Los Fresnos News

You’ll always have to weed

By ANN JOHNSTON
LFN

Our year-round growing season in the Lower Rio Grande Valley does have a drawback. Weeds grow all year-round, too! So be ready and work to keep ahead of this natural situation.

First, understand that one man’s weeds might be another’s native plant.

Tiny Dollar Weed spreads through your lawn and flowers beds by thin threads that travel under the soil. Photos: Ann Johnston / LFN

Many in a butterfly, bee, or bird planting are natives and grow very well in the Valley. They grow so well that they can become invasive! So then the gardener isn’t sure that they want this plant/weed. One gardener was so taken with a low growing greenery that seemed to have pretty lavender flowers all year that she transplanted some into her new yard when she moved. The plant enjoyed its new home so much, it became a weed in the gardener’s eyes. So think twice about plants that seem to be “wild”.

Getting rid of weeds in your yard will be a continuous job. They will pop up in your grassy areas. They will send out thin threads to spread in lawn and flowerbed. You can’t let them get ahead of you! If you see a weed, pull it right then. They multiple quickly.

Mexican Petunias throw their seed out as the pods dry. White or usually blueish- purple flowers, they are very invasive.

Suggestion: Be sure you get the roots- all of them! It’s like pruning a bush. If you leave roots or part of the stem, it not only keeps growing, but it spreads out and becomes bushier or longer.

  • Pulling weeds by hand is time consuming and creates muscle aches if you’ve left the job too long and have to work at it a long length of time.
  • But pulling weeds by hand gets the area cleaner and target the weeds without harming the good plants.
  • Some vines are weeds and can choke and kill the tree or bush it is covering.
  • Be very cautious if spraying weed killer! Even a gentle breeze will spread on the wind and kill nearby plants. Our lawns of St. Augustine and Bermuda grass extend their area with “runners”. If one runner gets sprayed, you will probably notice a long patch of grass begin to die.
  • There are many specialized tools made for weeding. Some have long handles to enable the gardener to remain standing. Others have a notched end to grab the roots and pull them out. Again, be careful of sprayers.
Turk’s Cap is a native loved by the hummingbirds. But it spreads everywhere.

Hint: The best thing to help with weeding your yard is to realize it is a continuous job. Don’t let it get ahead of you. If you see a weed, pull it!

Come through the Garden Gate next week for more hints and suggestions for gardening in our Magic Lower Rio Grande Valley.

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