Pokeweed in Michigan - keep or remove?
October 12, 2013 7:21 PM Subscribe
I live in southern Michigan, and am the new owner of an old garden. The gentleman who owned our house previously was ill for about 2 years before he passed away, so the gardens have been untended for somewhere between 3-5 years. I have 9 pokeberry plants. I think they're pretty, the birds like them, and the neighbor with whom I share the fence likes them fine. I'd like to keep 2-3 of the plants. Am I an idiot for not pulling them all?
(Info about kids and pets under the "more inside.)
posted by RogueTech to home & garden (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Because the garden beds were untended, we have weeds. Tons of weeds. I have pulled out hundreds of bittersweet nightshade plants, grape vines, thistles, vinca that's trying to take over the world, poison ivy, we have Virginia creeper that has taken over the fence line, etc. I'm finding lots of lovely plants underneath the weeds, which is great! But I'll be surprised if I go through less than 150 lawn/yard bags by the time I'm done clearing the beds.
The pokeberry plants are along the back fence line, about a half acre away from the house, and quite pretty and the birds love them. We do not have kids, don't plan on having kids, don't plan on getting a dog, and rarely have kids over (and those that do come over are older, well-supervised and live with gardeners, so know to not eat anything from the yard without checking first). The neighbor with whom we share the fence likes the pokeberries fine and has already let me know that she sprays RoundUp along the fence line each spring, although I wonder if she'll keep doing that once I get the beds under control. She also does not have kids and does not plan to have kids.
In any case, I figure if pokeberry was super invasive in my area, I'd have a lot more than 9 plants. I figure I'd have hundreds, just as I have hundreds of the other types of common weeds.
Basically, I'm planning on cutting the plants back to only 2-3. Is there anything that I'm not taking into account? Am I just getting suckered in on good looks and a reputation for bringing in birds?