Monday, December 30, 2013

Lamium Eradication

Our backyard is definitely going to be a work in progress.  It slopes gently to the west and is surrounded by a large douglas fir to the north by the house, several hemlocks to the west, and a douglas fir and some sort of deciduous tree with red leaves in the neighbor's yard to the east. The south side currently has a hurricane wire fence that is mostly falling over.

Southeast corner of yard in September. Taken from deck.

After some monitoring and discussion with the MG, we decided the best place to put my garden is along the south fence line.  This area will get the most sun. Not a lot of sun, mind you, but hopefully enough for lettuce, peas, kale, etc. Tomatoes and peppers might not be in the cards for the next few years until a tree or five are taken out.

South west corner of yard.
 Unfortunately, this area is covered in the invasive Lamium. Lamium is in the mint family and spreads basically every way possible - ants carry seeds across the yard, runners, stems that touch the ground can root, etc. I'm not sure where it was first planted, but it is currently throughout my potential garden space and in the back of the neighbor's yard.

I spent about an hour yesterday working on this patch.  I started in the south east corner and was doing a really good job of pulling up everything I found by the roots. After a significant amount of time, I realized I hadn't made it past a small corner, maybe 1/6 of the bed, and gave up on being thorough.  From there out I mostly pulled foliage and stems, only digging up the occasional root ball when it was easy. And it still took me over an hour.

Lamium patch after an hour of weeding
I gave up when the Seahawks game started. Luckily, we had lots of cardboard on hand after the holidays, so I broke down a couple of boxes to set over the weeded areas in an attempt to block the sunlight and kill the remaining plants. I'm not too hopeful it will work.  My online research shows that the best methods of control are chickens (who will eat the foliage, but won't get down to the roots so it will keep growing back), manual weeding, and roundup.

One potential stroke of luck - there appears to be landscape fabric under at least part of this lamium patch.  There are several inches of soil over it, but with some effort we might be able to pull up the fabric and dislodge the ALL of the lamium by the root. It will take big muscles, but it might be possible.

If all else fails I will probably buy a bottle of roundup and attack the area when it's dry out.

Here is the stuff in another patch under the doug fir growing through our deck.

I've heard that flowering starts really early in our area, so pulling the foliage now before it blooms and spread seed is a must!

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