My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Fighting the Good War on Veteran's Day

Today, as usual, I spent some time in my ongoing battle against Nutgrass, AKA Nut Grass -  Purple Nutsedge – Cyperus rutundus.  This is an international invasive that causes massive problems around the world and great economic damage to farmers. The country of origin is not known but it came from some warm place and loves lots of hot sun  and some water, both of which it easily finds here.

Some of the more mature nutgrass

My weapon of choice, the trusty Chopper Doper

The nuts of nutgrass
The nutgrass army was waiting  in their trenches, both over and under the landscape cloth in the butterfly garden. I came armed with my cultivator/hoe, fondly called Chopper Dopper, a 5-gallon bucket, and gardening stool.  Soon the battle commenced with me loosening and then feeling for the connecting fibers between the nuts of nutgrass.  These guys are impervious to beheading, It's the hidden nuts that are their life force. Soon I was getting out whole squads of them at once, then going back to find the nuts still gripping the landscape cloth. Platoons of them filled my 5 gallon bucket at the rate of one per hour.

Two nuts clinging tenaciously to the landscape cloth under the mulch. One is at the bottom middle of the picture and the other is to the left near the top of the picture.

 Finally I had almost routed the entire unit from the 5 or 6 square feet that was this day's battle ground. Soon, that is in another 3-5 days, I'll have an entire section of the garden cleared out.  Then I'll have to be diligent on fiinding the survivors before they can regrow more troups. I'll also be assisted by my ally,  Frogfruit, Phyla nodiflora, a wonderful  little plant that also grows very aggressively here. I plan to take pieces of plants, with a little root attached,  and just move them over to the area that I will have twice weeded visible nut grass. The frogfruit  will soon spread and help prevent nutgrass from becoming a monoculture again.  And it will provide food for butterflies and bees while making it's cute little white flowers.

A small cleared area.  This takes a couple of hours. 

And more battles waiting for soldiers:

The Cattails are taking over around the VIS pond.  They are on my battle list as well.

Ragweed is another invasive. Rain will help be be able to pull the plants up but the millions of seeds will sprout again next year.