Sunday, June 4, 2023

Dear Editor: What's a Weed?


Dear Editor:

The term "weed" may immediately conjure up visions of an invasive, unattractive nuisance which is the bane of gardeners and landscapers and which sends members of the public scurrying to big box stores to buy toxins in an often vain attempt to eradicate them.

But many naturally occurring plants that seem to fall into this imagined category are actually very beneficial to perpetuating and preserving healthy ecosystems.  They provide homes, food, nectar and pollen sources to a variety of insects, butterflies, birds and bees and can protect the areas against erosion.

Many wishing for tidy landscapes will actually discover that if they give certain beneficial weeds a chance and incorporate them into their gardens, they will enhance rather than detract. Since many occur naturally here, they do not require much, f any, natural drought tolerance and adaptation to this climate make them useful as we move forward toward hotter and hotter summers.

Of course, there are weeds you do not want to encourage. And there are  things that are more effective controls that do not involve harming a fragile environment and many forms of life with toxins -- toxins which may also last longer in soils and in plants than any of their manufacturers will admit to have yet discovered. Think about what has recently been made public about the hazards of Roundup. These discoveries were announced after the product had been on the market for quite a while.

Different solutions to unwanted weeds may depend on specific locations but from personal experience, I know that thick layers of shredded wood mulch or pecan shells are effective in eliminating tumbleweed. These two don't blow away or displace easily. But there are many kind, more sensible solutions.

I am aware of a recent campaign to censure Corrales property owners for having weeds on their property, and I would like to ask that this issue be carefully examined before it is universally applied. As always, educating everyone as to what is advantageous and what is not is important.

Thank you for thinking about this.

Marcia Newren



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