Weeding, weeding, weeding

I was working in the garden this morning, pulling out yet another batch of Tradescantia fluminensis, which is a super-invasive ground cover commonly known as Wandering Jew.

We’ve been in two minds as to whether we want to keep it, or eradicate it.

This is what it looked like before I started weeding

On the one hand, ground cover is a good thing, because it keeps the soil warm and moist during the hot dry summers, reducing evaporation; it also makes the garden appear to be lusciously green and flourishing. And ever so often, T. fluminensis gets tiny white or blue blossoms, which look quite pretty too.

One succulent stem of Tradescantia fluminensis

On the other hand, it forms a dense mat on the ground, smothering any other seedlings you may have planted. It grows incredibly quickly, taking only a week or two to re-establish itself if you clear it from an area. As a result, we’ve lost more seedlings than I can count.

Leaves and nodes

But:

“The succulent stems break easily at the nodes and establish themselves wherever they land on moist soil. While T. fluminensis does respond to herbicides and other applied weed controls, each segment has the ability to regenerate, so it is able to make a rapid comeback, especially in soft soils where stems may remain underneath the surface.” (Wikipedia)

No kidding!

You can clearly see the little segments and nodes

As we feel rather strongly about NOT using herbicides, because we want to encourage a harmonious balance between the insects and the birds in our garden, we’ve tended to rely on intermittent bursts of energy to rip it out manually.

As happened yesterday.

Halfway there last night

Fortunately, the stems are quite easy to pull out, but it’s the roots and the broken-off segments remaining behind, which are tricky to clear away entirely. I’ve been raking and carefully sieving the soil with my hands, trying to make sure that I remove as much as possible of it.

The work continued this morning

Unfortunately, the thirsty bees from yesterday returned before I could finish the job. I don’t mind bees – from a safe distance. In fact, I love seeing them pollinate our flowers and knowing that they are hard at work making honey somewhere!

But I don’t particularly like sitting right next to them, pulling out weeds, and making a lot of noise with the rubbish bag, because I don’t want to provoke them – unintentionally of course – into stinging me!

Actually, I think it might be a good time for a cup of tea. Excuse me for a moment, will you? πŸ˜€

6 thoughts on “Weeding, weeding, weeding

  1. Hi, Visiting you from snowy CO, I’m enjoying your garden endeavors. My mountain home is at 10,2000′ and my growing season is VERY short. Maybe I should try some of this ground cover! Love the way the kitty is watching the work-in-progress.

    • Hi Barb – thanks for the visit! I love the bright colours of the photos on your blog – it must be that high altitude! Hm.. I don’t know if you want to import and grow these ground covers – they really are very invasive and take over everything. And Kitty sends her purrs. πŸ™‚

    • I wonder whether they were the same Wandering Jews that we have in our garden? I can’t imagine them as houseplants, somehow. They tend to flop over or prefer to have something to lean against, rather than sticking up straight.

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