Please Explain: Weeds

Friday, July 22, 2011

Weeds pop up in lawns and gardens and even in cracks in sidewalks. Lars Anderson,  plant physiologist with the USDA-Agricultural Research Service on the campus of UC Davis; and Kristin Schleiter, Curator of Outdoor Gardens and Herbaceous Collections at the New York Botanical Garden, look at the wide variety of weeds, why they seem to thrive everywhere, and ways to eliminate—or accept—them. 


Lars Anderson and Kristin M. Schleiter

Comments [22]

Michael from Union Square

Fort Wadsworth located at the Verrazano Narrows on Staten Island use sheep to trim the grass that covers some fortifications. We were visiting it and we were that the National Park Service uses them at other sites too.

Jul. 22 2011 02:04 PM
Sarah in Brooklyn

About the weed that may or may not be greenbriar: would the "hack and squirt" method work? I read about it in The Orchid Thief as a technique for getting rid of a mighty invasive tree in the Fakahatchee in Florida. The technique is just how it sounds: hack at the trunk a bit and squirt in some plant killer. It's used for those plants whose reaction to being destroyed is to put out more shoots. It takes a long time but apparently works...

Jul. 22 2011 02:04 PM
kp from nj

My lot is being overtaken by something called 'mugwort". I've lived here for years and never saw it. In the last two years it's everywhere. I pull it out, but more comes back. How can I control it?

Jul. 22 2011 02:03 PM
Robert from Brooklyn

garlic mustard is totally edible and delicious: tell your caller to pull it out, clean it and sell it at the Farmers' Market for $4.99 a bunch.

Jul. 22 2011 02:01 PM
AmyHo from Manhattan

Can the guests be more specific about how long to wait before using compost made from weeds that you don't want cropping up among the plants that you *want* to grow?

Jul. 22 2011 01:58 PM
robert coles from Long island

About the risk of proliferation when we put pulled off weeds into compost pile? Can rhizomes and seeds rot enough to be "dead" ?

Jul. 22 2011 01:53 PM
Interested from Brooklyn

In Japan, kudzu fiber was woven into cloth-- and some of it was quite fine and was used by the samurai class for clothing.

Jul. 22 2011 01:53 PM
Twisted from NYC

The Return Of The Giant Hogweed (lyrics)
Turn and run!
Nothing can stop them,
Around every river and canal their power is growing.
Stamp them out!
We must destroy them,
They infiltrate each city with their thick dark warning odour.

They are invincible,
They seem immune to all our herbicidal battering.

Long ago in the russian hills,
A victorian explorer found the regal hogweed by a marsh,
He captured it and brought it home.
Botanical creature stirs, seeking revenge.
Royal beast did not forget.
He came home to london,
And made a present of the hogweed to the royal gardens at kew.

Waste no time!
They are approaching.
Hurry now, we must protect ourselves and find some shelter
Strike by night!
They are defenceless.
They all need the sun to photosensitize their venom.

Still they're invincible,
Still they're immune to all our herbicidal battering.

Fashionable country gentlemen had some cultivated wild gardens,
In which they innocently planted the giant hogweed throughout the land.
Botanical creature stirs, seeking revenge.
Royal beast did not forget.
Soon they escaped, spreading their seed,
Preparing for an onslaught, threatening the human race.

(musical break-The dance of the giant hogweed)

Mighty hogweed is avenged.
Human bodies soon will know our anger.
Kill them with your hogweed hairs
Heracleum mantegazziani

Giant hogweed lives!

Jul. 22 2011 01:53 PM
Mollie from Red Hook

Is Leonard trying to refrain from saying "Ghetto Palm?"

Jul. 22 2011 01:52 PM

from Wikipedia:

Ailanthus produces an allelopathic chemical called ailanthone, which inhibits the growth of other plants.[31] The inhibitors are strongest in the bark and roots, but are also present in the leaves, wood and seeds of the plant.

Jul. 22 2011 01:52 PM
Bruce from Queens

In Forest Park, Queens there's a ballfied that was recently restored to the pond it originally was. There lots of native wetland plants planted around it but a couple of weeks ago I notice a few purple loosetrife in flower. Should I pull them out myself. They're tall and I'm afraid of leaving some root fragments. And it's a city park. I might get attacked if people see me pulling out plants. There are also mugwort and japanese knotweed taking over the area just a few away from the pond's shore.

Jul. 22 2011 01:51 PM
Cynthia from englewood

I'd like someone to mention some of the invasive species which are still being sold in garden centers. Japanese honeysuckle, burning bush, barberries, purple loosestrife.
Also some trees are considered invasive.... Bradford pear and Norway maple.

Jul. 22 2011 01:48 PM
Laura from UWS

Polite Suggestion:

Get the Robots from the previous segment of The Leonard Lopate Show--surely they'd be terrific at weeding!!!

Jul. 22 2011 01:48 PM
Twisted from NYC

Giant Hogweed lives! I've read that the noxious hogweed is taking over New York. Please expound on this plant. Also, you must check out the old Peter Gabriel Genesis song "Return of the Giant Hogweed" from the 1972 album Nursury Cryme.

Jul. 22 2011 01:46 PM
Joel from Westchester

Doesn't the Highline have wild plants intentionally growing in its gardens?

Jul. 22 2011 01:45 PM
Paul from NJ

Any thoughts on dealng with nut sedge??
I've heard it described as "the worst weed in the world."

Jul. 22 2011 01:43 PM
Deborah Murphy from brooklyn & catskills

How do I get rid of Japanese Knotweed?

Jul. 22 2011 01:43 PM
judy from Greenpoint

I heard/saw on "In the papers" on NY1 the other morning about a huge weed spotted upstate that can blind you if you touch it then rub your eyes. In the photo shown the weed was taller than the woman standing next to it and had an umbrella like top.

Jul. 22 2011 01:42 PM
Madeleine Wilken from Wilton CT

Until 10 or fewer years ago, I'd never laid eyes on garlic mustard. Now it is all over the place. I pull, mow and herbicide it to no avail. I've heard it is destructive to butterfly and moth life. Can you explain how?

Jul. 22 2011 01:41 PM
Marjorie Madfis from White Plains

How do we get rid of "faux bamboo"? we keep cutting and pulling and it gets stronger and spreads more!

Jul. 22 2011 01:38 PM


Jul. 22 2011 01:38 PM

Leonard's weed tree is ailanthus

Jul. 22 2011 01:38 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.