The Q&A Archives: Weed Control

Question: I have a friend who for the past ten years has been struggling to rid herself of a morning-glory vine.
She has tried virtually everything including round-up (a spectacular disaster, I think it actually liked it)
with no success. The only thing that seems to work is a hard freeze and the one we had this year wasn't
enough. Any suggestions?

Answer: One really good solution is flaming, another is smothering. With flaming it isn't necessary to actually torch the weeds, but to pass the flame over the tops of the plants just enough to heat the fluid within the tissues. As it heats it expands and bursts the plant tissues. This sends an alarm out to the roots of the plants to expend energy to heal the wound. If done a few times, the roots will run out of stored energy and won't be able to produce new shoots. If, on the other hand, you actually incinerate the weed, the plant will simply produce new shoots elsewhere. Another environmentally friendly way is to lay a thick mulch over the soil to eliminate sunlight. This should be done after whacking the tops down and keeping any shoots cut back. If you prevent photosynthesis, the roots will eventually starve.

Good luck in your control of this garden pest!

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