Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A bucketfull of Fatuoa villosa and a bedload of Tetrapanax papyrifer......so much potential for mayhem

The Mulberry weed is loaded with seed. I must have pulled a couple thousand of them today, the majority coming up through a bed of Rubus calycinoides (pentalobus). I learned that while I can pull weeds simultaneously, my left hand doesn't have the sensitive "touch" my right does and so I snap the tops off of the roots more often southpaw. Mulberry weed has a fairly stiff stem so it isn't difficult to go back and find the stub. I suppose that's a skill in itself. I can no longer remember whether Lawrence Lee (an Asian Collections Curator 20-odd years ago who was therefore my boss for a while) actually made me dump my weeds onto a tarp and produce roots to match all broken tops, or whether it's just a story I made up. Wonderfully illustrative of our relationship whether true or false. To this day I unfailingly track down roots when I break off a top. Thanks Larry. Next spring I'll be certain to apply an appropriate pre-emergent herbicide. We'll see how it goes.

The Tetrapanax is another story; I love this plant but it suckers, well, frighteningly here. From Maybe five shoots three years ago we have closer to two hundred than one hundred. Many are over 6', 2M. The large stems and the undersides of the leaves shed fibrous particles that can gag anyone working with it. I finally got a dust mask for my third load. What can I say? I'm an idiot. Amanda tried several herbicides on this plant, without success. I pulled out about a hundred plants, cut off fifty or so larger ones, and left many small ones. I will do research and cook up some concoction of death to paint on the small plant and the stumps. Then I'll follow up rigorously and eventually we will vanquish it. Someplace we need to install some bamboo barrier and replant.

The Rice-paper plant will compost nicely, but I put the Mulberry weed into the dumpster. If our compost somehow doesn't kill the seeds we don't want them turning up in our mulch some day.

No comments: