By: Amy Grant
Japanese spirea (Spiraea japonica) is a small shrub native to Japan, Korea, and China. It has become naturalized throughout much of the United States. In some regions, its growth has become so out of control it is considered invasive, and folks are wondering how to stop the spread of Japanese spirea.
Managing Japanese spirea is reliant on learning about how the plant propagates and distributes.
Japanese spirea is a perennial, deciduous shrub in the rose family. This spirea shrub generally attains a height of 4 to 6 feet (1-2 m.) across and wide. It has adapted to disturbed areas such as those along streams, rivers, forest borders, roadsides, fields, and areas of power lines.
It can rapidly take over these disturbed areas and overtake native populations. One plant can produce hundreds of tiny seeds that are then dispersed via water or in fill dirt. These seeds are viable for many years which make managing Japanese spirea difficult.
Japanese spirea is on the invasive list in many states. It grows rapidly, forming dense stands that create shade and impedes the growth of native plants, thus causing an ecological imbalance. One way to stop the spread of this plant is not to plant it at all. However, given that seeds survive in the soil for many years, other routes of control must be utilized.
In areas where the population of spirea is sparse or in areas that are environmentally susceptible, one way to stop the spread of Japanese spirea is to cut or mow the plant. Repeated mowing of the invasive plant will slow its spread but not eradicate it.
Once spirea has been cut back, it will re-sprout with a vengeance. This means this method of managing will be never-ending. Stems need to be cut back at least once each growing season prior to seed production as close to the ground as possible.
Another method of spirea control is the use of foliar herbicides. This should only be considered where the risk to other plants is minimal and when there are large, dense stands of spirea.
Foliar applications can be made at most any time of the year provided the temperature is at least 65 degrees F. (18 C.). Effective herbicides include glyphosate and triclopyr. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and state requirements when using chemical controls to stop the spread of Japanese spirea.
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The magnolia tree is considered by some as the ideal ornamental garden tree. Magnolias are commonly used for landscaping the garden, often as standalone trees. Magnolias are easy-to-grow and can endure harsh climatic conditions. Furthermore, their foliage can be landscaped with conventional pruning tools.
Magnolias need some basic caring throughout the year. Magnolia care is not demanding, but it needs a systematic approach. Furthermore, heavily-flowering varieties of magnolias have some typical requirements. Magnolia tree care can be easily understood in terms of seasonal demands.
Mulching is integral to all varieties of magnolias. It is useful as a natural weedicide. It helps to conserve moisture around the basal stem and upper roots, minimizing the need for watering magnolias regularly. Mulching protects the bark against damage caused by alternating freezing and thawing. Mulching during the early spring season is the most beneficial. You should spread a 3-inch thick layer of mulch around the tree’s base. Organic mulch is recommended for this purpose. You can use garden refuse such as weathered flowers and scattered foliage for mulching. Younger magnolias need a sustained mulching regime wherein you should replace the mulch layer every three months. Ensure that the mulch is never waterlogged, as this can promote fungal infections.
Young magnolias, particularly the newly-planted ones, need lots of water. The demand for water almost doubles during the summer season. Magnolias less than a year old are particularly susceptible to summer season damage, such as drying-up of roots. Young magnolias have delicate roots that take time to acclimatize with the garden soil. During this time, the shortest of dry spells can lead to their premature death. You should water young magnolias regularly. Magnolias more than three-season old need occasional, summer-season watering. A single but intense, weekly-watering session is sufficient for them. You should not water with a hose, as the pressure of sprayed water can rupture the mulch layer. You can prune the damaged, dried branches during the summers. Avoid heavy pruning during this time.
Feeding magnolias at least once during the fall is vital. You don’t need any specific, expensive fertilizers for this. Common varieties of garden fertilizers, the all-purpose varieties, are perfect for magnolias. If your garden bed remains excessively wet, use granular fertilizers. Common estimation for magnolia fertilization is one pound of garden fertilizer per inch of thmain trunk’s diameter. This diameter is measured about 4 feet upwards from the tree’s base. Pruning during the fall is considered safe. You should prune off the upright water sprouts and suckers found on branches. Garden shears and lopping shears can be used for pruning magnolias. If you want to shape the tree’s crown, prune during the late fall season. Remember to adjust the fertilizer amount after the first three falls, by this time the root systems will need less nourishment.
Magnolias need minimal winter pruning. It is usually done before the winter sets in. You should prune-away all lower branches that are bending due to colder conditions. If allowed to grow, they give the tree a shrubby appearance. If the intertwined branches have become too thick, use heavy-duty loppers for pruning. Magnolias are naturally resistant against bacterial or viral infections, but extreme cutting induced due to careless pruning can make them vulnerable to diseases. Ensure that you make clean, smaller cuts away from the main stem. You should preserve the dominant trunk and prune-off the surrounding, younger stems.
Saucer magnolias are the most common form of flowering, deciduous magnolias. Saucer magnolias are early bloomers. This attracts the problem of spring frost. Blooming can be delayed by growing them in areas with less-than-average sunlight. Saucer magnolias can be planted in garden beds having taller, surrounding trees that curtail sunlight to some extent.
True ivies of the genus Hedera attach to walls and trees by tiny rootlets. Sticky pads on the rootlets attach to a structure and tiny root hairs grow into crevices in bark or house siding.The root hairs then dry out and lock into place as they shrivel. This dual-attachment system makes it difficult to simply pull ivy away from trees and structures -- the root hairs have been known to pull loose mortar away from masonry structures and bark off trees. Boston ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata), also grown in USDA zones 4 through 9, doesn't cling as well as true ivy species, so removal from trees might not be as problematic.
There is no “one way fits all” method of getting rid of monkey grass. A lot depends on how early you get to the job and how entrenched it is in your yard or lawn.
If you are only trying to keep the liriope under control but want to allow some to stay in the yard, you’ll need to be vigilant. The plant sends out runners all during the growing season. When you see them starting to grow out into the lawn or garden bed, remove the runners.
It is much easier to keep it tidy than to have to dig up a whole garden bed that’s been taken over.
If you let monkey grass grow un-managed, you will have a job getting rid of it!
I know you were looking for an easy answer but the best remedy involves some real work – digging. If you have tried just pulling up the runners, you will know that they break off easily.
Digging the monkey grass will get the roots and will keep the spreading nature under control.
Use a spade or shovel to dig down around the liriope. Till the area around the removed plants and over the ground with plastic or newspaper to help choke out further growth.
This takes patience, since you may need to repeat this process for several months if you want to get it all.
Since the plant spreads by means of underground runners, adding barriers is a good practice for controlling monkey grass. The barriers must go down into the soil quite a way – 12-18″ is a good size.
If you use barriers that are too shallow, the plant will simple go under them and come back up on the other side.
The barriers do not need to be plastic. Other ideas are trenches, landscaping fabric, plastic sheeting, or mulch.in channels dug near the plant
Controlling monkey grass when you want to use it as a border is easy if you think ahead when you plant it. Did you know that you can control it in your garden and still have the lovely border that you want by simply planting it in containers in the first place?
Instead of planting the liriope directly into the soil, sink the plant pots side by side and mulch over them.
The look will be the same, but the plant won’t be able to send out underground runners and you won’t have it invading nearby garden spaces. You’ll have a lovely border without the hassle of having to keep removing spreading monkey grass babies!
Note on this method. The plants will eventually become pot bound and will need to be removed and divided. You an either use the extra plants in other areas of the garden, give them away or add them to the compost pile.
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Best companion plants for Spirea Creepig juniper - Spireas which are light in color, like pink or yellow look best when placed amongst dark foliage companion plants like creepig juniper. The creeping juniper can also be planted in the background to make it more attractive.
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A hardy shrub with clusters of flowers at the tips of graceful, arching branches, spirea (Spirea spp.) is a lavish bloomer that attracts butterflies to the garden throughout spring and early summer.
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Many of the plants for sale in New Jersey have been introduced from other continents. Some of these introduced plants have the ability to thrive and spread aggressively, invading habitats and replacing native plants.
The new and unusual plant at your local garden center may have its roots in Asia or Africa. Many of the plants for sale in New Jersey have been introduced from other continents. Some of these introduced plants have the ability to thrive and spread aggressively, invading habitats and replacing native plants. These “invasive” plants end up causing harm to both the environment and the economy.
Butterfly bush is a popular landscaping plant but is considered an invasive, nuisance plant. © Steiermark Sommerflieder-Strauch
Scientists suspect that an invasive plant has a competitive edge over native plants, since the insects, diseases, and animals that naturally control its growth in its native range are often not present in its introduced area. New Jersey’s native animals depend on native plants for food, shelter, and nesting sites. When invasive plants replace the natives, the entire ecosystem can be disrupted. Habitat changes caused by invasive species have led to the decline of about 42% of the threatened and endangered species in the United States.
These ecological impacts also have a tremendous economic cost. Invasive species are costing the United States more than $120 billion in damages and control costs every year. Here in New Jersey, the economic impact on agriculture was recently estimated to be $290 million per year. Invasive plants alone have damaged over 100 million acres in the United States, equal to an area about the size of California.
The New Jersey Invasive Species Strike Team (NJISST) has extensive information about how to identify and eradicate the invasive plants in our state. The NJISST Do Not Plant List identifies which plants to keep out of your Jersey-Friendly Yard.
Wisteria sinensis (Chinese Wisteria)
Wisteria floribunda (Japanese Wisteria)
Clematis ternifolia (Japanese clematis)
Hedera helix (English Ivy)
Lonicera japonica (Japanese Honeysuckle)
Amphelopsis brevipedunculata (Porcelainberry)
Acer platanoides (Norway maple)
Pyrus calleryana (Callery/Bradford pear)
Euonymus alatus (Winged Burning Bush)
Euonymus fortunei (Wintercreeper)
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese Barberry)
Buddleia spp (Butterfly Bush)
Viburnum dilatatum (Linden Viburnum)
Spiraea japonica (Japanese Meadowsweet)
Miscanthus sinensis (Chinese Silvergrass)