Wednesday, November 3, 2010

BEWARE THE VITEX

Few plants are more troublesome to remove than the vitex. Just ask David. This is the second one he has removed this week. The first one, by the front corner of the garage, took him three days and 2 chains on the chainsaw to remove. Those roots run deep and required removal of a section of retaining wall in order to dig down far enough to sever that tap root.
The second one at the end of the driveway took less time but still put up a big fight.
When he finished the job he said to me, "This time our family motto didn't apply". What's our family motto? Initium es diminium factore, which translates as half the battle is getting started. Starting this project was certainly not more than half the battle!

While David was busy with his battle I have a more long term battle on my hands. Don't think for one minute that this grass looks pretty in the evening sunlight. It is ugly King Ranch bluestem. An invasive bluestem grass introduced as cattle feed and planted along the highways in the 1930s. It found its way onto my lot a few years ago and despite all my efforts I have been unable to hold it at bay. It has crowded out many of the finer native grasses even threatening the basket grasses which grow in huge clumps along the escarpment. There is no easy way to get rid of it save to cut off the seed heads and follow up with herbicide treatment when spring growth starts. That's where I was all weekend-cutting off seed heads.

5 comments:

  1. I am enjoying scenes from your garden and your blog...wow! Can't wait to read more.

    Now, I *know* why Vitex trees grow so well here in much drier Albuquerque...with such a deep root system, even the desert is a suitable place for them!

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  2. i love that you have a family motto! unfortunately, ours would be "it's so easy to get started and so hard to finish."

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  3. Boy does your vitex battle look like our Photinia battle at school. I'm telling ya, horsepower and rope is the best way to yank out those roots if your plant is anywhere near a driveway!

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  4. Vertie- You made me smile. I have a project under the bed that I started 6 months ago! It's not my family motto. I only married into the family!
    Meredith- I remember reading about you photinia removal. We could have got the truck to help had we had chains. We tried one once before with ropes and they snapped!

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  5. desert dweller- Thanks for stopping by. I learnt my lesson on vitex. Only in native areas from now on.

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