Posts tagged weeds

Climate Change Moves Weeds Around

As all of you probably already know, most of our neighborhoods have been inhabited and sometimes taken over completely by invasive foreign plants and weeds. In some cases these were plants that local authorities would be nice to add to the landscape and now they have taken over the landscape and no one can eradicate them. In other cases, immigrants brought plants and seeds from their homeland and planted them in their gardens, only to have them become invasive and disastrous to native landscapes. Here in Florida some prime examples include Kudzo, Brazilian Pepper Trees and Vines, Chokeweed, Spanish Bayonet, Spanish Needles, Hedge Bindweed and Air Yams. These foreign cultivars are aggressive and destructive and, in some areas, they carpet the landscape and crowd all other plants out.

But what does all of this have to do with global warming and climate change? Well, according to a new study it is now believed that climate change will likely shuffle some of the most troublesome weeds from their native local to far away farms and ranches, reeking havoc with cultivated crops. This study shows that a warming climate will provide prime conditions for invasive plants to get a foothold, spread quickly and crowd out native species. This study was performed by Princeton University Researchers and was recently published in the latest edition of the scientific journal Global Change Biology.

In some cases the outcome could be good, such as forcing invasives out of the west and allow the re-establishment of native species, but this opportunity will be short lived and the window for action will be limited. According to Bethany Bradley, a biogeographer at Princeton University and lead author on the study, “We’re going to have to be in the right place at the right time before something else gains a foothold.” This basically means that if we want to turn a bad situation into a good thing, we have to be poised for action and swift to move.

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Eating and Using Garden Weeds

I have written posts on eating and using weeds before but I thought maybe a list would be a good way to make it all clear and easy to follow. I was going through an old gardening book of mine, one that was a bible for me in my early days of learning. In the back there was a section of several pages listing common weeds in the yard and how to eradicate them. Many of the weeds pictured I now know to be useful in many ways and some are even edible. I recall when I first got the book, over 15 years ago, I went over that list like written law and spent weekends chasing and killing these weeds. I remember the names of all of the weed killing preparations I spent hours in WalMart investigating and buying. I thought of a weekend afternoon pulling weeds as a part of a workout. I lived in a nice waterfront house in those days and the yard was perfect: manicured, weed free and green.

But I also recall that about 10 years ago, when I first started investigating herbs, I was doing my usual routine in the yard and pulling up weeds. I lived in a small apartment at that time and had a yard that looked like a rubble patch dotted with what I recognized as weeds. During my weed pulling exercise I suddenly realized that I had a handful of Shepherds Purse in one hand and a pile of Chickweed next to me. In my new learnings about herbs I knew right away that these were useful herbs and not really weeds after all. I had just learned how to make Dandelion tea for a diuretic and had had my first salad with Purslane. So I stopped cold in my tracks and haven’t gone to my mindless weed killing routine since. Oh, I know that some of those nasty little plants are indeed weeds and these should be killed and tossed. And not into the compost, please! The useless ones include Goosegrass, Crabgrass and most grasses you don’t intend to grow as your lawn; Sedge; Reed; Clover; Buttercups; Carpetweeds; and a ton of others that you know are a problem. However, look my list over carefully and make sure that you don’t destroy the good guys in the process and then check out the post that follows each plant to find out what to do with them when you get lucky enough to find them.

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Garden Weeds: Gifts From God

I know that you are busy most of the year digging, yanking and dosing your yard to rid it of weeds. When you fertilize your favorite weed, lawn grass, you dose the yard with weed killer meant to take out any other weed and make your yard look like a clean carpet. But you are making a huge mistake. You make this mistake because you are misinformed. Manufacturers spend an awful lot of time trying to shape your view of the world and there is money to be made in fertilizers, weed killers, grass seed, lawn mowers, weed pullers, hoes… etc.. and not much to be made from a free garden weed.

If you can just realign your view of beauty and look at these weeds with an eye for real value, you’d be surprised, first by all of the money you’ll save and second by all the work you will no longer have to do!! And, guess what, you’re getting greener and wiser in the process! And I know you just can’t beat all that. So I am going to tell you all about weeds today, which ones to look for and what to do with them when you find them. You will be shocked to realize just how much good stuff you’ve thrown away all these years.

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