Saturday, November 8, 2014

NaBloPoMo, 08 November 2014 edition - Knotweed and pumpkins

In 2013, I cleared a few square yards of an established stand of Japanese knotweed, an invasive plant which grows eight feet in height and totally overwhelms its environment. I did not try to do too good a job of clearing it, just yanking out as much root as would come with a strong pull. It was a "proof of concept" experiment, intended to see how solidly the area would grow back in 2014.

The experiment was successful. Certainly there was grow-back, as I knew there would be, but it was much less dense. It took less than an hour to re-pull the area I put five or six hours into clearing in 2013. A few yards away, I began a second experimental clearing, this time trying very hard to yank out every bit of root and rhizome, to be evaluated in 2015.

What else I learned in 2014 is that pumpkins can be used as a replacement cover crop. I'm not sure about this, but am willing to try it out. Theoretically it should have some beneficial effect, as pumpkins spread sideways and cover the ground well, where they get established. The problem I see is that knotweed starts coming up in April, long before pumpkins get started, and by July are taller than a human adult.

To that end, I am gathering as many pumpkins as I can, now that Hallowe'en is over. My intent is to outdo the knotweed in those couple of experimental clearings. If I get enough of a supply, I might just toss a pumpkin or two into an uncleared stand, just to see what happens. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?

Right now, though, it's pumpkin gathering time. I know I can carry a 10-pounder to my clearing. I will see how easily I can carry anything larger. My clearing isn't too far away to walk to, but it is rather secluded. But I will get them there, one way or another, and keep my eye on developments next year.


  1. My plan to use pumpkins as a replacement cover crop for invasive Japanese knotweed.

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