Garden lore

“When Lord Teviot had despatched his letters, he found her in her garden,,, [it was] a first-rate gardener’s garden, every plant forming part of a group, and not to be picked or touched on any account; all of them forced into bloom at the wrong time of the year; and each bearing a name that it was difficult to pronounce, and impossible to remember.”

Emily Eden The Semi-Attached Couple (1830)

Dealing to wandering jew

Of all the pesky, invasive and difficult weeds to eradicate, wandering jew – also known as wandering willie or tradescantia – is right up there with the worst. It is usually impossible to eliminate in one hit and every single bit you miss or drop will grow again. Turn your back, and you will have a carpet of smothering foliage returning. It takes great persistence – either the removal of every single piece for alternative destruction or repeated chemical nuking.

Whether you are spraying or hand pulling, rake the top layers off first and remove. I hesitate to say send to landfill because I do not think that is what landfill is for. Piling it into black rubbish sacks, sealing them and then laying them on concrete under hot sun will kill it. Then you can compost the remains. If you are confident that you make a hot compost, you can put it straight into the heap but a cold compost mix won’t kill it. If you are not going to spray, then you just have to keep repeating this process.

If you are willing to spray, the bad news is that glyphosate is largely ineffective. You need a spray with the active ingredients of either triclopyr or amitrol. Grazon is probably the best known triclopyr brand but your garden centre will have other commercial sprays with these active ingredients. It will take at least two or three applications over several months to get rid of the regrowth.

Apparently this weed can cause terrible skin irritation to dogs and cats which is another good reason for eradicating it. Just don’t ever do it by chucking the bits over the fence. They will grow and return to your place to reinvade as well.

First published in the Waikato Times and reprinted here with their permission.