JARS v40n3 - Weeds, An Afterthought

Weeds, An Afterthought
John Buschmann, New Canton, Virginia

Reprinted from the "Mid-Atlantic Rhododendron News and Notes", Middle Atlantic Chapter.

Noting with chagrin the damage of last fall's dry spell, the effects of the winter's extremes of temperature (-3 to 73 degrees F) and dryness, then the knockout blow of 10 to 15 degrees F on April 10th, I wanted to grasp anything that would help plants make it through the trials of living.
During the course of this strange spring (dry, wet, dry) and dry summer (total of 8 weeks with no rain) there was plenty of opportunity to observe. The first thing that caught my eye was the rows of dead plants all nice and neat in their clean mulched sunny beds. When I walked around to other sites here and there, there were live young plants. Why was this? Here were just last year's cuttings, too. I reminded myself to get those weeds before they took over.
Wait a minute - WEEDS. I decided I should go look at some more places. Daggone if it wasn't so. Those young plants, too, were growing right with the weeds.
Yes, they helped me again; WEEDS gave my young plants the protection all the other procedures could not and brought them through a very stressful period. I was over at a friend's nursery and noted his weedy potted plants. Every time the pots were dry, the weeds wilted first. They surely made a good hydrometer.
Well, as the days moved along and the work had to be done, yes, I pulled WEEDS and said THANKS.