By Ted Farnworth
I gave the dandelion digger a test run on the north face of the ravine to see if it would work against DSV in a real-life situation. The plot where I have been focusing my attention this year is actually starting to look like DSV is not taking over as it has done in so many other parts of the garden. But using the dandelion digger in the ravine has taught me a few lessons.
The digger is most effective on smaller plants. The jaws are able to pull out small root balls, especially from moist soil. When the DSV is growing among other plants, it is sometimes difficult to get a good grip on the roots, and so two or three pulls are necessary to get the targeted DSV out. The ravine is slopped and so placement of the digger to take best advantage of the jaws is something I need to work on.
But, for a large number of plants that I attacked on Friday morning, the digger worked very well. The stamp, pull and eject method you use with the digger soon produced a good pile of DSV root balls.But I also saw a couple of things that reinforced to me how formidable my enemy is. In the ravine there is a blue tarp that has been there at least since last summer. I’m not sure why it was put down, but while working on Friday I looked underneath the tarp. And what did I see? Many long DSV vines growing under the tarp obviously looking for the sun. The vines were long, large, pale green and yellow, but obviously alive. It was clear that they were headed to the edges of the tarp in search of sunlight. So even covering DSV may not successfully kill them.
The second observation I made concerns plants that I had dug out in previous weeks and left to die on the surface. Guess what? They didn’t all die. It seems that just a little soil and some rain is enough to keep a DSV plant going or bring it back to life. Yes, most of the root balls that I had left on the ground in the ravine had dried up, and there were no new green shoots coming from them. But others that appeared to be sitting on the soil surface had managed to get enough water and nutrients to sprout again. So, it is obvious that cutting up and exposing the root ball is not good enough. Proper disposal to prevent resprouting may be necessary.