The Good, the Bad and the Very, Very Bad
Check out these books about bugs, weeds, berries and mushrooms
By George Graine, Fairfax Master Gardener
“There’s nothing so good that there isn’t a little bad in it and nothing so bad that there isn’t a little good in it.” – Graine family quote
St. Lynn’s Press has published a novel series of four books you may find useful, each exploring its own subject — bugs, weeds, berries and mushrooms – and shedding light on its good and bad characters.
Each book is easy to use for anyone who likes to garden and wants to avoid some of the frustrations that are a part of this hobby. The contents are described below, but in general, they are all useful for the following reasons: First, each is a compact size (6”x7”), small enough for use as a field guide. Second, all are spiral-bound with matte-laminated, heavy-stock pages and color photos for each subject. And, third, the written descriptions are succinctly noted on every page without a lot of horticultural jargon.
Good Weed — Bad Weed: Who’s Who, What to Do, and Why Some Deserve a Second Chance
by Nancy Gift (2011).
Weed books are often difficult to comprehend, sometimes intimidating. Often these books are so full of information that you might say something like, “Help, I’m getting lost in the weeds!” Do not fear because this author has written a very different kind of weed book. The book depicts in color 44 weeds (eight bad, eight not-so-bad, and 28 good) and describes life cycles, benefits or drawbacks, and best method of organic control (often by pulling or using a dandelion prong). Additionally, each weed is indicated by season of the year.
You may have heard the expression that a weed is a plant out of place, but it is not absolutely necessary to kill every weed. An example of a “good” weed is clover. (Please don’t sigh.) This weed contributes nitrogen to the soil; therefore, less fertilizer is needed. Furthermore, clover is not part of the lawn-grub (bad guy) diet, so that means less reliance on control. Contrast clover with the annual “bad” weed –- crabgrass. If allowed to survive, this weed will produce a zillion seeds that could eventually out-compete turf. By applying a pre-emergent control at the proper time, you will often smother most of the potential crabgrass seedlings before they erupt.