If you are not familiar with this invasive plant I suggest you get acquainted. Japanese Knotweed, Fallopia japonica, also known as Polygonum cuspidatum, is not an unattractive plant, don’t you think? But do not be fooled, this plant is one of the biggest threats to our native habitat, crowding out everything in its path and extremely difficult to eradicate. It is known to break through brick walls, concrete foundations and highways. The plant itself, on the surface, is only five or six feet tall but its root system can be ten feet deep under ground and ten times as long.
I just read an article about how in the UK banks will not approve mortgages if there is reason to suspect there is Japanese Knotweed in the property! Could this be our future? That, my friends, is another very good reason to get after this plant if you see it any where near your property!
“Certain plants, like certain friends, you enjoy having for a visit but do not care to see remain forever and a day.”
― Henry Sherman Adams
Weeding in the spring seems to be never ending. If you are lucky to have a landscaper that comes to edge and mulch, you are free to battle the war on weeds. This year has been a bonanza for those opportunistic invasive plants that benefited from a very mild winter. Do I say this every year? Here is my rant about Garlic Mustard just last year. although, I noticed that I wrote that in May, and that was an eye opener to me, as I have been weeding since March this year.
Bittercress, Cardamine pratensis
The worst offender this so far, and also a close relative of Garlic Mustard, and from the same family, Brassicaceae, is Bittercress or Cardamine pretenses, also known as Cuckooflower, for the crazy way in which it bursts and tosses its seeds in all directions, just like Garlic Mustard. And, it is everywhere: In lawns, garden beds, paths and in between garden pavers. It is a ferny floret with a ten to twelve inch shoots topped with small white flowers (Granted, early pollinators benefit from this early bloomer). But as with all invasive weeds, the ideal is to pull then before they set seed. Fortunately this plant comes out very easily. Mulch or plant your beds densely so there is not too much available real state for the unwanted weeds to establish. Not my favorite pastime, I make it more bearable by listening to music or a good book while I work. So I soldier on and dream of a day when I am finally done and I can flop on a chair and admire my work.
“A good garden may have some weeds.”