Weed-whacking, courtesy of chemistry

KnotweedFairmount.jpgWarning for Fairmount Playfield users: The city plans to use herbicide there next week to stamp out an infestation of Japanese knotweed. This is somewhat noteworthy because it’s a pesticide-free park; the city says there’s no way around having to poison the knotweed. Having seen the city’s photo (right), we believe these are the plants we only half-jokingly refer to each summer, upon sight of them in public places, as “the triffids.”

4 Replies to "Weed-whacking, courtesy of chemistry"

  • Aidan Hadley September 7, 2007 (11:24 pm)

    They could use gin as an herbicide. It sounds crazy but it really works and is much more benign. Gin is made from juniper berries, not petrochemicals. Ever wonder why nothing ever grows under a juniper tree? Now you know.

  • hopey September 8, 2007 (11:09 pm)

    Wow. Knotweed is seriously invasive stuff, and very hard to control. Check out this brochure from The Nature Conservancy:

    I’m pretty sure I have some in my back yard. Swell. Guess I’ll be contacting them for some help.

  • Jumbojim September 9, 2007 (10:51 am)


    “Except when we want to use pesticides”

    What crap.

    How about thick sheet mulching? Persistent tilling, etc., etc. And yes, I do know what Japanese Knotweed is.

  • Allan Ihrer September 11, 2007 (8:23 pm)

    Knotweed is pervasive and pernicious. It does not kill easily and quaint attempts to control it like goats, fire, digging, thick sheets, repeated cutting, bending it over, pulling , scalding, vinegar treatments, chlorine treatments, salting, paving over, and gin treatments either are laughably ineffective, or all but totally ineffective while massively time consuming over many years as well damaging to the soil of the treatment area.

    Glyphosate injections work quickly and effectively with little impact to anything except the plant. They get into the plant’s root system which is key to controlling knotweed. Glyphosate is quite benign as it disrupts a chemical process only found in plants. It has a quick breakdown time as microorganisms break it apart for food.

    You will find when the knotweed is killed there is nothing growing there. This is not due to the herbicide treatment, it is due to the knotweed killing everything underneath it thus creating a veritable biological desert.

    You should focus not on stopping this beneficial herbicide treatment, but on what native plants will be planted to restore the diversity that the knotweed robbed you of. These native flora will support your native fauna. Yea!

    I must add that carefully applied foliar treatments of glyphosate can also be safe and effective.

    I am not affiliated with any company. I am a New England conservationist who has dealt with knotweed for many years.

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