Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Bird Kvetch

As for more important things than you know what, I give you my latest obsession. Or rather Quixotian enterprise: my personal war on Bird Vetch, aka Vicia cracca L, aka that invasive crap you see everywhere by the roads.

It is also known by its street name, "Alaska Kudzu."

I have a one acre plot on which my crazy old Fairbanks house sits, and a goodly portion of that lot has been overrun by the stuff. I dwelt in happy ignorance until the S.O. pointed the stuff out. And then I realized, it IS everywhere.

At right: One lone strand of fireweed, stranded in a sea of bird vetch.

Surely, the liberal application of a weed whacker could remedy this, no? Uh, no. Because the stuff has not remained unto itself, but as its alias implies, it spreads over everything, choking other plants out. And it has taken my gorgeous stands of fireweed hostage. Which means I have to clear the stuff manually, otherwise known as 'by hand.'

Over a week later, I have eight large piles of vegetation in the yard already. It's no exaggeration to state that it will be a pickup truck load by the time I'm done. (And I'm about halfway there, area-wise.)

Luckily, it appears to not be indestructible, just very good at growing. Hopefully, a few seasons of this type of removal and we can be vetch-free. Fingers-crossed.
From the site Weedwar.Org: "Bird vetch is a perennial that reproduces from copious amounts of seed. This species does not have the ability to resprout after cutting. Seeds are viable for number of years and large seed banks are common."

1 comment:

Andrew said...

Really nice pics...amazing...thanks for that


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Andrew
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