February 27 thru March 3, 2017 is National Invasive Species Awareness Week. Although it’s a bit early for us here in the Upper Midwest to get into our yards to do battle with invasive noxious plant species, it is a good time to start planning our strategy.
My backyard abuts to Northland Creek which has come to be used as a storm waterway by north Appleton and the Town of Grand Chute. It brings with it a multitude of invasive species, but the most persistent has been Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata).
Another species seed that overflows into my prairie is Cutleaf Teasel (Dipsacus fullonum). Both require my constant attention. If I can get into my far backyard early enough in the spring (it’s always soggy in early spring because of the overflow from the creek), I can pull the garlic mustard but I must be on the lookout for it during the entire year. They, like the Cutleaf Teasel, are prolific seeders and new plants sprout up where you missed a plant earlier. I’ve found later in the year, the only thing that successfully combats Garlic Mustard is Triamine Jet-Spray. It’s extremely effective and has a good spray control mechanism.
Cutleaf Teasel on the other hand is a really tough customer. I used to try to dig it out, but it has a humongous tap route and it’s nearly impossible to get every piece of the root out of the soil. And, if you don’t get it all out, you’re digging it up again and again. I’ve found the best treatment is Roundup Poison Ivy. Cut the plant off so there is only stem showing (no leaves). Then carefully spray the cut end and the outside of the steam with your herbicide. Plan to repeat this process every couple of weeks, so leave enough stem to allow you to cut the end off before you reapply the herbicide. Discard the original steam you’ve cut off into the garbage that goes to the landfill or burn it. Do not leave the stem lay because it will continue to grow and all those little rosettes along the stem will continue to produce seed. It’s Mother Nature’s perfect weed!
This week is a good reminder for us to plan to get a headstart against those invasive (ob)noxious weeds. And don’t forget to include in your plan, the native plants or seed you are going to put in their place.
Best reference book for combating invasive plants: Invasive Plants of the Upper Midwest by Betty Czarapata