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There is no discernible difference between leading and weeding.

Perhaps that is stating it strongly, but if you lead something, you know I am right.

This picture was taken moments ago in my back yard. All these tall leafy plants with buds on the top getting ready to bloom. Or so the non-gardener in me hoped.

You see, flower gardening is more difficult than vegetable gardening. In vegetable gardening, if anything is growing where you didn’t plant it, it can be removed quickly. Or if it doesn’t look exactly like the plants you planted.

But flowers and blooming plants are more sneaky, because some things that look good at the start are weeds in disguise.Oh, and some stuff you think are weeds are actually flowers.

Close to five years ago, my family moved into a cute little house near the downtown area of our town. One of the things we love about this house is that the previous owner was an avid gardener, of the English Victory Garden variety. And she clearly knew her stuff. The entire back yard is filled with perennials, flowering shrubs, blooming trees and other plants all around a small but highly manicured lawn. It is a wonderful oasis that starts blooming in late February or early March and doesn’t stop until late September, when the decorative grasses continue until the first heavy frost.

That first year it was so fun to see what colors and such would be appearing all year. We even had someone come in to tell us how to care for each type of plant.

Then reality set in.

Years 2 – 5 have seen this beautiful oasis slowly change. And not in a good way.

Yes, the flowers and shrubs and trees all bloom when they are supposed to. And yes, it is still an oasis and is beautiful. But some of those plants have gotten out of control. They are bigger and seem to be taking over more than their allotted territory. And, as in the picture, some other things have grown up that weren’t there before. Every year, I start out strong, but as summer and things come in, parts get out of control, until suddenly you have a huge problem on your hands that can no longer be ignored (oh and that manicured lawn? not so much anymore :-().

So you start pulling the bad stuff out.
There are some problems with waiting though. For example, you are missing out on the better stuff that the weeds are hiding. Here is a picture after 10 minutes of pulling those big stalks out.

And the plants are losing out on nutrition and water they need to grow to their fullest.

And when you weed when the weeds are big, they are usually harder to remove and can cause damage to other plants when you are removing them.

And weeds also hide other weeds. When pulling these honkers out, I found several other variety of weeds that were hiding down in there.

So much so that the good plants start to wonder if you even know what you are doing and what took you so long to see the problem (ok, thats really the good people in your organization, but you know what I’m driving at here).

Ok. One more parallel here and I’ll let you go. Most people do not enjoy weeding. It can be hot, tedious and make your back sore. But either you have to do it, or hire someone to do it for you. One cautionary note though. When you hire someone to do it for you, they are less invested in your healthy plants and decide it is easier to take some of those out too rather than weed around them.

However, bringing a master gardener in to show you which ones are the weeds and which are the good plants can make a lot of sense. Plus he can lend a hand with some of the toughest weeds. So call a master gardener at the number or email below and start clearing the weeds (I am much better at real people than plants!).


Dr. Jeff


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