Monday, July 21, 2014

Asparagus Fern - My Nemesis.

Asparagus setaceus
If you see this plant at your local nursery, turn around and run. Please do yourself a favor and don't buy asparagus fern (Asparagus setaceus) to plant in your garden. It takes over. It is a weed which grows where it is impossible to remove, like in cracks and around tree roots. 

It is a vigorous vining plant which tangles itself up and around trees, shrubs and fences sending shoots 15 feet long to cover anything in its path.
Oh sure, the delicate feather-like foliage is pretty, but don't be fooled.
Bower vine flowers covered in asparagus fern.
It has spikes which make wearing thick gloves a necessity while struggling to rid your plants of its grip. The berries are poisonous too, making it even more special. With its twisting habit, removing it from a shrub is a horrible chore.
 There is a corner of my yard which is definitely not Pinterest-ready. 
It's where bower vineduranta, climbing rose and jasmine collide in an entangled riot. It looks especially beautiful set off by the dead lawn and pile of sticks, don't you think? To add insult to injury, my nemesis, the dreaded asparagus fern, came to join the fracas. That was the tipping point. Something had to be done!
This was after I removed at least half of the asparagus fern which climbed 10 ft.
I removed as much of the asparagus fern as I could by just pulling it down. The plant is growing up from around the roots of the extremely thorny rose and it is so twisted around the plants I realized I could never dig it out. That's when I decided my only option was to spray it with Roundup so I headed to a nearby nursery to buy some. I hate using chemicals in the garden but it seemed to be the best option.

Like any gardener who goes to the nursery, I had to browse to see if there were any plants that were calling my name. Who can go to the nursery and just buy Roundup without having a look around? And there it was! I was thoroughly shocked to see it for sale at the nursery yesterday. For three and a half dollars you can bring home a nightmare named asparagus fern. I had never seen it for sale before. To me it would be like going to the store to buy dandelions. And at least you can eat dandelions. 

Knowing that Roundup will kill everything it touches, I had to be careful to avoid contact with the desirable plants. My method was to collect as much of the vines as I could into a mass, sort of like pulling your hair into a ponytail. I sprayed these ends of the vines and wrapped plastic around them to keep the Roundup off the other plants. 

So now in that picturesque corner of my yard there is a plastic bag filled with poisoned nastiness. Hopefully that poison will course through its veins and do away with my nemesis. Time will tell.

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