Monday, May 4, 2015

To Kill or Not to Kill the Wisteria, For the Good of the World

I really enjoy the wisteria that grows on my back porch.  I love the giant blossoms, the bumble bees, twisting vines, and I even like the unruly way it grows and becomes such a giant tangled centerpiece for my yard.  But, I'm seriously considering killing it before I move. 

I feel bad for even thinking it, so writing it down makes me feel like a wisteria murderer before I even touch the bottle of herbicide.  

I've probably already mentioned that the wisteria was a gift from my aunt.  When it was a baby it was just a little stick with four leaves.  So cute, but so frustrating.  Why won't the stupid thing grow?!

I fussed over it and worried about it, and when baby Puck chewed it off at the ground, I was almost glad it was gone so I wouldn't be disappointed by it any more.  It responded very well to being gnawed on by a dog.  Oh boy, did it grow.  It took it nearly four years to really get started, but once it was growing, it was growing.  It's been growing for several years now, and I'm starting to get worried that it's going to take over the word.  Really.

Do you see what I discovered this spring that has me so worried?  Between Puck and Mrs. Hall, on the ground, is one of four long runners, approximately fifteen feet long, which have sprouted from the main plant and crept undetected through the summer grass, rooting at the nodes and sending up sprouts.  An invasion.  When I realized how far this thing can spread in a single year, I started hearing "feed me, Seymore!" in my mind when I pause to enjoy the flowers.  

This is an invasive plant.  It can be so invasive that it topples trees and dominates forests where it gets a foot hold.  I've seen it happen.  It's very pretty when it's in bloom.  I had a moment where I envisioned coming back to this area in the future and realizing that wisteria has dominated the landscape - taken over all the forests, crowded out the native trees, made the landscape monotonous, reduced the diversity of habitat for the wildlife, and it would all be my fault!  It would be lovely to those of us who like to look at wisteria, for sure, but hardly fair to everything else.

There's a major river not far from our house.  I used the magic of google to see that the river is approximately ten thousand fee away, and that just outside our neighborhood there are forested ravines that go all the way to the river.  So if this wisteria can spread fifteen feet each year, in only six hundred and seventy years it could reach the river, and from there spread across the state, the nation, and then the world!  Ack! What have I done?  Before I leave, I should kill it, right, just to make sure no future dweller lets it's escape the yard?  For the good of the world?  I think I should also take some of the sprouts so I can grow more wisteria at the farm.  

After taking a million picture of wisteria flowers trying, unsuccessfully, to capture the bumble bee action, this little guy took pity on me after I gave up, and settled on my blanket for a photo shoot. Looking at this picture reminds me that yesterday I saw my neighbor outside on his porch swatting bumble bees with a fly swatter.  I was shocked.  I mentioned this cruel act to Brandon and he tells me that the neighbor hates the bumblebees, and has complained to Brandon that he just can't get a handle on "all these bees".  I forget sometimes that not everyone is a friend of the six legged.  If I kill my wisteria, the bees will be sad, but maybe it will make my neighbor happy.  

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