Alien Invasion

By Eilene Lyon

You may have noticed I haven’t posted much lately. This week saw me overwhelmed in fighting aliens – right here at home! They go by the name of Scorzonera laciniata.

Yes, I mean a dastardly weed invading our property, threatening to take over, lock, stock, and barrel. I first spotted the cutleaf vipergrass (sweet name, huh?) last year. I did my best to remove it all before it could go to seed and spread. This member of the Asteraceae family puffs up like that field of dandelions in my feature image.

I’ve been keeping an eye out for it in the neighborhood, but it seems to have taken a particular liking to our lot. This year, it came up in massive quantities. The wet weather has no doubt germinated a seed bank from a year or two back.

Scorzonera laciniata (cutleaf vipergrass) – Wikimedia Commons
Scorzonera laciniata (cutleaf vipergrass) – Wikimedia Commons

This non-native plant hails from Eurasia and has become widespread through the Rocky Mountain region. But I have never seen it take over the way it has here. So, I determined to get after it once again, before it could go to seed. Timing was essential.

Screenshot_2019-05-24 Plants Profile for Scorzonera laciniata (cutleaf vipergrass)

This perennial has a tap root, and the rains this week have softened the soil enough that I could pull much of it up, roots and all. The Putterer did his part to help out – it was a huge job. Some of it will be growing back, and lots of babies are still out there, but I’m going to stay on top of it.

Not only do I not want it taking over our property – it’s that aggressive – but I don’t want my neighbors to have to fight an invasion, too.

Where I pulled this stuff up, it was so thick that I have many square feet of bare dirt left, just begging some other weed to come and take up residence. Sigh

I gave up bagging it. The trash bags and pile of green were all pulled by hand over the last few days.

Feature image: by Jason Long on Unsplash


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