Stopping nuisance plants:
-- Read up before you buy. "It's really important to educate yourself before you plant something new," said Judy McClure of the Sacramento County University of California Cooperative Extension master gardeners. "Stop problems before they start."
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-- PlantRight, a San Francisco Bay Area-based program created by the California Horticultural Invasives Prevention (CHIP) partnership, offers a lot of information on potential problem plants online (www.plantright.org). The program is working with master gardeners and wholesale growers to cut down on sales and distribution of potentially invasive plants that can threaten wildlife areas and native species.
-- Problem plants usually spread by runners or seed. Tackle spreading plants when young. Pull by hand, or use a shovel.
-- After removing problem plants, cover area with landscape fabric and mulch, said Don Shor of Redwood Barn Nursery in Davis, Calif. That helps smother sprouts.
-- Eliminate irrigation for the problem area. "Without water, the plants can't grow," said Ellen Zagory of the University of California, Davis, Arboretum. But transplant what you want to save first.
-- Use herbicides such as Roundup as a last resort. Always read the label and follow directions. "If herbicides are not applied at the right time in the right amount, they're totally useless," McClure said. "You've got to read the instructions. Also, 'weed and feed' (lawn products) can harm nearby shallow-rooted trees or shrubs."
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