Return to the Meadows & Prairies Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Willow-herb weed is whack!!

Posted by Vera_EWASH z5 EasternWA (My Page) on
Sun, Feb 20, 05 at 13:45

Good morning folks! I need some suggestions....
I probably could spend the entire day getting on my hand and knees to pop these crazy weeds out but there is a gazillion of them! So I'm looking for suggestions.

I have one of the Epilobium sp. of Willow-herb weeds...they act like winter-annuals. At this time they are small red-tinted, fleshy leaved rosettes. They can grow between 10-14", single square-stemmed and have 4-petaled tiny pink flowers..the seed is born from a long slender capsule that splits and the seed has silky hairs. Last year I went through my 12X60 area once a week and cut them back with a vengence, but all that seemed to do was make them come back twice as fast and stronger...before you know it they had set seed and those rosettes were showing up in late fall again. Is my only choice popping each one out?

Thanks
Vera


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Willow-herb weed is whack!!

  • Posted by dbarron Z6/7 (Oklahoma) (My Page) on
    Sun, Feb 20, 05 at 16:08

Well, Vera, I'm astonished....you want to remove NATIVES ? :)
In fireweed (another Epilobium), they propagate by root cuttings. I don't think removing them by hand is likely to do much but make more babies (tiny ones)...if they also have that trait.


 o
RE: Willow-herb weed is whack!!

I think there are some introduced willow herbs, like Epilobium hirsutum, that are annual and somewhat weedy. They are particularly prolific on disturbed ground. Like other annual weeds, it helps to put down some kind of barrier or encourage more deeply-rooted plants that can outcompete the annuals for resources.


 o
RE: Willow-herb weed is whack!!

If I had Fireweed (E. angustifolium) I'd keep it in a large planting...in my small area it would colonize the whole thing!... the winter annual sp. of Epilobium I am dealing with is extremely out of control for my small area...not my rhizome but by seed...they dang near grow on top of one another. Native or not all natives aren't necessarily well behaved! The flowers on this one are also very inconspicious and don't offer any beauty to my small 'beside-the-road' planting.

But if you like them I'd be more than happy to gather their seed for you and ship them off :)

Vera


 o
Willowherb

Thanks Lycopus,
I did a little research today and found that NOT all our Epilobiums are native. Mine is definatly bothersome to say the least. This will be my plantings 2nd year so hopefully it will begin to fill in some space. I see lots of Blanket Flower, Coreopsis, and other seedlings that didn't die back over the winter :)

Vera


 o
RE: Willow-herb weed is whack!!

Round-Up is your friend.............april


 o
RE: Willow-herb weed is whack!!

  • Posted by dbarron Z6/7 (Oklahoma) (My Page) on
    Wed, Feb 23, 05 at 7:26

I figure April is right....hopefully after this year, your plantings will be mature enough that hand pulling will be the only help you need to provide.


 o
RE: Willow-herb weed is whack!!

Exactly how do you round up without killing everything else? Alot of the blanket flower, Coreopsis, Black-eyed Susan and others never died back.

Think Spring...tis around the corner :)

Vera


 o
RE: Willow-herb weed is whack!!

  • Posted by dbarron Z6/7 (Oklahoma) (My Page) on
    Fri, Feb 25, 05 at 3:16

Well, if its that thick you may have to just suffer through it and hope the prairie plants (esp grasses) will shade it out in a year or two.


 o
RE: Willow-herb weed is whack!!

not so sure why u are worried about annuals in ur prairie. unless they are out-of-control thick, ur prairie will beat them hands down in a few years.

another little factor to think about. u have prairie and non-prairie side by side now. eventually ur prairie should win given proper management techniques. but in the mean time, (mean time being maybe 10 years til ur prairie really starts to mature) u have ur non-natives doing their thing.

and here is the beauty of annuals. they are weak in persistance and strong in soil disturbance, ur prairie is strong in persistance and weak in soil disturbance. remember, u just had a very LARGE disturbance, ie u chem'ed, rototilled, thru on newspaper, whatever one did to kill present veg is a major disturbance. the land is just trying to fix itself the best way it knows how. and that best way is to fill it with any veg that it can find and annuals are top on the list, winter annuals being first on that list.

so here u are with ur nice little prairie full of very young natives and all the weeds in the world to select from, because of the recent disturbance and seed bank, wind, etc. what are u gonna choose, weak little annuals that are 14" tall, winter cover annuals at that. OR are u gonna pick some even worse stuff like canary reed or burdock or ...

now lets put the picture together. u disturbed the area and killed most of what was there perennial wise. u put on seeds that take a few years. ur soil is fully exposed and SOMETHING must grow there, OR the wind, seedbank, animals, etc will bring in the nasty long lived perennials that u should really be afraid of. so in essence, ur weakling annuals are acting as a cover crop, to protect ur planting. in the long run, they easily help more than hurt.

one last comment. lets pretend that u wanna pull every last annual or perennial weed. seems to me that ur ALSO doing 2 things.

1 ur not replacing that area with good seeds. and because of seed bank and wind and animals, only something u dont want is prolly gonna show up. u could change this with adding seeds everytime u pull. jeeze, that seems like not only a folly waste of $$$ but if u did it the first time correctly, adding extra seeds might actually add too much of a good thing.

2 ur moving the soil line. ur acting as a constant disturbance to ur baby prairie. these little plants are trying to grow roots and here u are; rooting around, steppin on em, packing down disturbed soil, giving a place for an animal to break soil line, etc...

i say; kill it, set it, forget it and manage it like a prairie. if u do all those thing correctly, u will prolly be much better off than trying to micromanage mother nature.

froggy


 o
RE: Willow-herb weed is whack!!

Ok Froggy....so your saying all the hype about weed manangment during the first 3 years is wrong? I never uprooting anything...I was chopping back to the soil line last year....
My area is 12x60...not big..before I prepared the area it had been covered with black plastic for at least 10 years by previous owners. I prepared the area and let weed seed come up and removed 3 times before sowing the seed in November.
Well I'll try it your way and see what happens....you always give good advise :)

Thanks
Vera


 o
RE: Willow-herb weed is whack!!

no. im not saying all the hype is just hype.

im saying that u need to pick ur battles wisely. sometimes the treatment is far worse than the disease. but with that said, sometimes u also need to bring out the scalpel.

a little saying i have 'nature abhors a vacuum'. this is the ideal of the nurse crop. and to me, weak annuals are natures nurse crop.

froggy


 o
RE: Willow-herb weed is whack!!

I'll see how your method works for me...it's just hard imagining that from what I've seen of it. It does have pretty foliage tho :)
This year I'll just relax and enjoy ID'ing this and that comming up...perennial weeds I don't have.

Thanks for the help!

Vera


 o
RE: Willow-herb weed is whack!!

Just a follow up....
This Epilobium species I have IS perennial tho it is not Fireweed. I left a row growing in the very back near the outside wall of my house to let it grow so I could better see the habit of it...they grew to about 4 1/2 feet tall. As I was pulling them out yesterday many of the plants were all connected via underground roots.

Vera


 o
RE: Willow-herb weed is whack!!

I know this thread is pretty old, but I'm hoping Vera is still reading. Our newly-acquired property is also covered with this willowherb. From what I've been able to find, this species is Epilobium ciliatum. It is a relative of fireweed, but it is not a native. It is a terrible pest and very hard to get rid of. I've read that even Roundup is not effective. The silver lining to that is that I'm hoping to never have to resort to using that stuff.

I've been hand-pulling the small plants as best I can, but there are thousands of them and I don't think I stand a chance. Did you (or anyone else) have any luck getting it under control?

We're also battling tons of butterfly bush, herb robert, and bishops weed, all of which seem to be suckering and popping up all over the place. The former owners of our property either didn't know what was here, or didn't care. Now we are stuck battling it all. (plus the obligatory blackberries and english ivy.) Someday we hope to be just maintaining our garden. Wishful thinking?


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Meadows & Prairies Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here