very different from the basal leaves.
     
  10. Melanie Joy

    Melanie Joy New Member

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    The wonderful Shelagh at the UBC Botanical garden Hotline has identified 'my' invasive trailing weed as Glechoma hederacea, also known as Creeping Charlie, Ground Ivy: many names in different places. She says: "it is hard to get rid of as it puts down roots where ever there is a node and leaves form. There is no biological control at present. We do not recommend herbicides as they are dangerous for the environment. Hand pulling is the only solution. This is more effective in early spring or late fall".

    I've done some research and there are many so-called natural remedies but they generally don't seem to very effective or safe for the environment. I will continue to be vigilant!
     
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  11. Michigander

    Michigander Active Member

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    It's a darn good thing that you're not a farmer because we'd all starve.
     
  12. Melanie Joy

    Melanie Joy New Member

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    Hey - no need to be nasty!
     
  13. Margot

    Margot Well-Known Member

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    Remember it is the dose that makes the poison. Herbicides are only dangerous for the environment if too much is applied to too small an area. The risk of spraying a few drops of glyphosate mixed with a cup or two of water on a persistent weed that is impossible to eradicate manually is one I am comfortable taking.

    Why battle invasive weeds such as Wall Lettuce (Mycelis muralis) or Sheep Sorrell (Rumex acetosella) or Creeping Charlie (Glechoma hederacea) for the rest of your gardening years when you can eliminate them easily and safely with a judicious squirt of a benign product such as glyphosate? Doesn't make sense to me.

    After reading dozens of articles pro and con Roundup in particular, I believe the countless studies that rate its toxicity very low compared to common household substances that many people happily pour on weeds in the belief that they are 'natural' and therefore safe.

    http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/pi/pi17000.pdf
    Table 1. Comparison of oral LD50 values for commonly used herbicides and consumer goods.

    From January 2019
    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/health-canada-herbicide-glyphosate-roundup-1.4975945
     

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    Last edited: Jun 2, 2019
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  14. Melanie Joy

    Melanie Joy New Member

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    OK, one more comment. I know about Roundup and I am aware that it can be targeted carefully on specific pernicious weeds or invasive plants, e.g. bamboo. But there is no way to 'target' this weed. I am not exaggerating when I say it is growing throughout my front garden which is really many areas of plants, flowers and shrubs. The debate about pros and cons of using glyphosate aside, it would not be feasible to use it without harming other plants. That's why I think some meditative sessions of hand-pulling work better.

    I appreciate the advice and information from those of you have replied to my call for help!
     
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  15. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Contributor 10 Years

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  16. Melanie Joy

    Melanie Joy New Member

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    Yes we were thinking about a torch. But given the network of roots I wonder if it would be effective. Thanks.
     
  17. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Contributor 10 Years

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    It sounds like this weed cannot be easily eradicated and therefore it comes down to control. At least with a torch you won't have to keep crouching down to pick at the leaves. It could be a time and back saver.
     
  18. Melanie Joy

    Melanie Joy New Member

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    Yes - we're looking into it right now!
     
  19. Margot

    Margot Well-Known Member

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    You might as well bang your head against a wall.

    However, killing the top growth of weeds with underground rhizomatous root systems can be effective in some cases.

    I eradicated Goutweed (Aegopodium podagraria) and Chameleon Plant (Houttynia cordata) many years ago by persistently removing all green leaves (and roots when possible) until they finally withered out. In most cases however, this is a futile effort.

    These days, I am trying to eliminate goldenrod which was left on its own for several years until it covered about 4 square meters. I dug as many roots as I could last fall but couldn't get to those under rhodos and other shrubs nearby. For weeks now I have been isolating individuals with cardboard and bags and newspapers to give each a little squirt of Roundup . . . but expect to battle insurgents for another year or two at least.

    If you are determined not to use a herbicide, you will have to nip off every green part of this weed as soon as it emerges until lack of photosynthesis does it in.

    Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2019
  20. Melanie Joy

    Melanie Joy New Member

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    Thanks for sharing your experience, Margot. I will keep at Creeping Charlie this season and see if it makes a difference. I have goldenrod, too, but happily it's in a big pot and seems to be staying there. :)
     
  21. Margot

    Margot Well-Known Member

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    CAUTION: Be very, very careful before you employ the use of a weed torch. They are undoubtedly used frequently and successfully but when they go wrong, they can go very wrong. In my own experience, I almost set fire to my own house (never have told my husband this story). It seems that I ignited a smouldering blaze beneath the soil surface that worked its way over several days to the concrete foundation of our house where it eventually played itself out. In retrospect, it explained the smokiness we smelled for almost a week. My husband may be understanding with a story of his own about a friend who was burning weeds in the path beside his driveway when, inadvertently, he ignited the dried chaff in his pyramidalis cedar hedge. He was left with first degree burns and a cautionary tale to tell. (Be sure to get in touch if you want to buy an almost-new weed torch.)
     
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  22. Melanie Joy

    Melanie Joy New Member

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    Yikes! Thanks for the warning, Margot.
     
  23. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Renowned Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    It is among the first principles of Integrated Pest Management: Integrated Pest Management - Province of British Columbia
     
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  24. Margot

    Margot Well-Known Member

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    I am very familiar with IPM principles and try to practice them whenever practical.

    #1 - the horse has already left the barn.
    #2 - it is not necessary to identify a weed with rhizomatous roots growing all over the garden by its botanical or common name to recognize a serious problem exists.
    #3 - monitoring has been ongoing for some time in this particular case.
    #4 - subjective decisions needed for this one.
    #5 - it would seem that the best strategy to eliminate Creeping Charlie is chemical unless Melanie Joy is prepared to devote a considerable amount of time to continuously pulling it out.
    #6 - subjective.

    The Six Elements of Integrated Pest Management
    1. Planning and managing agricultural production systems to prevent insects, plant diseases and weeds from becoming pests
    2. Identifying pests, their natural enemies and damage
    3. Monitoring populations of pests and beneficial organisms, pest damage, and environmental conditions
    4. Making control decisions based on potential damage, cost of control methods, value of production, impact on other pests, beneficial organisms and the environment
    5. Using strategies that may include a combination of behavioural, biological, chemical, cultural and mechanical methods to reduce pest populations to acceptable levels
    6. Evaluating the effects and efficacy of management decisions
     
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  25. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Renowned Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    I'm afraid I don't understand. Others have given advice on how to proceed now that the weed was identified, and I've not commented on that.

    My only comment was to identify the weed before resorting to a treatment that involves the use of a herbicide, in much the same way as one would hope a doctor would identify a disease before recommending a treatment regimen that has some potential deleterious effects.

    Along with promoting integrated pest management, we also like to fight pseudoscience. So, here's a take on roundup from a skeptic:

    Glyphosate linked to non-Hodgkin lymphoma? Analysis of new study

    On a personal note, we used Round-up extensively on the farm when I was growing up. And, I have a brother who had non-Hodgkin lymphoma. But the link, if there is one, remains inconclusive.
     

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