Trying To Keep The Pokeweed From Growing

Pokeweed poking through the edge of the black plastic sheeting.

It’s been a wonderful weekend for gardening.  There were reports of lots of rain, wind and hail, but fortunately, we only got a shower which watered the pastures and the gardens.

My hope was to get the dahlia garden planted, but before I did that I wanted to try to prevent the pokeweed, which is taking over the barnyard, from growing.

Pokeweed is a native perennial that has many uses.  The berries attract birds, butterflies and bees, and can be used for dying fabric.  But is toxic to sheep.

As far as I can tell, my sheep have always kept their distance from it. But last year I  noticed some of their wool was stained purple with berry juice (Pokeweed is also known as Inkberry because the juice from the berries was also used to make ink.)

So I decided that this year I would do my best to stop the pokeweed from growing.

It’s not an easy thing to do without using a chemical like Roundup.  Last year I tried to keep up with them by cutting them down.  But they grew too fast.  In the fall I tried digging some up, but the stems and roots are thick and deep.

So yesterday I covered the area where the pokeweed grows with black plastic sheeting. I don’t know if it will work, but I imagine it will at least kill off some of the plants or keep them from spreading.

I’ve been trying to figure out a way to deter the pokeweed from growing for a few years, but after Pumpkin died last fall, I got more serious about it.  I don’t know if it had anything to do with Pumpkin dying but I don’t want it to tempt them either.

Luckily there are plenty of rocks from the old barn foundation right where the pokeweed grows so I was able to use them to hold down the plastic.

I’ll let you know if it works.

Black plastic covering the Pokeweed

3 thoughts on “Trying To Keep The Pokeweed From Growing

  1. Pokeweed, my nemesis. You do need to watch the edges of the black plastic as it tries to escape to the light! And yes would like an update if you have been successful in your battle.

  2. Another thought about pokeweed: last fall a neighbor dug out a large bush on the back end of her property. Don’t know if any sprouted up again, but hopefully there will be no berries this year. I am always uprooting just sprouted seeds and expect to for a long time as they have a long life in seed banks. So even if you can’t get them out by the roots, preventing them from flowering and fruiting is a help to the environment. Birds might not agree with me.

    1. That’s what I was thinking Sharon, to stop it from sprouting. I imagine it will take more than one season or maybe I’ll just be able to cut back enough on them so I can manage them better.

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