Weeding at Schooners

 

What is a weed?

There are many different answers...  Most people say a weed is a bothersome plant that grows exuberantly and uninvited. Of course this depends on your perspective! For example, Dandelions make excellent bee forage, pretty flowers, zesty salads, and dandilion wine. The dried powdered roots can be used as a coffee substitute! We leave dandelions in the parking areas now.

 

Here weeds are the invasive thug plants that smother the diversity of the ecosystem we are working to restore and protect  

How to Weed

If you did it right, it should look like nothing happened, like you weren't even there!  Empty bare spots are an invitation for new weeds to move in. Be careful not to disturb neighboring plants.  Nurture and expand the strongest areas.  Gently remove competing weeds around a healthy good plant and its neighbors. These will fluff up and expand to fill the space you made, and encourage the rest of the healthy native plant community. Notice how certain groups of plants are often found together. They may share a patch of sun, or shade, or plug into the same mycelial network. This spot will now take care of itself!

After pulling them up, most weeds can be left where they lie, tucked out of the way to become mulch or put in our compost piles. Some plants will regrow so aggressively, we call them Hazmat*, and collect them in the green bins for offsite composting 

Our Top Few Invasive Plants

Pampas Grass - Notice it taking over cliffs and roadsides all along HWY 1. It grows into huge patches that smother everything around it. Its only natural enemy is shade. Seeds are carried up to 1/4 mile by the wind. It is very flammable, and resprouts quickly after fire. Any roots or stem base that touch the ground will regrow quickly.   

Control- Remove seed stalks before they open. After they open they need to be bagged and put in green waste bins Dig up clumps. Cut to the ground and smother if you can't it dig up. 

Fluffy seed heads are Hazmat* 

Wild Radish and Wild Mustard- European weeds, closely related to radishes, broccoli, and cabbage. Edible leaves and flowers. Bees love it. Grows fast up to 4-5 feet high in the spring, then dies and leaves the riverbank exposed to erosion. Seeds can still sprout after 50 years underground.

Control- pull young plants before seeds.

Seeds are Hazmat*

Thistles - Prickly, with fluffy seeds that are easily spread by wind. Can make huge clumps. Many different kinds. Important to control them before the seeds set. 

Control- pull young plants before seeds.

Seeds heads are Hazmat*

English Ivy- An escaped houseplant, that can grow up and smoother a large tree. Old plants will flower and make seeds that are carried into the forest by birds. Keeping it out of trees is a top priority! The plant will grow new roots if stems touch wet ground. We hang it in trees, or pile it where it can be watched until it dries out.

Control- pull plants. Cut at base of trees. Monitor and  control  new sprouts for 2 years

Cape Ivy - Another escaped houseplant, that can carpet large damp areas, and smother everything under it. Acres at a time along rivers...  It is toxic to livestock. A small section of stem left behind will resprout. Needs continuous attention to keep an area clear.

Control- pull plants, taking care to get roots.  Monitor and  pull new sprouts as they appear. 

Roots and stems are Hazmat*

Periwinkle/vinca - Beautiful escaped houseplant with purple flowers and a tendency to spread wildly in forests. Resprouts from any remaining root fragments.

Control- pull plants, taking care to get roots.  Monitor and  pull new sprouts as they appear. 

Roots and stems are Hazmat*

Eucalyptus- Fast growing, dangerous, highly flammable trees that drop litter that smothers everything around them. Prone to falling, and dropping big branches without warning. They were brought form Australia to use (unsuccessfully) for masts, railroad ties, and firewood. In our moist mild climate, they reseed and spread. They can resprout from roots , stumps and seeds for years after removal. The flowers make nectar that is good for bees, but it is sticky enough to plug the nostrils and suffocate birds foraging for insects.

Control- pull young plants. Cut trees. Monitor and  break off new sprouts as they appear 

* Hazmat- any plant material that grows so aggressively that we can not compost it onsite. It goes in green waste bins, to the County Composting Facilities, where they reach the high temperatures needed to kill them

Listen and Observe!

Stay alert and aware. Ask yourself questions. Notice everything, it all works together. When in doubt, don’t interfere. Plants will let you know when they are happy 

 

Read about Plant Ecology at Schooners 

 

Reading Material

Coming Soon

Schooners Landing Selkie Cove

PO Box 218

Albion, CA 

(707) 937-5707

    © 2023 by SCHOONERS LANDING