GARDENING WITH GARETH – DOCK LEAVES AND WHALE’S JAWBONES!

first_imgBroad leafed docks.Docks are a plant/weed we all know, from its ability to soothe a sting from a nettle to its stubborn appearance on lawns.They belong to the Rumex genus of plants, and in a common hedgerow you’ll find curled and broad leaved docks, and on wet soils you’ll find the zesty common sorrel aka Juicy Leaf.What is surprising to most people is that docks are edible, the high oxalic acid content of the common sorrel is what provides the distinctive flavour, the broad leaved and narrow leaved docks don’t have the same oxalic content so are less ‘zesty’ but are still edible. Docks are troublesome in the garden and indeed in the field due to their ability to reproduce sexually (ie from seeds) and asexually (ie from vegetable parts).The roots of docks are super fleshy and new plants will regrow from small inch sections, so if you’ve ever had a new lawn sown out and took a cultivator to it you’ve experienced this first hand…with the growth of hundreds, even thousands of new baby docks. And in arable fields you can see the distinctive seed heads of docks sitting high in the crop, waiting to drop their 60,000 seeds, which can stay viable in the soil for 80 years!So one broad leaved dock allowed to flower and seed could give you a serious dock problem for your lifetime, so as with all weeds its best to manage any issue before they flower, thus reducing weed burden in the future.There are different methods to deal with Docks, firstly its to Dig em up!…but this sounds way easier than it actually is. Docks can have a massive tap root, with an extensive root system, on a mature Dock this could be 3’ deep and 3’ wide – obviously digging up when they’re young is easier. For established clumps it’s more effective to use a selective herbicide, or you can spot treat individual docks. Any herbicide containing active ingredients triclopyr and clopyralid will be effective, or if you had some glyphosate you can treat individual weeds with spot applications.The best time to treat docks is when they are actively growing, but before they get too big, so if they’re large cut them first and then when they are regrow spot treat.As with any product killed by a herbicide don’t add the resulting cuttings from the lawn or dead foliage material to the compost bin, as you’re in danger of contaminating the whole compost heap with residual weedkiller.Where we chatted about Clover last week and I encouraged you to embrace the clover in the case of Docks I’d remove every last one!…but keep the sorrel in the hedgerow…its one of the earliest salad crops you’ll harvest in the year.Our garden of focus this week is the garden of Carmel and Martin McLaughlin, located beside the Blue Haven Hotel in Kilcar. This is a jaw droppingly stunning garden, a real plantsman garden. Full of wonder and intrigue. Occupying a sloping site facing the sea Martin and Carmel have created a terraced garden which demands you walk through and explore. Created using a series of inviting pathways and gentle slopes which have focal points at regular intervals, with spectacular use of tropical plants and containers.A highlight for me was the fern stream which runs through the garden, this is hard to explain, its like a sunken jungle in the second lower terrace, which you then leave by going back up to the lowest terrace, which is turn is full to bursting with glorious perennials.Through the garden there are super unusual plants, interesting artwork and stunning containers….including 2 massive whale jaw bones!Gareth AustinGareth Austin is resident Horticulturist with BBC Radio Foyle, a member of the Chartered Institute of Horticulturists and Horticultural Lecturer with the National Learning Network. For more see www.garethaustin.com or join Gareth on Twitter @GardenerGareth .GARDENING WITH GARETH – DOCK LEAVES AND WHALE’S JAWBONES! was last modified: August 29th, 2015 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:GardeningGareth Austinlast_img

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