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May 23rd, 2011

Invasive Plants

I spent about 4 hours of my weekend pulling some invasive plants out of my yard.  I don’t know the exact names for them, but I had two different kinds of vines with many thorns.  I still haven’t gotten all of that out.  I also had lots of privet, and I THINK I’ve gotten all that out, with a little muscle help from my hubby.  For the privet, we had to dig them out completely – roots and all. 

It is very important that you remove any invasive plants in your yard because they can get out of control.  If they get out of your yard, they can cause severe damage to the local ecosystem – just look at what kudzu has done to many of our native trees and shrubs. 

A very helpful resource on invasive species is Clemson Extension’s Invasive Plant Pest Species of South Carolina guide.   

This publication lists the Top Ten Invasive Plants that are causing destruction in South Carolina.  Many of them are ones that you’ve heard about, but some are actually being sold at plant nurseries – like nandina.  Be sure to check out this list before you purchase any new plants. 

Once you get the invasives, or even just weeds, out of your flower beds, you’ll need to take some measure to make sure they don’t come back.  Or, at least to slow down their progress.  One method that has worked well for me to control weeds is to put newspaper down on top of the soil (around the base of any of your good plants).  I usually put them in layers of about 5 or 6 sheets.  Then, wet the newspaper, so it molds to the surface of the ground, and cover it with mulch, or pinestraw.  I usually put a LOT of pinestraw on top of it, to be sure that the newspaper can’t be seen.  Then, water down the pinestraw to pack it on there good. 

The newspaper will break down and compost eventually, and in the meantime, it helps to keep the weeds from growing back as quickly because they have no access to sunlight.

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