bulbs in lawns; was: Re: [pbs] Lycoris passeth, Cochicum com

Rodger Whitlock totototo@pacificcoast.net
Sat, 04 Sep 2004 11:23:08 PDT
On  1 Sep 04 at 18:34, Jim McKenney wrote:

> ...we have a zoysia lawn.

> That big expanse of zoysia was so tempting that I jumped in very
> enthusiastically and planted Chionodoxa, Galanthus elwesii and
> Crocus speciosus by the thousand. 

> It looked great on paper. 
> I had not taken into account the profusion of lusty winter-growing
> weeds. Now I understand so well the meaning of the word
> opportunistic. Where in the world did all those weedy Cardamine,
> Stellaria, Draba, Ranunculus, Erigeron, Allium and others suddenly
> come from? Our soil bank must be the Fort Knox of soil banks. 
> In over forty years of mowing that zoysia lawn, I never noticed
> these gate crashers in such profusion. Had they been lurking all
> that time?

To answer your last question in one word: yes.

Many weeds are native to areas of constantly disturbed soil, which is 
a fairly rare natural habitat. Cultivated ground suits them to a "T", 
however, because the essence of cultivation is regular disturbance of 
the soil.

If you disturb nearly any patch of cultivated soil, you will get
profuse germination of weed seeds. Some of these seeds remain viable
for decades in the soil -- I think the experimentally determined
maximum is well over fifty years.

I've faithfully rooted out all the buttercups I can find here and 
never let them go to seed, but after 16 years, I still get seedlings 
coming up.

Your planting of the bulbs was quite adequate disturbance to cause 
the observed effect.

Rodger Whitlock
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Maritime Zone 8, a cool Mediterranean climate

on beautiful Vancouver Island

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