Hi there, group brain. I am caught between a rock and a hard place. I would appreciate your thoughts.
I have a growing patch of leafy spurge that has invaded the county ditch, electric utility right of way, and is marching up the hill into my property.
This is an introduced, invasive, incredibly hardy plant species. I didn't realize what the darn stuff was until the utility maintenance foreman knocked on my door. They come around every four years and trim the trees under the 15kV lines. I'm a reasonable guy and this work has to be done if I want reliable electricity at -46C in a blizzard. They are also taking out some danger trees that were really worrying me.
But he spotted leafy spurge growing in the utility corridor. It's on the official noxious weeds list, and they have a legal obligation to control it when they find it.
They were proposing to spray the whole works with a multi-year, persistent herbicide that kills anything broadleef (including trees). But we're in sandy soil, and the slope means this stuff could drain into natural ponds that my neighbours use for gardening (which we have encouraged - it's working!). 1 ppb will kill tomatoes, peas and beans. I have a family member who was hit by this, and it was a disaster. He had to drain his dugout and dig out all of his garden soil. And, I want to plant tame pussy willows in the hollow down the slope.
So, to prevent this, I made a commitment to control the stuff myself. But all sources say chopping, digging, and tilling only spreads it by rhizome. And, there is already a 10 year reservoir of seeds in the ground. It really is the plant from hell.
Now that it's on the radar and reported, I'm worried the county will come around and spray the same persistent stuff (and yes, that's what they use for leafy spurge). I have nothing to say about it, legally, since that is on the county road allowance. The utility guys will be back this summer and will likely check if I have done anything to make good on my commitment.
I am trying to fight the good fight. But I seem to be short on realistic options outside of endless chemical control (which isn't a solution, only a stop-gap measure). All I know for sure is that I'll still be fighting five or ten years down the road. This is not a pleasant prospect.
Has anybody out there taken on this stuff and won?
I have not fought this foe. But I took a look around. PFAF says that it is similar to alfalfa in nutrient value and is good for sheep and goats.
This is a PDF from Science.gov about biological controls.
Since I'm not at war with it I only made it through 2 pages. Really, think goats and sheep. Apparently this plant does wonders for the fiber quality of hair sheep.
Black flea beetles reduce the number of... Stems, shoots, canes that emerge from the soil.
Small everlasting is allelopathic to it. So maybe seed it, and amend the soil to what it likes. Maybe those minerals won't be liked by your leafy spurge.