PHYLLIS ODESSEY

To Weed or Not To Weed: Carolyn Summers Weighs In

Restoring The Web of Life
Carolyn Summers
New York Horticultural Society
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Tuesday night I was exhausted and I thought about skipping Carolyn Summers talk about native plants.  I doubted one more blah blah would make a difference.  I was wrong.
Summers made the case for native plants.  I am not going to repeat all the reasons for planting regional species and how plants and insects are interconnected.  Nor am I going to make the case for how native plants can be used in an ornamental way.
I wanted to know about weeding, specifically about weeding out invasive species.  For the last couple of years, I have worked on two wetland areas: saltwater and freshwater.  Planted with over 100,000 grasses, natives, and trees, these two wetlands are filled with more invasives than plants.  The theory:   natives crowd out the invasives over time.  In fact, Summers said that once natives take hold the root systems are so strong and tight; that is hard to even add an additional plant.
In the beginning we tried to apply this theory, but it became apparent that the invasives were winning out.  Summers solution:  DO NOT WEED.  Keep cutting down the weeds.  By depriving a plant of its ability to photosynthesize, the plant eventually will die.  
I am going to hang up my hori hori. Take out my pruners and watch what happens.
   

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