Saturday, June 12, 2010

Prickly lettuce, mustard, stork's bill, salsify, and sow thistle dying in the prairie, 6/10/10

This is the dark side of making Palouse prairie.

At first glance, an expanse of green, but look closer and you'll see that the plants are curling up. Underneath them, Festuca idahoensis and Agripyron spicatum (the two main native grass species I have planted) are coming up very well, but the wet and warm Spring has unleashed a serious onslaught of weeds in the areas that I cleared and planted with grass. This image was shot from the same spot as the other shots of the new prairie, except that I pointed the camera south instead of west-northwest. This is the worst spot on the property for weeds, but it demonstrates why I have to make use of the dreaded 2-4-D, which kills broadleaf weeds but leaves the grass unscathed. After the grass is established, the weeds can't get in as easily. Elsewhere, I have only had to spray individual weed plants. But the fact is that anyone who thinks they could pull this stuff out by hand is nuts.

So all day long last Tuesday, all day long today, and probably several hours tomorrow (I have to wait for a day without rain and wind, rare this Spring), I have had to walk backwards with four gallons of evil on my back. Since these areas are the last on the property to be planted, I shouldn't have to confront such a nasty situation in the future. I look forward to the end of spraying herbicide, that's for sure.

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