CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- I've received some concerns from other gardeners about a big problem, and I must admit that I have the same concerns. So, I'm just going to flat-out ask you. Do you have problem weeds in your garden?
A while back, I discussed ways to reduce the weeds in your garden. Now, when we talk weeds, many sources say "a weed is a plant out of place not intentionally sown, whose undesirable qualities outweigh its good points."
Some gardeners are adamant weed warriors, using any means to keep the leafy intruders out of their lawns and gardens. Other gardeners have a more relaxed attitude. "At least it's green!" some gardeners exclaim, while others praise the edible qualities of some weeds such as nettles and dandelions. "A dandelion's worst enemy," says my TV friend John Marra, "is an Italian with a knife." (He speaks from experience.)
I'm not talking about your run-of-the-mill weeds though. I'm talking about hard-to-control, noxious, downright nasty weeds. These are Mother Nature's untrained children run amok.
We've grown accustomed to some of our old stand-by noxious weeds such as multiflora rose and kudzu. But there are newer, more noxious weeds that could be living right under your nose. The best advice I can give is to catch the problems early, before they escalate out of proportion. Cut them down; remove them; kill them out.
The following noxious plants will, in fact, take over your yard in no time flat, refuse to be killed out by most means, and grow faster than you can even imagine. The following three plants are on the top of my enemies list. These plants are not your friends. You have been warned.
Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica) has quickly become an enemy to many gardeners. It has hollow, jointed stems much like bamboo, but is in the Polygonaceae family with rhubarb rather than a grass like bamboo. It can grow up to 12 feet tall, though here it usually grows in the 4- to 6-foot range. It spreads through underground rhizomes, which makes it difficult to eradicate. Pulling it up just seems to propagate new plants -- just like the heads of the Hydra in Greek mythology. Keeping it mowed down can weaken the plant, but complete control through mowing would require years of consistent mowing. Applying a glyphosate herbicide to post-mowing new growth in the fall offers the most consistent control. Even then it might take a few rounds of fighting to knock this pesky plant out.