Group Title: Olasee Davis articles
Title: Be fruitful control weeds (October 11, 1991)
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 Material Information
Title: Be fruitful control weeds (October 11, 1991)
Series Title: Olasee Davis articles
Physical Description: Archival
Language: English
Creator: Davis, Olasee
Publication Date: October 11, 1991
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Bibliographic ID: CA01300919
Volume ID: VID00006
Source Institution: University of the Virgin Islands
Holding Location: University of the Virgin Islands
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

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The Daily News, Friday, October 11, 1991

Be fruitful: control weeds

.... and some of the seeds fell
among thorns, and the thorns grew
up, and choked it and it yields no
fruit.... ".
-Mark 4:3, 7.
And so it has been for thousands
of years; the seed is still sown and
the thorns are still there. To derive
the most from a garden, you must
sew in a thornless environment.
When you decided to have a gar-
den in your backyard, did you real-
ize native plants have lived there
for centuries, growing and dying
and depositing seeds in the soil?
Seeds can stay dormant in a given
environment for years until the right
environmental condition becomes
appropriate for germination.
Seeds also can be carried into
your garden by the wind or with
contaminated garden seed, mulch,
manure or on human clothes.
However, depending on what
you want to do with your garden,
some or all native plants must be
For these undesirable plants we
call "weeds," control is one of the
principal factors determining crop
Production. Mulching, cultivation,
intercropping and chemical herbi-
cides all have a place this control.
Some of the less-desirable weed
control practices, however, include
burning and hand-pulling. Burning
has been practiced for many years
as a means of general weed control,
but it is dangerous, wasteful and
oftentimes not very effective. Hand-


Our environment

pulling weeds is back-breaking and
time-consuming, although some-
times it is necessary.
Mulching that covers the soil
suppresses weeds and protects plant
roots. Mulch prevents weed seeds
from germinating and also keeps
moisture in the soil from which
desirable plants benefit.
Mulch is composed of black
plastic sheeting or organic material
like grass clippings, sawdust and
leaves. Plastic mulch is effective,
easy to apply and plentiful, but
might be de biodegradable in the
soil. Rain cannot penetrate it, so
watering must be done under the
plastic by drip-irrigation lines.
Organic mulches are effective
and rain can penetrate them.' They
are not as easy to apply as black
plastic sheetings, nor are they as
plentiful. Be certain they are free of
weed seeds.
To cultivate for weed control,
you must not let your hoe or harrow
.dig into the soil deeper than about 1
or 2 inches.
Deep cultivation can bring seeds
to the soil surface where they will

germinate and establish themselves
as weeds. Cultivation also increases
water loss by disturbing the soil.
Therefore, you should cultivate
shallowly to decrease water loss.
Intercropping is growing more
than one crop in the same garden at
a time. To discourage weed growth
you can grow any crop that you
want as long as the soil is always
covered. Sweet potatoes can be
grown with corn, melons with
tomatoes, or green beans with
bananas. These crops are not paired
in any special order, many combi-
nations will work. Also, crop leaves
covering the soil blocks sunlight
that would encourage weed growth.
The use of chemical herbicides
as plant killers is another option.
Chemical herbicides are either
selective or non-selective. Selective
herbicides will harm certain plants,
while non-selective herbicides will
harm all your plants. Chemical
weed control is the longest-lasting
method of weed control.
If you have tried many of these
methods and they all seem to fail,
do not be discouraged. Perhaps the
weed is edible and can be served for
supper. Weeds have a role to play
in our environment, whether it
grows among thorns, stony ground
or scorched ground.
Olasee Davis, who holds a mas-
ter of science degree in range man-
agement and forestry ecology, is a
St. Croix ecologist, activist and

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