Pulling out a single weed…

I have a compulsive behavior. I learned to control it, above all. But the other day, it got the better of me.

I was at Reinhart Park in Idaho Falls watching my granddaughter play in the wading pool. We took her to the play area and helped her play for a few minutes, then followed her as she explored her world. I love watching young children explore their world. It’s a nice little park and it gets a lot of use. Everyone seemed to be having a good time.

As she made her way to the edge of the playground, I gasped when I noticed she walked right over a patch of puncturevine, known to many as a goat’s head. My first thought was to make sure she was wearing shoes. Fortunately, she was. Then my compulsion got the better of me – I started ripping up that patch of punched vine and couldn’t stop until it was completely out of the ground and into the trash.

Weeds at the edge of a playground. | Ron Patterson, EastIdahoNews.com

This got me thinking, what if everyone who goes to a public place pulls out a single obvious weed during their visit? I say obvious because some plants are not weeds for the Parks and Recreation Department. But there are obvious weeds – Kochia, puncturevine, redroot pigweed, prostrate pigweed, prickly lettuce, knotweed, spotted spurge, common mallow, green foxtail, red filariasis, western salsify, morning glory, musk thistle, etc.

No matter how pretty it is, if a plant grows where there shouldn’t be plants, it’s a weed.

At this time of year, there are many summer perennial and annual weeds that flower and set seed. If we can get them out of the ground and put them in the trash before the seeds fall, we will make great strides in reducing weed problems in our area, at least in public parks. If everyone who goes to a public park, county or state fair pulls out just one weed, even a small seedling. Weeds would eventually lose the war.

Weeds don’t recognize property lines, so we all have a responsibility in our war on weeds.

Of course, new seeds will come with the wind or with tumbleweeds, so the job will never really be done. But we should all participate in beautifying our public places — and it would help me with my compulsive behavior…

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