This blog is about growing tropical-looking plants in the Phoenix, Arizona area

July 23, 2013

Controlling weeds in a desert garden

The definition of a weed is a "plant out of place". In the wilderness, there are no weeds. In a garden, particularly one here in the Phoenix area after a rain, there are a lot. And a garden is a tamed piece of ground, with plants in a particular place, so weeding is part of its care.

It's no skin off my teeth, but it always bugs me to see people out there digging up weeds. Maybe I am reminded of kids who had to do this as part of their chores, maybe I am thinking of the sore lower backs that this causes. And maybe I am thinking that digging up weeds just disperses them and makes more weeds. No, I don't pull over my car and say to someone who is doing this, "hey, you are an idiot!" and I suppose it's just as well. So it feels good to just write it here.

I use Round-Up. It's not a poison, it blocks photosynthesis. That is, you spray it on the leaves of any plant, and the plant is unable to use sunlight to grow. It does not poison the soil, or your pets. It does not linger after the weed has died, but it does kill the weed, like the bottle says, all the way to the roots, without disturbing it.

I always keep a bottle or two handy. I have tried the large economy size, but it's too much of a hassle. I keep a bottle near my backyard and my front yard. I walk around like a character in a first-person shooter video game, spot a weed, and give it a little blast. If I see a plant I want to keep, I stand down. If you get Round-Up accidentally on a plant you want to keep, you have ten (10) minutes to wash it off with plain water. And next time, sharpen up your shooting, 007!
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