Bzzzz August 31st, 2007

It’s a Japanese knotweed and is one of the most invasive weeds here in the Southern Maryland area.

The experts think it was originally introduced in the 1800s as an ornamental and as erosion control. It has been declared a noxious weed in many states. (Look here to see if your state is one of them.)


Japanese Knotweed

As you can see, we have an extremely healthy crop growing next to the driveway. It’s only alive because 1) It’s providing some erosion control; 2) It’s about a quarter mile from our house and 3) It’s nearly impossible to eliminate anyway.

Sure, sure. It looks rather pretty right now with all its little white flowers. But it spreads like mad. It grows to over 10 feet tall and has to be hacked back with a machete so that we can continue to use the driveway.


Japanese Knotweed Flowers

I climbed in a couple of months ago to try and get it under control. The stalks are rather bamboo like—strong and hollow. Because it’s so tall and leans over, you have to practically climb inside the stuff to cut it down. I suppose you could make an effective fort in the stuff if you were an enterprising kid with the need for a fort.

Another noxious weed here in Southern Maryland is the pokeweed. I hate this weed too. The pokeweed grows with red stems and produces dark berries in late summer.



Although both the leaves and berries are poisonous to mammals, the berries are eaten by birds, which are unaffected by the toxins. As another example that Southerners will eat almost anything (pig feet, chitterlings, okra) pokeweed salad was a common dish in the South, made by repeatedly boiling the leaves to reduce the toxins.

I believe that the only weed that I hate more than these two is poison ivy.

Okay, that’s three “I hates” in a single garden blog entry.

Do these weeds grow near you? Or, God forbid, do you have these weeds? What are you doing about it? I could use some advice. (I don’t think dousing with gasoline and lighting them on fire is a good choice.)

By the way, thanks for your notes and emails to Sophie on her guest blog entry. She survived my travels only because we hire a nanny to keep the little dogs company during the day. (Okay, the dog nanny helps out in other ways too, but mostly she thinks she’s here for the little dogs.)

–Robin (Bumblebee)

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