… and even if they were, we wouldn’t want them in our gardens!
This is our most recent nemesis… After taking somewhat sadistic joy in spraying Potato Bugs off tomato plants and flicking beetles from bean plants into a bucket of soapy water, we are now under attack by an equally aggressive foe, Convolvulus arvensis, more commonly known as “Bindweed” or “Wild Morning Glory.” Thankfully, we have kept them under enough control that we have yet to see a bloom, but MAN are these things fast growers!
According to Oregon State Extension Service, this enemy “…makes itself at home by sinking roots as much as 9 feet into the soil and can stay on as an unwanted guest for up to 20 years.” You see, pulling from what one thinks is the root does not take care of the problem at all. Herbicide is the most recommended method for eradicating Bindweed, but of course one doesn’t want herbicide near cultivated plants! The other option is to pull, pull, pull… for years… as many as eight years before that deep vine dies out. So, we will pull, hoe, and weed knowing that in two weeks, the little leaves and vines will pop back up out of the soil. Oh, well at least it gives us something to do! Thank goodness for scuffle hoes.
This led me to think about other invasive species in eastern Kentucky which defenders.org defines as:
plants, animals, or other organisms that
are introduced to a given area outside their original range and
cause harm in their new home. Because they have no natural
enemies to limit their reproduction, they usually spread rampantly
Resources vary in the monetary damage these species cause in Kentucky, but every number I’ve seen for economic damage in the US annually is more than 130 billion dollars!!! If you would like to learn more about invasive species specific to Kentucky, here is a great resource: Defenders.org