Monday, August 27, 2007
Attack Dog ....fennel.
This is where I stopped mowing on the East side of the pond bank. (Is it still a pond if there's no
water in it?)
Dog Fennel (Eupatorium capillifolium) is a pretty common brushy weed in the east and especially in wet Florida. It's way too common for my taste. It loves my pond area and produces dense thickets that provide the deer with secret bed-down sites which is good, and according to the Florida extension service, it is actually a butterfly nectar plant ... something I never would have suspected.
I am not a big fan of it, as it fills in areas I'd rather keep grassy and it stinks. I know smell is in the nose of the besmeller, but I think dog fennel stinks.
But then I'm not crazy about real fennel either.
When the annual stem of the dog fennel dies, it becomes a dry, easily snapped off stick. As kids, we had many a sword fight and spear chucking battle with these. These days, I do battle with the dog fennel itself. When it's still only a few feet tall I mow it with the mowflex, a tiny push mower that we abuse here at PFHQ.
After it gets overhead like it is now, you have to wade in to it with a machete, swinging like you are Aragorn battling the Orc hordes. Of course if I had Rurality's DR Brushmower thingie, I'd really be able to whip some dog fennel butt. Then again, I might be tempted to do more than I should and then where would the mammals of mass destruction (deer) make their beds?
The important thing to remember when dealing with dog fennel is to keep your machete close and never, ever turn you back on it. It's bigger than you are (well, me anyway) and it's very, very sneaky.
The almost invisible blue arrow on the left is pointing to the dog fennel frontier where the pics above were taken. That whole bank was covered in young dog fennel (pup fennel?) earlier, but I mowed most of it while I could.
The grassy depression is my "pond" as long time readers know. If you hit the summer 2004 archives, you can see it nice and full during a wonderful summer of tropical storm after tropical storm. The pond is not currently bone dry. There is a puddle down in the green bottom that is about ten feet long and a foot deep.
I still have hopes for a refilled pond since the best part of hurricane season is still in front of us.