Woodpile cleanup part 2

About a month ago I started cleaning up the area around my woodpile. Today I'm going to tackle more of it. As you can see it's a weedy mess:

The first thing I'll do is carefully survey the area looking for "trouble". In this case I'm mainly concerned about poison ivy, but I'm also looking for wasp nests or anything else that could make the morning more uncomfortable.


Even though it's only 6:30 AM, it's in the mid-80's, very humid, with no breeze. I love the early mornings in the garden, but I could really use some air movement. It typically doesn't start up for another hour or two, about the time I'm wrapping up.

Anyway, let's get started. My survey doesn't show any poison ivy or anything else to be concerned about, but I do see a lot of different weeds, both known and unknown. Here's some smartweed:

There's tons of that here. These two are pretty common everywhere in my yard:

Here's a wild blackberry (nice and thorny to make things interesting):

A tiny pokeweed that's only a foot or so tall (as opposed to 6'+):

Vines too. Virginia creeper:

Plus some honeysuckle vine that's invasive around here:

There are some little grapevines starting too. Pretty much every "problem" plant around is growing in this area. The only thing I don't see is bush honeysuckle.

So I'll put on my gloves and start pulling. I'd like to get all of these pulled out roots and all, but if some break off that's not a big deal as I'll be going over this area with the scuffle hoe later. That will take care of any roots that are left.

After I've cleared some of the weeds out, I can see that there's a ground layer of euonymous:

That will need to be pulled out too, which is a little tougher sometimes because it's been here for a while and has some decent roots.

Here's an example of the tenacity of these plants, and why they they're in the "weed" category in our gardens:

A log had fallen off the woodpile, pinning this guy to the ground. No problem -- it easily adjusted, straightened up, and continued with its life.

After a few minutes of pulling, the smaller section of ground is now clear:

I think there must be a mouse or chipmunk nest somewhere around here. It smells like a hamster cage!

On to the larger area.  The only thing really interesting about clearing this other part was finding the logs I had used at the base of one part of the woodpile:

These look like they've been here for decades or longer -- the remnants of some structure left by an ancient culture maybe. Nope, just 5 year-old rotten logs. Out they go!

So with most of the pullable weeds out, I'm almost finished:

Just needs some work with the scuffle hoe to ensure that none of these guys comes back this year. Looks pretty nice when I've done this:

Compare that to the original image -- what a difference!

Now I've just got some crabgrass to pull:

Notice how I've let it go to seed. Not the best idea, but I'll deal with any future crabgrass plants in the future.

I haven't completly defoliated this area -- the crabgrass and violets had to go, but I've left a few plants.

These sedges have been growing in this area for the last few years:

Some might consider them to be weeds, but I think they're attractive, and since they need no maintenance at all, they're perfect for this area. I really like them, so they stay!

Once I got all of the weeds out, I noticed that the bamboo planted next to the woodpile (my Phyllostachys glauca 'Yunzhu', which is the one that has some flowering going on) has some rhizomes outside of its designated area:

I just rhizome pruned this plant a couple of weeks ago! Did these just grow, or did I somehow miss them earlier?  Here's another one:

I'll have to investigate these another day, because I'm hot, thirsty, dripping wet, and tired of being out here. I don't know when I'll be able to check into these rhizomes, as we're forecast to have upper-90's every day this week, with high humidity. That means my morning garden time will probably be spent watering.

Although I don't like it, the Phyllostachys bamboos love this hot humid weather. It's during this time that their rhizomes grow like crazy -- they just need some rain! I'd appreciate a shower too, but give me some cool, dry air right now -- air conditioning here I come!

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