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Assault on the Knotweed: Phase II

Phase I was my terribly misguided idea to dig it out of the front and toss the remains on the leaf pile.  Last Friday dawned hot, humid, and with all sorts of dire warnings about the heat index.  So of course I dragged my poor husband out into it with gardening tools and the wheelbarrow. 

See that viney stuff?  That's the bad news.

We got lucky.  As Mel had supposed and I had hoped, it wasn’t dug in yet at all.  It had sprouted enthusiastically, but wasn’t really rooted.  We dug out that spot and took a little extra in all directions – including down.  We dumped it all into a tarp and wrapped it up and left it in the sun to bake.  I can figure out what to do with it in my own time now. 

I’m also going to watch the pile carefully to see if I got it all.  I think/hope that I did.  It took about an hour, all told, because we weren’t moving very quickly.

The stuff down by the street is continuing to ail – most of the leaves have died, and I can actually see my hostas again.  I figure I’m going to go down and cut off the dead/dying foliage, and wait to see if it re-sprouts.  We’ll see what happens.  It’s interesting – now that I know what I’m looking for, I see this stuff growing *everywhere* along the roads in huge stands.  Now I need to figure out a new method of disposing of stuff that I dig out: once burned, twice shy.  But hell – if I can’t put dug weeds on the compost pile, what the heck do I do with them? 

After we were done, since I was already liberally coated in bug spray, I decided to finally climb through the trees to the top of the ridge behind our property.  Let’s just say that the slope is much steeper than it looks from the bottom.  I’m also stronger than I was before we started doing all the heavy outdoor work this spring, but I’m still *grossly* out of shape – I was truly winded at the top of the hill.  Maybe that’s what I ought to do – climb that hill every day until I can do it without losing my breath.  The amount of bug spray required makes that unattractive, though.  We discovered two things up there.  The first one is that our neighbors on that side are *really* close.  Horizontally, at least.  The other is that we were looking down on our chimney.  That’s a little weird.  If there were fewer trees in the way we could have done a roof inspection with a pair of binoculars.  That's my house waaay down there through the trees.

After that, I went in and lay on the tile floor in the kitchen for a while to cool off – it was really too brutal to be working out there.  How on earth do people down south manage?  I’m such a wuss about heat that I’m pretty sure that I would just crawl into a corner and die down there.  It does make me very glad that we got as much done in the garage as we did last week because despite this Wednesday being the last bulk pickup until October, I didn’t feel the need to drive us out there to get more done.  We just need to load up the last batch of scrap wood in the barrel and send it down to the curb.  The rest involves sorting car parts into bins and that trip to the Salvation Army that I have been threatening for the last few weeks. 

The rest of the day was spent alternating between napping and the seven loads of laundry that I had allowed to accumulate.  Oops. 

Sunday was another mostly nondescript day.  We headed out to run a couple of very mundane errands in West Hartford – new bathroom rugs, and side rails for the twin bed in Charlotte’s room so that we can start working on moving her out of the crib.  After we were done with that she was still pretty happy, so we headed across the street to the mall to walk around.  It’s been so long since we’ve gotten out of the house just to be out that I wanted to spend a little time before we went back.  It went fairly well – she alternated between riding in the stroller and walking.  She wasn’t hugely keen on the idea that if she was walking she had to hold someone’s hand, but I’d forgotten the harness so it wasn’t negotiable.  She sat at the table in Subway and scarfed down parts of both of our lunches and was basically delightful.  Just about the time she was done, so were we anyhow – I realized that she was so tired she was staggering.  That was a lot of walking for a pair of very short legs.  She was asleep in the car within five minutes, and while she napped at home we put the bed rails together.  I figured that we would take the low ottoman from the living room and put it next to the bed to help her get into the bed by herself. 

That was a mistake. 

I had forgotten that Her Majesty Nishka, elder cat and queen of all she surveys, has adopted that ottoman as her favorite napping spot, it being soft and low to the ground.  She walked over, looked at the spot where it had been, gave Bob a look that conveyed how very, very disappointed she was with the management, and then gave us the full guilt trip of “I’ll just have to sleep over here.  On the FLOOR.  Never mind that I’m old and arthritic.”  I went and fetched the ottoman back from Charlotte’s room and put it back in place, and after about another ten minutes of guilt she settled back in on it and all was well with the world.  I’ll find Charlotte a different stool – we’ve got plenty.  Sad, how I cater to the cats.  Not surprising, but sad.  But after all, they WERE there first.

The first betta has died, and I've tested the water and moved on to the second.  You kind of have to expect this when you're buying cheap bettas from Petco.  But Charlotte is *enthralled,* and anything that makes it easier to comb her hair in the morning is worth it.  If this betta makes it a week, I'll post a picture and buy it a plant.



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 30th, 2010 10:34 pm (UTC)
Oh, crap. That's the stuff I've been fighting for years in my azaleas.

Aug. 1st, 2010 12:07 am (UTC)
Okay - here's what my reading is telling me. Round about the time it flowers, cut the stalks and paint the cut stumps with undiluted Roundup concentrate. Wait and watch. And by "watch" I mean watch a twenty foot circumference - when you stress the rhizome, it will activate dormant buds elsewhere on the root which will sprout. I've noticed sprouts suddenly appearing ten feet away since I sprayed the stuff down at the street with Roundup. I'm going to cut and paint them. The nice thing about that is that because you're painting the stump not spraying, you won't catch your azaleas accidentally.

And as Mel pointed out above - wear gloves!

Apparently the best time to do maximum damage is either when it's flowering, or in the fall as it's going dormant - that's when the plant is pulling nutrients down into the rhizome, so you've got the best chance to actually kill the mother ship. My reading indicates that we may need to do this for a few years.
Aug. 1st, 2010 02:40 am (UTC)
Huh. Never seen the stuff flower, but those are definitely the leaves. I swear, it grows like kudzu too.

Well, I know what I'm doing this fall.
Aug. 1st, 2010 04:11 am (UTC)
Mine has flowered, but it wasn't very showy. Kind of plumes - mine was pink, but white is apparently more common. It *does* grow like kudzu. For what it's worth, I hit the stuff down by the street with OTC Roundup twice before I knew what it was, and it doesn't look healthy. At all. So I'm actually feeling pretty hopeful. Now I just need to burn the stuff I dug out of the back...
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )