24 March 2011

Aw, Nuts

I haven't really ever had a yard before, so gardening is all new to me. Our increasingly bare lot has three plants that we're keeping from the old house (two pomegranates and one hibiscus), and it's really only by chance that I haven't killed them yet.

But over the last couple of weeks, I've spent a lot of time dealing with weeds, and I'm pretty good with them. (Not only am I a total pro at keeping them alive, but I am also pretty good at taking them out). Did you know that this bright, cheery little fellow is actually a totally undesirable weed?

It's called nut grass, and it's bad news. The name refers to the nut-like seeds they have, many of which are as big as almonds (and some are even close to walnut-sized). Unlike nuts, though, these seeds spawn other seeds:

In fact, it's likely that all of these sprouts are actually connected, with more runners spreading out underground in every direction, just waiting to take over the world (or your yard):

They form entire military-industrial complexes underground:

If you don't get all of the nuts out, they'll just keep growing and re-sprouting those happy, insidious sprouts.

So how to deal with it? A landscaper we met with last summer, who first identified our nut grass, told me to wait until after a big rain, when the ground would be soft, and then pull them out...but I'm impatient and have instead used the method of digging way under and around the sprouts and following the runners to be sure to find all of the seeds. And boy is it satisfying to find the end of the chain and pull out the whole mess. (Just don't compost these weeds -- I'm pretty sure it's impossible to kill the seeds.)

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