Hey, where's the invasives forum?

floreyAugust 5, 2010

Can't find it!

This machine, couldn't find the ice cream thread, so maybe thats it.

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esh_ga

Invasive plants? Or invasive peoples (e.g., illegals)?

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 2:18PM
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duluthinbloomz4

Don't believe there ever was one - there's the Weeds Forum right there under "W" in the alphabetical listing.

Then of course there are the usual pedants people who want to beat you over the head about barberry, burning bush and all kinds of what not that show up in the Annuals, Perennials, Trees, Shrubs, etc. forums.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 2:31PM
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esh_ga

I just beat people over the head in the Trees and Shrubs forum ... I didn't know there were like-minded folks in Annuals and Perennials.

Death to Albizia julibrissin and Ailanthus altissima!

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 2:35PM
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nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10

Death to cortaderia selloana in Southern California!

I wouldn't waste any tears on arundo donax either.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 3:10PM
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jodik_gw

"Hey, where's the invasives forum?"

You mean... this isn't it?

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 3:17PM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

There was an invasives forum started about 4 or 5 years ago. Maybe it didn't make it. There were a number of posters who were very vocal about some plants. Buckthorn and Virginia Creeper were mentioned frequently. Some people had huge lists of things they wanted listed as noxious weeds. Some have been in the Americas since before the Pilgrims.

It seems to me that it appeared about the time the Native plants forum got started but I could be remembering wrong.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 3:50PM
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duluthinbloomz4

Well, I've got Adenophora Confusa's "Evil Twin", Campanula Rapunculoides. Such a lovely invasive and I've been battling it for years.

Yes, Trees and Shrubs can be an adventure. I don't think the Bradford Pear has been quite beaten to death yet by the Tree forum participants - guess they know a breeze or a lightening strike will do it for them. Getting that 300 lb. limb out of the front seat of the SUV is difficult unless your second purchase (after the Pear) was a chain saw.

If you ever want science to get in the way of your enjoyment of backyard composting, read some of the threads on the "Soil, Compost and Mulch" forum. Some of those exchanges can heat up - much like the compost itself.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 3:56PM
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jodik_gw

Lythrum... a plant now considered invasive... I see it along the highways and in a few gardens, but it can't be purchased anywhere. It's so pretty. I wish I had gotten some before it was listed as illegal to buy, sell or grow in certain areas.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 3:59PM
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esh_ga

Ah yes, 'Bradford' pear, the invasive that is emerging right in front of us. Down here in Georgia, it springs up on roadsides and vacant lots like illegal folks looking for work ....

I do enjoy the Soil forum, they are a delightful bunch. I especially like the threads about adding "strange" things to the compost pile (and peeing on it).

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 4:24PM
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jodik_gw

Well, I'm not one for "strange things" or "using human urine" in my soil building or growing... but I do follow the teachings of "tapla" in the Container Gardening Forum.

I build my own potting soil using perlite, fir bark bits, and granite chips. As a result, my indoor plants are healthy and vigorous growers.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 6:25PM
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sjerin

jodi--Ok, you sent me over to the container gardening site so I could look up "tapla." I don't have much more time to read so thought I'd go off-topic here and ask if you used the 5-1-1 ratio? There was also a 3-1-1 mentioned and more. Is there any way you could post the ratio (and of what) you use? Tapla sounds like a VERY well-respected guy, kinda like Bill with his tile advice. If this is out of line, please ignore. Otherwise, tia.
Erin

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 7:17PM
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jodik_gw

Tapla is very respected, and he's earned that respect through his unflagging service to GW gardeners... very much like Bill in the world of tile, yes.

I hate to confuse you, but I don't necessarily use an exact mixture as listed in tapla's soil recipes. It all depends on the type of plant I'm potting, actually... for some, I require a bit more moisture retention... for others, less. So, I play around with the 3 main ingredients, and I even add a few handfuls of bagged potting mix, or perhaps vermiculite... it all depends on the consistency I want for the plant in question.

Honestly, it would be to your advantage to find a little time, and do some reading in the Container Gardening Forum. It helps immensely to know WHY you're using these ingredients, and what plants actually need.

On average, I go for a bonsai-like mixture... the particles large enough to maintain the aeration I need, and small enough to hold onto a bit of moisture.

I use Reptibark reptile bedding, which is 100% fir bark, and the perfect size pieces. Perlite is available almost everywhere. The granite chips are actually Manna Pro poultry grit, available at farm or feed stores. It's 100% granite chips. Using the right ingredients in the right sizes is very important.

I'm not sure if I've helped you, or confused you... but I suggest reading as much as you can to get a good idea of WHY you're using this mix, HOW it works, and where you can find the items needed. If you're in doubt, ask tapla... I'm certain he'd be more than happy to help.

Good luck, and Happy Gardening!

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 10:00PM
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eibren(z6PA)

What is perlite, anyway?

I hope it's not the same substance that they used to use as loose insulation, and then (after the company closed down) admitted was from a mine that had asbestos in it (vermiculite)?

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 12:56AM
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jodik_gw

Perlite is derived from ammonium nitrate, ammonium phosphate, calcium phosphate, and potassium sulfate. It is non-toxic, sterile, and odorless.

Perlite are the little white pieces, weighing almost nothing. The product helps adds aeration to the root area of plantings.

Vermiculite is another product, altogether.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 8:48AM
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duluthinbloomz4

Vermiculite is a hydrated silicate mineral which expands on heating.

Used in loose insulation (and in potting mixtures). Not all vermiculite is contaminated with asbestos - but you could possibly find it in insulation used between the 20's and 1990.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 9:14AM
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tobr24u(z6 RI)

Hope this forum isn't invaded by brain bugs, but it might have already happened...

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 9:20AM
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jodik_gw

What are you talking about, tobr?

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 9:40AM
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tobr24u(z6 RI)

Simple, don't you find some of these threads a little buggy?

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 9:44AM
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jodik_gw

Others, yes... this one, no. Insects are less apt to take up residence in a potting mix that won't support them. Because of the exceedingly slow rate of decomposition, and the fact that excess moisture is not present, the mix I use doesn't harbor bugs. ;-)

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 10:01AM
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bboy(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Nurseryman I know uses only bark mulch and sand plus two kinds of fertilizer for over a thousand different kinds of plants.

Concern about seriously invasive plants is nothing to denigrate or laugh at. Those who think their personal affection for a specific plant trumps millions of dollars in economic impacts or disruption of natural systems aren't getting the big picture.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2010 at 1:09PM
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duluthinbloomz4

Lythrum Salicaria (Purple Loosestrife) has really invaded many of the wetlands here. Years ago there was a voluntary call to eradicate it from our gardens because it surely didn't need a wetlands environment to thrive - we dug it up and disposed of it properly as I'm sure most did. It was a beautiful garden plant that we were sorry to see go. But when those cabins and summer homes on the lakes where we love to while away time began to overlook "seas" of pinky lavender spikes.....

    Bookmark   August 7, 2010 at 1:57PM
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heri_cles

Creeping Charlie, Japanese Beetles and Asian Carp are just South of Toyotas on my list of unwanted invasives.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2010 at 3:28PM
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jodik_gw

Unless the particles of sand are abnormally large, using it defeats the purpose, which is to maintain aeration through large numbers of small air pockets. The sand would fill in those spaces.

Roots actually intake moisture in the form of vapor, and they require a certain amount of oxygen to maintain health and growth. A very fine, silty, and overly wet soil cannot support healthy root growth for any length of time.

To paraphrase a very knowledgeable bit of writing, "Soils are the foundation that all container plantings are built on, and aeration is the very cornerstone of that foundation. Aeration and drainage are inversely linked to soil particle size."

The first, and most important bit of information a container gardener can learn is that a garden environment differs immensely from a container environment. The second good bit of knowledge is learning what the function of soil is. Soil functions as plant anchorage, a place for nutrient retention, gas exchange, and moisture retention.

Because of the basics I've learned about plants, their needs, and container gardening, I follow a rather basic scientific path to soil building and plant growing.

There have been many arguments over the years on what constitutes the best growing medium for containers, and everyone knows some nurseryman or other who swears by a certain mixture... but nurserymen are only thinking in the short term, because they pot up plants with the sole intention of selling them. From there, it is understood that the customer will plant them in the garden, or at least change pots and soils when re-potting.

It's difficult to argue with science... and that's what I base my mixtures and container growing on.

And as for Lythrum, or purple loosestrife, I keep hoping to run into a sterile, man made variety for sale. It's just such a beautiful plant, and so worthy of including in the cottage style perennial border... surely there is some way to engineer a variety that won't spread?

    Bookmark   August 7, 2010 at 3:44PM
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bboy(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Sand is included in such mixes to provide a mineral component, plants adapted to humic soils can be and are produced using pure bark - as on the wholesale rhododendron farm I worked on many years ago that potted rooted evergreen azalea cuttings into bark mulch and nothing else. This was followed by liquid fertilization during watering.

When using modern methods medium used to produce plants by growers becomes irrelevant at planting time. As with stock grown in fine-textured field soil when the material making up the rootball differs markedly in texture from the soil on the final planting site it is desirable to remove or minimize this material at planting.

Here is a link that might be useful: Horticultural Myths

    Bookmark   August 8, 2010 at 1:56AM
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terrene(5b MA)

I've been posting or lurking here for over 5 years and never seen an Invasives forum. 2 years ago I posted to the "Suggestions" forum, suggesting that an Invasive plants forum be created. Nothing much has happened, but I wish GW would give this subject its own forum, where people could learn the facts about invasive species and be more free to have spirited debates (similar to Hot Topics).

Lythrum salicarium is a scourge here in the northeast. So pretty, but so invasive. We had record flooding in parts of New England in March (including my neighborhood where there is a ton a flood plain), and I expect that massive amounts of its seed has been dispersed to areas previously not invaded.

Another tall purple plant that is just as pretty IMO and native is Fireweed, Chamerion angustifolium. I winter-sowed it this year and it's very easy to start from seed.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2010 at 7:37AM
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jodik_gw

In a container environment, I use a liquid fertilizer that's immediately available for the plant's use... and micro-nutrients to provide anything else the plant might need. Gypsum or lime can be added in a small quantity to the medium when mixing it. Some people use CRFs, but I don't care for them in pot culture... there's no guarantee of an even release.

The difference between container gardening and gardening in the ground comes into play, here, bboy. Organic growing doesn't work very well in pots. It works just fine in the garden, though, because of the vast army of microscopic creatures, molds, fungi, nematodes, worms, etc... they all work diligently to break down organic materials into usable food for the plant, help maintain a balance of "good and bad", and help keep the soil aerated. These elements are not present in a container environment, so any balance that's there in the beginning will quickly go south as decomposition takes place.

But as I said, when you're potting plants for sale, you're not thinking in terms of length of time for being in that mix... it would be mainly temporary.

As a container gardener, though, I'm looking for a medium that will support the growth of my plants for a minimum of two years. Preferably longer, as I don't often get a chance to do more than water and feed them! I need a medium that won't break down and compact quickly... one that will maintain its aeration. The 3 ingredients I use do just that.

Rhododendrons and azaleas aren't really plants considered as long term potted specimens... unless you would be treating them more as bonsai specimens. In which case, you would grow them in a very aerated bonsai mix. You'd also be root pruning and re-potting on a fairly regular schedule. This type of plant likes a different PH, too.

There are a lot of myths surrounding pot culture and gardening... this much is true... but I have found that approaching it all from a "basic science" angle gives me the results I'm looking for.

I'm also very aware of drainage and perched water tables, keeping only one layer of medium within each pot, no drainage layer for excess moisture to hang up at.

Keep in mind, too, that I grow the majority of my potted plants indoors, and I adjust the medium for outdoor growth, adding a more moisture retentive ingredient for those plants.

And...

I'm actually surprised that GW doesn't have a separate forum for invasive plants in gardening. There certainly are enough of them to warrant one.

Does anyone know of a hardy perennial that closely resembles Lythrum? If I can't grow the real thing, I'd like to emulate it, at least... it's a great shape and color for the mixed border.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2010 at 10:54AM
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esh_ga

I see no reason to create an invasive forum - most people don't realize when they have an invasive and would not bother looking there if looking for an id on it. And the only people that I know that are interested in learning more are those native plant nuts (like me) and we already have a forum.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2010 at 1:11PM
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littledog(z7 OK)

Jodi, have you considered some of the Salvias for a Lythrum look alike?

Here is a link that might be useful: Salvia selection at Bluestone

    Bookmark   August 8, 2010 at 1:58PM
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jodik_gw

Yes, thank you. We do have some Salvia, and also Liatris... both similar. We also have a nice clump of Russian Sage and a few Veronicas. But there's nothing quite like that interesting shade of pink/purple that spires of Lythrum bring to the border. It's just been a plant I've always loved.

Maybe I'll get lucky, and someday a hybridizer will create a Lythrum that doesn't give viable seed. One can hope.

We've purchased from Bluestone before... nicely packed plant materials! A little expensive for my taste, though. I've taken to growing most of our perennial fillers from seed.

In the meantime, my days are filled with roses, roses, and more roses. I have about 100 old garden varieties to get planted, and I'm running out of space! Time to hunker down and dig new beds... oh, my aching back!

    Bookmark   August 8, 2010 at 2:42PM
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sjerin

Thank you, jodi, for your posts--sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you. I'm a little busy right now and so will save this to get back to when the kiddies are off to school. Very interesting!!

    Bookmark   August 8, 2010 at 6:56PM
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jodik_gw

My pleasure, Erin... always glad to help a fellow gardener! :-)

    Bookmark   August 8, 2010 at 7:52PM
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bboy(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

I almost never dig beds for roses or anything else. The most immediately vigorous roses I grew were in unamended planting holes with nothing but organic fertilizer mixed in. If you want to plant in different dirt, dump different dirt on top of the dirt you don't like and plant in that. Forget amendments and mixing.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2010 at 10:53PM
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jodik_gw

Ordinarily, bboy, I would agree with you... but the area we're using is clay hardpan with a thick grassy thatch on top. And the grass is more weed than grass. It's never been planted in anything before. It desperately needs amending, if for no other reason than to break up the clay and make it easier to work with. We'll cover it in mulch after planting.

I have some help, though. We found a guy who will strip the sod layer and rototill for us. He'll also help haul aged manure and compost. And... they're putting up a fence/arbor to hold all the climbers and ramblers.

It's quite the project! Two strips of land, about 75 feet and 200 feet, respectively... and maybe 8-12 feet wide.

Yesterday, I pulled weeds and replaced three shrub roses that we lost over last winter in our English style beds. I put in three Bucks... El Catala, Hi Neighbor, and I can't remember the last one.

I limit myself to one large wheelbarrow of weeds per day. If I don't, I'm a wreck!

I also pulled some of the main climbers/ramblers for the arbor that's being built... Sally Holmes, Cecile Brunner, and several with German and French names I can't pronounce. I'll alternate colors so we'll have a gorgeous rainbow of roses as they grow to cover the fence/arbor.

When we're done, it should really be something... we're trying to set up show gardens for our own root, hardy old garden rose business... so people can see what they look like in a garden setting. It's a lot of work, but really worth the effort, I think!

    Bookmark   August 9, 2010 at 9:21AM
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