Gardening With Tony
Weed Seeds Need To Go
By Tony Tomeo
Jun 29, 2013 - 12:07:00 AM

Bright orange montbretia is quite prolific.
UNITED STATESIt may seem futile to pull certain weeds this late in the season. Those in unrefined parts of the garden that get little or no irrigation might be so dry that they only deteriorate and scatter their abundant seeds when pulled. The soil may be so dry that roots are difficult to extract, especially since the drying foliage now separates from the roots so easily. The only hope is that removal of dying weeds might eliminate at least some of the seeds for the next generation of weeds.

Foxtail and burrclover are not only annoying, but are also dangerous to dogs and cats as their seeds mature and dry After all, the seeds rely on animals for dispersion, so intentionally stick to fur. The problem is that seeds can get stuck in more than fur, and sometimes get into ears, eyes, nostrils and elsewhere. Seeds from a few other weeds can do the same.

Cheeseweed is not a dangerous weed, and is relatively easy to eradicate. Heck, the roots even stay attached to the stems when they get pulled. The problem with leaving them to mature is that they become infested with rust (a fungal disease) that spreads to several other desirable plants. Saint John's wort, snapdragons and roses are particularly susceptible to rust infestation.

Feral Jupiter's beard and montbretia that grow where they were not intentionally planted are often allowed to bloom before getting pulled. However, after bloom, stems separate so easily from roots that most of the roots remain to regenerate as soon as they are able. If left long enough after bloom, both Jupiter's beard and montbretia sow seeds to infest even more.

Fortnight lily (or African iris) are not often a weed, but can get that way if their seed capsules are not removed as they mature and pop open to disperse their seeds. Besides, development of these capsules diverts resources from flower production, so inhibits bloom. It is best to remove the capsules before they get heavy enough to get floppy, and to remove as much of the finished flower stem as possible without removing stems that have not yet bloomed.

It may seem strange, but some flowering stems should be removed before they bloom. Both dusty miller and coleus are grown for their distinctive foliage but not their bloom. Flowering stems actually stretch and exhibit inferior foliar color and texture. Snipping off flower buds as they appear may soon get to be more work than it is worth. It is often easier to prune mature stems back aggressively to promote immature vegetative (non-blooming) growth.

Highlight: Montbretia

Once they get into the garden, montbretia, Crocosmia X crocosmiiflora, may never leave. They sometimes survive the demolition of their original garden to emerge and bloom in the garden of a new home built on the same site. Bulbs (actually corms) multiply surprisingly efficiently to form large colonies that should eventually be divided if they get too crowded to bloom. Ungroomed plants sow seeds that may be invasive.

The one or two inch wide flowers are almost always bright orange, but can sometimes be reddish orange, yellow or pale yellow. The branched flower stems are two or three feet tall or a bit taller, and stand nicely above the grassy foliage. The narrow leaves are about half and inch to an inch wide.

© Copyright 2007 by