The thing about weeds is that pretty much any plant can be one. The qualification for being a weed is that you are a plant that someone doesn’t like. This opinion is based on years of research talking to dozens of people in the farming/gardening community here in Mancos, CO.
For the most part I am indifferent to weeds. I like having a yard of somewhat uniform grass to mow and look at, but I am not a lawn aficionado. If some thistle shows up in my lawn I will probably pull it up. If bind weed shows up I will ignore it.
The catch to this is on my trails and gravel patio. In those areas the presence of any plant is problematic as it interferes with the area’s purpose. The purpose of a trail is to allow for unimpeded travel. A plant in a trail can impede travel by tripping you or getting stuck in your wheel. The purpose of a gravel patio is to create a space set apart from the grasses and other plants. Having a single plant there is not a problem. The problem is when there are hundreds of plants.
This was the issue facing us after letting the plants take over our gravel patio this spring. When we first got back on the land we were using the patio all the time. The weather was still chilly so we fired up the wood fire pit and the propane fire pit every night. Then the cedar gnats showed up and dove us inside.
When we first visited Mancos in 2017 we stayed in an area with no cedar gnats. Then we bought our land and the first summer were told how bad the gnats were, but didn’t see them that year. It was a very very dry year though. Last year was a wet year but we spent late May and June traveling to Europe and missed the gnats. Our dog-sitters who stayed on the land did not miss them and they also bit up our dogs. This is the first year we have been on the land and it hasn’t been a total drought, and the gnats have been a problem.
These are biting gnats and they are really small and annoying and they bite you and spit anti-coagulant which irritates the heck out of you. They are bad during the day and even worse at sunset. They are so bad we are planning on traveling next June already.
Since we stopped using the patio because of the gnats we let the plants take over. Things got out of control and then we just stopped trying to do anything and it went full on jungle. My mother and step dad are visiting us tomorrow so we figured it would be a good time to clean up the patio. There is only one tool for this job: the Rogue Hoe!
The technique here it pretty straight forward: dig up the gravel and the plants come up with it. The execution is a bit more strenuous and tiring. After 3 hours it was done and the difference is amazing. Now we just need to stay vigilant so the jungle doesn’t return.
3 hours of weeding.