Weeds in the cracks?

Here’s an option for dealing with weeds in the cracks of paver walkways and patios that does not require hours of bending and pulling, or resorting to potentially harmful weed killers.

Tea kettle weed killer

Tea kettle weed killer

Try boiling water.

Now, keep in mind that this advice is for areas NOT in drought conditions.

Every spring the cracks between our now 16-year-old paver walkway and bluestone patio fill with weeds. As an organic land care professional the last thing I choose to reach for is a toxic weed-killer. Instead, I reach for the tea kettle.

Boiling water means death to newly emerging weeds.

With a long walkway and a good-sized patio, my boiling water attack takes some time, but not as much as it would if I tried to pull the weeds by hand.

To break up the chore, I do a section each morning until all emerging weeds have been boiled.

Standard caution is called for, such as carefully carrying the hot kettle of boiling water to the treatment area and using extra care to not burn your feet while pouring the water … but you were going to be careful anyway … right?

Here’s a section of untreated weeds.

walkway weeds, untreated

walkway weeds, untreated

Here’s a section a few days after the boiling water treatment.

weeds treated with boiling water

weeds treated with boiling water

Weeds treated with boiling water will be mostly brown the day after treatment. If, after a couple of days, some parts remain green, they are easily retreated. After a few days the brown foliage will dry and can be swept away.

Newly emerging weeds can be similarly treated throughout the growing season. Dandelions and any wayward violets you want to eradicate will require repeated boiling water treatments to keep them in check. However, boiling water treatments may not kill such deeply rooted plants. Still, it’s better than pouring toxic chemicals into your environment.

Let me know if you try this method, and if it works for you.

 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2015 Joene Hendry

Managing Japanese Barberry

Managing Japanese barberry is a royal pain, but it may be one of the best health protective landscape management tasks one can undertake.

Those who have followed this blog over the years likely remember many of the posts on how Japanese barberry is taking over many areas of Connecticut’s woodlands and how Japanese barberry creates a perfect environment for ticks and mice.

It’s hard to find a Connecticut resident who has not had a bout of Lyme disease or another tick-related disease. Now, there’s another disease – Powassan virus – linked to black-legged ticks. While no human cases of Powassan virus have yet been identified in Connectucut, if it is transmitted by black-legged ticks it’s only a matter of time.

The increasing disease risk from black-legged ticks makes controlling Japanese barberry even more important. I outlined various control methods in previous posts – linked above.

Japanese-barberry-4.jpg

Serious stands of Japanese barberry, like the one above, may require heavy equipment, like a brush hog, followed by repeated control methods of regrowth. But regular control is the only way to eradicate Japanese barberry from a property.

A property walk now, when Japanese barberry is one of the only leafed-out under story shrubs, identifies how much and where this invasive shrub is growing. If you are fortunate, as in my case, to have little Japanese barberry invasion on your acreage you can use my control method – pulling out young, and still small, shoots and leaving them on a nearby rock or fallen tree to dehydrate and die.

small Japanese barberry

small Japanese barberry

This is the method I used with yesterday’s finds in the woods.

Japanese barberry roots and stem

Japanese barberry roots and stem

But, this area needs to be revisited one or two times throughout the growing season, and definitely in early autumn, to watch for and control re-sprouts from any left-over roots in the ground. Japanese barberry is known to re-sprout with vengeance. Subsequent Japanese barberry walks help identify any shrubs/sprouts previously missed.

If Japanese barberry is growing anywhere on your property – but particularly anywhere near your house – do yourself, your family, and Connecticut’s woodlands a huge service … remove it and control its return.

Links:

More on tick-borne diseases at A Way to Garden

The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station Japanese Barberry Control Methods

 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2015 Joene Hendry

Morning in the garden – April 18, 2015

Spring has, at last, taken hold and greenery and flowers are awakening all over the garden, enough to start the morning in the garden series to document the growing season in my zone 6a, south-central Connecticut gardens.

The well-established crocus planted in the south-facing front beds are done blooming while those in the cooler rear beds still greet the morning sun.

Crocus tommasinianus 'Ruby Giant'

Crocus tommasinianus ‘Ruby Giant’

Nearby, are fleeting blossoms of Iris reticulata.

Iris reticulata 'Cantab'

Iris reticulata ‘Cantab’

The crocus and early iris blooms show my love of blue and purple, as do the potted violas on the front porch.

potted violas

potted violas

daylily foliage

daylily foliage

blueberry buds

blueberry buds

Elsewhere in the rear beds daylily foliage adds more green each day and blueberry buds swell.

 

 

 

 

The sand crane statue, that just a few weeks ago was almost completely buried in snow, stands tall and seems relieved to be perched among growing plants.

sand crane statue

sand crane statue

Stachys byzantina or common Lamb's Ear

Stachys byzantina or common Lamb’s Ear

Allium rosenbachianum

Allium rosenbachianum

In the front beds the Lamb’s Ear borders are shaking off their sad winter face and soon will be nothing but fuzzy gray foliage, while allium foliage shows where 3′ tall globes of violet will stand come June.

 

Thankfully, local deer leave both Lamb’s Ear and allium alone.

 

The two dwarf white pines planted last autumn came through the winter well in spite of being totally buried from January through early April.

Pinus strobus 'Nana (Improved)'

Pinus strobus ‘Nana (Improved)’

Magnolia stellata 'Centennial'

Magnolia stellata ‘Centennial’

Sanguinaria canadensis, commonly known as bloodroot

Sanguinaria canadensis, commonly known as bloodroot

The weather forecast promising two warm, sunny days should entice the first magnolia and bloodroot blossoms to open …

 

and the sun will soon dry the dew droplets captured by emerging Lady’s Mantle foliage.

Alchemilla mollis, commonly known as Lady's Mantle

Alchemilla mollis, commonly known as Lady’s Mantle