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Weeds and Other Nuisance Plants

Updated on May 2, 2014

Multi-flora rose and other nuisance plants

Originally brought to our area to be used as a fence hedge, the seeds are not digested and are spread widely by birds.
Originally brought to our area to be used as a fence hedge, the seeds are not digested and are spread widely by birds. | Source
Although a hardy tree, the Locust has thorns which can prick the skin when touched while mowing or working in the garden. They grow quickly and if not desired should be eliminated at first growth.
Although a hardy tree, the Locust has thorns which can prick the skin when touched while mowing or working in the garden. They grow quickly and if not desired should be eliminated at first growth.
Honeysuckles grow rampant here in WNC. The blossoms emit a wonderful odor but the vines can quickly take over other plants an d shrubs.
Honeysuckles grow rampant here in WNC. The blossoms emit a wonderful odor but the vines can quickly take over other plants an d shrubs.
Poke weed-grows wild in the late Spring. When mature the berries turn a dark purple. Many local folk love to eat the young Poke leaves  (Polk sallat) usually cooked with eggs and onions
Poke weed-grows wild in the late Spring. When mature the berries turn a dark purple. Many local folk love to eat the young Poke leaves (Polk sallat) usually cooked with eggs and onions
Sumac-grows quickly and spreads unless controlled-found on roadsides and terraced fields.
Sumac-grows quickly and spreads unless controlled-found on roadsides and terraced fields.
Bittersweet-popular in the late fall and used by crafters to make ornamental wreaths. The can spread and entwine themselves in trees.
Bittersweet-popular in the late fall and used by crafters to make ornamental wreaths. The can spread and entwine themselves in trees.
Sassafras grow here and are common along roadsides and in wind rows of terraced fields.
Sassafras grow here and are common along roadsides and in wind rows of terraced fields.

Briers and Weeds

We are so blessed to live in one of the most desirable areas in the South. My wife and I both grew up here in rural Henderson County North Carolina and neither of us are world travelers. My military experience took me to several of the states including Texas, New York, Colorado, Florida and my final year, to Alaska. Although my limited travel allowed me to see some of the most beautiful states in our country, none equal the beauty of our Blue Ridge Mountains and our Green River Community of Zirconia.

We are blessed to have pure water to drink and the mountains, though not high like the Rockies, are filled with hardwoods and Pine. Mountain Laurels and Rhododendrons are prevalent in the hollows and mountainsides and there are large pastures filled with cattle and agricultural fields which are cultivated each year producing crops such as beans, squash, tomatoes, corn and many other vegetables that find their way to grocery and fresh markets along the East coast. We also have numerous apple orchards which is the main crop of our county, the largest in our state of North Carolina.

My wife and I are not large landowners and have only 2 acres where we live. We are thankful for what God has given us and following a house fire in 1989, we rebuilt on the same spot. Our lot is a rolling hillside for the most part and about 10 years ago we cleared the wooded portion of our land which had large Poplar trees. Clearing land to get "new ground" is something our forebears had to do to survive. Fields were needed that could be cultivated, pastures cleared for cattle and horses or other livestock. This process was hard work, grubbing stumps and clearing less desirable vegetation.

I began several years ago to rid my land of the Sumac,honeysuckle's,locust sprouts and those dreaded multi-flora roses that have plagued our mountains since they were introduced shortly after WWII to be used as a fence hedge. Each year that passes requires a new commitment and attack plan to keep those undesirable weeds and plants at bay to prevent a complete take over.


Controlling Weeds

We have come a long way when it comes to controlling weeds. A sharp bush ax or a grubbing hoe were once the main weapon but thanks to modern science, chemicals have been developed that can be sprayed on weeds to eliminate or control their growth. For many of us, we can purchase these chemicals at our neighborhood hardware stores such as Lowe's, Home DePot or Ace. Round-up or similar products can be easily mixed with water if purchased in a concentrated formula. Pre-mixed can also be bought that can be used on small areas infected with poison oak or some other nuisance plant. Care should be taken when using these products which can be hazardous to animals and children.

Bush-hogging if the lot is accessible is another way to control weeds and grasses.Along roadsides here in our community, once a year we might have our road banks worked with a long arm which is similar to a bush hog and has a boom which can reach upward to about 15 or 20 feet. This process keeps the limbs and branches of roadside trees from blocking views of drivers on our crooked mountain roads.

Remember when working to eliminate your undesirable shrubs, plants or trees to be cautious. Wear protective clothing such as gloves, goggles to protect your eyes and be mindful that snakes and stinging insects such as yellow jackets or wasps also build and inhabit these areas.

Boom arm mower-used to trim roadsides and trees along roadsides.
Boom arm mower-used to trim roadsides and trees along roadsides.
Grubbing hoe
Grubbing hoe

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    • Naomi's Banner profile image

      Naomi's Banner 3 years ago from United States

      Very nice article. Love the mower.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

      A great hub Robert ;voting up and wishing you a wonderful weekend.

      Eddy.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 3 years ago

      I appreciate all the info. Quite a while ago, I wished for a vine. I wanted it to cover my fence. Out of nowhere a vine appeared and it was gorgeous. Things took a turn for the worse when it returned year after year and started crawling up my house. It took a village to get rid off it! The moral of this story is," be careful what you wish for."

    • Fiddleman profile image
      Author

      Robert Elias Ballard 3 years ago from Zirconia, North Carolina

      Well howdy breakfastpop, could it have been Virginia creeper? Pretty but can overtake your place.

    • ladyguitarpicker profile image

      stella vadakin 22 months ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

      Hi, I hate vines so I am careful to keep stuff mowed down. I have a John Deer lawn mower, so it works for now. Useful hub , Stella

    • Fiddleman profile image
      Author

      Robert Elias Ballard 22 months ago from Zirconia, North Carolina

      Hi Stella, sorry for being slow to reply to your post. I so appreciate any and all comments. Nothing runs like deer!! I don't have a riding mower but my son does, a Cub Cadet zero turn and he cuts the bigger portions where it is not too steep. This summer has been busy so my weed eating has been tough, The rag weeds and morning glories are running rampant but some ot the other weeds and bushes I knocked down a few weeks ago Too late for them to revive back. We have lots of yellow jackets that love building in the sloped areas of my property so I am keeping a close watch each time I mow.

    • Nathanville profile image

      Arthur Russ 4 weeks ago from England

      It was interesting to read your plight with weeds, and the dangers of pests like snakes and insects. I feel quite humbled, in that although I grow my own vegetable, I don’t have the problems or dangers you face.

      Apart from potatoes, we grow all our own vegetables organically in our back garden, so we’re self-sufficient in veg 12 months of the year; saving us about £400 ($500) on our annual food bill. I’m quite proud of our achievements in that the actual vegetable plot itself is only 35 square yards; which pales into insignificants to the two acres you manage. In comparison our whole urban back garden is only 30 feet wide by 100 feet long.

      The only invasive weed we have, which requires constant monitoring to keep it at bay is just ‘bind weed’. Plus we don’t have any dangerous snakes or insects in the UK, so we don’t face the same problems or risks as you. The only slight risk in the UK (and it’s a very small risk statistically) might be the humble bee, but (unlike other parts of the world) the bees in Britain are docile, so as long as you leave them alone they leave you alone.

      So next time I dig in our back garden I’ll be thinking of you, and the challenges you face.

    • Fiddleman profile image
      Author

      Robert Elias Ballard 4 weeks ago from Zirconia, North Carolina

      Good morning Authur, small gardens do have awesome returns. My mom now 90 loves planting in pots. Tomatoes, peppers and even potatoes. She only plants what she thinks she can manage. She still lives independently and enjoys growing some of her own veggies. We also limit our planting to tomatoes, squash, lettuce, onions etc. Thanks you for commenting.

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