Saturday, September 7, 2013

Where has all the crabgrass gone? Update on eliminating crabgrass from the patio

It's only been a month since my last update, but I am very happy to report total SUCCESS on one of my many ventures this summer. There is no crabgrass on the patio. Where has all the crabgrass gone? You may ask yourself.

Into this bucket!

This was the last of it. And believe me there were many such buckets all summer long. This last one was captured on August 15 and I am pleased to report that today, September 7, 3 weeks and 2 days later, there is still no crabgrass. I have gotten out ahead of it -- for about 3 minutes.

You can track the allies who came to my aid on the various posts on this topic under the topic "patio crabgrass" to the right of the home page. But a picture is worth a thousand words they say, and here are the photos.

Patio back to front and side to side, this past weekend:

Close-up of the worst side:

You can clearly see that there are indeed other weeds on the patio, such as this interesting creature:

The friendly weeds are a part of the defensive strategy and except for a few clover are much easier to root out than crabgrass. I also have "friendly fire," so to speak, in the form of several different types of thyme. Here is how they have fared.

Creeping thyme, which went in last September. The difference between its growing over bricks and between bricks seems to be light foot traffic. A bit of foot traffic seems to confine it to the places where it is rooted. Not totally sure, because these bits don't get much foot traffic.

Wooly thyme, planted this June or so. So far, the tendency of this one is to mound up into a circle, rather than creeping along between bricks. I haven't  made up my mind about this one.

Pink chintz thyme, just planted a few months ago. This spreads very rapidly with long runners. You can see them in the second photo. It also blooms in late summer (rather than early summer like the rest). It's pretty and a welcome addition.

Mint thyme. These were planted about this time last year. This mounds, too, and so far most of what I've planted has not really put out shoots along the nearby cracks, though you can see in the lower photo a mint thyme that is starting to grow out perpendicular fashion. Also, it tends to die out easily from the center when it is too dry or gets foot traffic, so the jury is out on this one too.

Minus thyme. People say this is a low grower, but the bit I planted has mounded. Jury is still out on this one.

This photo shows two types growing in two different ways -- I really don't know which variety either of these are. Ultimately, part of my thought is just to introduce enough diversity that the patio gets populated by thyme, period, rather than crabgrass.

And, the winner by far: elfin thyme. This confines itself to the cracks between the bricks and tolerates heavy foot traffic. The one drawback, it grows unbelievably slowly. These bits have been in place for more than a year.  So they're not much competition for the crabgrass, and won't be for a long while, most likely. Still, I have decided, when I get the time, to order plugs of this variety and plant them all over the entire  patio and let it take its time to fill in.

Finally, for wet and shady spots, this little creature named Corsican Mint (a mint, not a thyme) is settling in quite nicely. It dies back anywhere there is too much sun or not enough moisture, but in several shady, protected areas of the patio it has not only survived the month-long drought of July, but even prospered. The only hesitation is that some of my research indicated it might be an aggressive grower, like all mints, and so I am waiting to see whether it is able to co-exist nicely with my other shade denizens or not.

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