Weeds will grow in your garden and they are very dangerous. They will consume the nutrients in the soil and thereby affect the overall quality of your produce. In addition, they will take up much of your garden space. Some weeds are poisonous and need to be removed to prevent someone from getting poisoned and particularly kids. Any ideas on how to get rid of pokeweed easily?
What is pokeweed?
This is a plant that grows in disturbed soils like in the fields and pasture. The plant is toxic and hazardous to livestock. Being a perennial plant, you will find it in your garden all year round. Mostly, the plant is 4 to 6 feet tall but can extend up to 10 feet. The plant is unsafe and is filled with toxic compounds but not to the birds.
Pokeweed can easily be identified in the garden. The berries, size of the grape have dark purple or black color. Children easily confuse these berries with grapes and end up eating them. The leaves are spear-shaped and there is purple shade of stems and branches.
You might have heard that the fruits have been used in traditional medicine and pies. However, they have compounds that cause bad physical reactions.
If planning to remove the pokeweed, one needs to dig deeply and get out the entire taproot of the pokeweed. By pulling the pokeweed, you might leave some roots in the soil that will soon regenerate and grow again. Before digging up, it is wise to remove the fruits from the plant so as to prevent them from spreading.
How pokeweed spreads?
Now that we mentioned that these plants are toxic to humans and animals, birds seem to enjoy the fruit. They have a good source of food in the pokeweed. Therefore, one of the quickest ways to spread the pokeweed is by birds. They plant new seeds wherever they are excreted.
Since the taproot extends deep into the soil, you might need some chemical when trying to control pokeweed. By applying chemicals like glyphosate to the leaves will kill the plant.
How to get rid of pokeweed?
In the case of a sprout, use a shovel to dig the plant. It might seem basic when it comes to removing such a young plant but remember, the roots are firmly bound to the soil and so there is a high possibility of breaking when you’re trying to pull. So, start by digging around the plant while pulling it gently when you have the ground loose enough. In the case of the stem breaking, dig the whole area where the plant was and have it removed completely.
When working with a young plant, the roots are better developed and can be uprooted with ease. Just like removing a sprout, start by removing the loose soil around the plant. After removing the plant, leave it in the sun to dry and die.
Lastly, removing a mature plant prove to be the trickiest of all situations. The first thing that you need to do is to cut off the berries. Then dig up the loose soil around the plant and make sure you cover a larger ground as compared to the previous two scenarios. The roots are well established and have spread widely.
Step by step instruction on how to get rid of pokeweed:
The first step that you need to do is to pull out new shoots by hand. A few hours before performing this task, water the soil if you find it hard to pull out the new shoots. When pulling the new shoots, wear a pair of gloves. It is always important to protect your hands.
The next step is to dig up around the plant to loosen the soil so that you can remove the larger pokeweed plants. Tools like a spade or shovel will make the task easier. Depending on the extent of the roots, you might be forced to make a hole deeper.
Next, loosen and screen the soil to look out for small roots that might be left in the ground. Do this on top of the wheelbarrow and use a rototiller to loosen the soil. Avoiding this process will leave the small roots in the soil which might grow and develop later.
Dispose the pokeweed only after they have dried out completely. It is important to note that throwing fresh pokeweed plants might grow again. After this, monitor the area regularly. Pull the young plants that might start growing again.
Should the roots break, there is a highly likelihood of the plants growing again, so it’s important to be extra careful.
Uses of pokeweed berries
Now that we have talked about how poisonous and toxic the pokeweed is and how to get rid of pokeweed, what are some of the uses? Crushed berries create a juice that can be used to color inferior wines.