Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Ornamental beds; winter weeds; losing palm

Right now there is a big difference between my well mulched ornamental beds and the one bed that never got mulch. The mulched beds are almost weed free, while the bed with bare soil is filled with winter weeds. You can see the difference in these pictures. The majority of the weeds I am seeing right now are Poa annua (annual blue grass), Coronopus didymus (swinecress), and Oenothera liciniata (cutleaf eveningprimrose), but there are many others out there. These are winter annual weeds that sprouted from seeds in very late summer or early fall. They will stay green through the winter and then produce a new crop of seeds in the spring for next year. To break the cycle I need to get control of the weeds now, before they seed again. Even then, I expect seeds in the soil to continue to sprout for many years; hopefully a few less each year.
In addition to the weeds, I also noted that the new center two leaves of my Butia capitata (jelly palm) had turned brown. When gently pulled, they slid right out, wet and rotten at the bottom. They either were killed by the freeze that came a few weeks ago after a period of very warm weather, or by drowning from the heavy rains that came after a year of drought. The palm is in a very poorly drained spot. I knew it was at risk there, but hoped that, since I planted it very young, it would adapt to the location. However, the sharp jump from very dry to saturated for a long time seems to have taken its toll. I think that the whole growing tip may be lost. If so, this palm is gone.