An Ounce of Prevention or a Pound of Cure
Humor by Tom McLaughlin
For all of you who live and work in Frederick City, or whose lives are spent on 270 running the government into the ground, it is now time for spring weed control in the pastures and fields of the farmlands we are so eager to protect.
According to Terry Poole, the agriculture extension agent, the most worrisome of the weeds so far are the "prohibited noxious weeds" that include thistles and the multi-flora rose.
The battle against these invaders has yet to reach Code Red so precautions must now be taken to eliminate the threat. The arsenal includes herbicides 2, 4 D, Banvel and Roundup. I am not sure if there are three separate chemicals of just two. Like, should 2, 4 D be counted as one, or is it Banvel's first name. The enemy includes Canada Thistle and Nodding Musk Thistle which can choke out a producing field in one season.
The Canada Thistle is one of the most difficult weeds to destroy. The border between our two countries has not been secure in many years and these invaders have drifted across into out pastures under the watchful eyes of the Border Patrol.
Often wrapped around pot to disguise their entry, they then become established and eventually over take our native grasses while the pot is joyfully smoked by everyone but the cancer patients who really need it.
Frederick farmers have followed the Ag Department guidelines, while owners of the McMansions have waged an all out campaign against this Canadian monster by using the time honored method of applying enough chemical to one plant to eradicate the entire wildlife populations of the Chesapeake Bay.
The nodding musk thistle, not as strong as the Canada variety, is used as an after shave balm for wimps. The new Woody Allen variety is one example, with the Truman Capote Nodding Musk Thistle Balm on the market this fall. The Nodding one has a whiter mid rib while the Canada one exhibits larger rhizomes. I doubt anyone gets close enough to one to look at these particularly sensitive parts of thistles. "Yup, that a thistle" most say; same as "Yup, that's a shark," without bothering to find out its origins or sleeping habits.
Everyone who has attempted any kind of gardening from window boxes to thousand of acres knows Roundup is like dropping an atomic bomb on plant life. It kills everything including sedges have edges and rushes are round. And if you spray anything anywhere close to sedges and rushes, Wetland Homeland Security will send you to Guantanimo Bay.
Insiders joke: sedges and rushes grow in protected wetlands. To tell them apart roll them between your thumb and forefinger. Rushes will roll while sedges will not. (I used to teach botany) Roundup will not stay in the soil and you can reseed afterwards, but the cows will have a tendency to sing "Git Along Little Doggy" as try to gather together for Wichita where the lineman is still on the line. Whatever did happen to Glen Campbell?
Other chemicals in the fight have such masculine sounding names as Cimarron, Stinger and Crossbow, sure killers in the war against thistles. To give you an idea of the strength of Cimmaron, you use only three tenths of an ounces per acres or one pint per hundred acres. I have no idea how much .three tenths of an ounce is, but I know one pint would never last me a walk over 100 acres during my drinking days.
Crossbow is specific for woody plants and can level a Redwood forest with just one drop per 100 gallons. Stinger offers the best control for the Canada thistle and cows can graze after the application, according to the article. I don't know about you but I wouldn't touch the milk.
Redeem takes care of the Canada thistle and, every other year, the dreaded bull musk thistle. The Bull Musk Thistle has been responsible for the disappearance of lawyers who then turn up as mediators in domestic cases.
Next time you are swilling a martini be sure to go over to the fence and ask the local farmer if his thistle problem is being treated properly. Then duck as he fires a stinger from his Crossbow, especially if you have a Canadian accent.