Hitchhiking Weeds

It’s nearly fall planting time in the Northeast – a time when gardeners seek out container plants to fill in holes in perennial beds or plant trees, shrubs, and new beds. But a recent study, reported by the Weed Science Society of America, suggests we need to be cautious of what could be hitching a ride with any container plants we buy.  The study, done in Alaska, examined container-grown vegetables, herbs, perennials, and woody trees and shrubs purchased from 29 nurseries supplying Alaska gardeners and landscapers.  Over a two-year period, 54 weeds or invasive plants were incubated from the soils in the purchased containers.  Of the 54 weeds, only 3 were native to Alaska.

Balled or burlap trees and shrubs held more weed seeds than veggie, herb, and perennial containers, and – surprise! – so did soil-based planting mixes.  Also, vendors with "superior weed control practices" sold plants with few or no weeds.

P3300606_edited So, if you’re wondering where in the world that weed came from, it could very well have hitchhiked in with a recently purchased container plant – more proof that vigilant weeding at both the nursery and home level is good practice.

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