Hare barley is a harmful plant

Hare barley seed heads showing awns that can be harmful to pets
Hare barley seed heads showing awns

Hare barley and some other grasses,  such as foxtail barley and purple three awn grass, have characteristics that can be harmful to pets.  These grasses are harmful plants that have awns, long threadlike extensions from the florets in the seed head.  These awn have very small backward angled spines.  These awn can enter a pets eyes, nostrils, ears, or even penetrate their skin.  The backward spines prevent the awns from working out the way they entered, they only work deeper into the eyes, nostrils, ears, or skin.  A few years ago my pet Brittany, Joy, had one enter between her toes and work deeply into her paw.  She began limping and the veterinarian had to extract the awn.  This is when I learned that this is an extremely common problem for pets.

Hare barley seed heads developing
Hare Barley

In a year like this year when there has been little rain (just over 1 inch from October to late April), anything green seems to be a blessing, but that may not be the case, especially if you have pets.  In garden hare barley and foxtail barley are sprouting and the hare barley is beginning to produce seed heads.  I think I have eliminated purple three awn grass from my garden, but I will be watching for it.  All these grasses are pretty, so it is tempting to allow them to remain, but if you have pets it is best to eliminate these grasses.

There are herbicides labeled for management of these grass weeds and other harmful plants, but if you are like me and have pets you may prefer to use manual means of weed management.  Hoeing them when they first appear in late winter is helpful.  If they are numerous and you cannot manage them by hoeing, you can use a torch to burn them, but be careful that you do not start a fire or damage desirable nearby plants.  This year’s drought has been a blessing in limiting the number of plants that are growing to a relatively manageable few in my garden.  I have been pulling, digging, and hoeing them for several months.  Now, as the seed heads form and I can specifically identify the worst of the weed grasses, those with harmful awns, I can specifically target those plants.

A poem: SOON SPRING WILL COME AND LIFE RENEW

I’m a little late with this.  The renewing has begun!

 

SOON SPRING WILL COME AND LIFE RENEW

The world is still and quiet out

The trees their leaves are now without

Just sticks of gray and brown to see

And Winter now depresses me.

 

The flowers long ago did die

The leaves turned brown with somber sigh.

The silence of the falling snow

Has hushed the sound of plants that grow.

 

Alone and sad I now recall

The life I saw ‘fore leaves did fall.

In crushing pain I now await

The return of Spring’s appointed date.

 

A cluster of white oriental pear blossoms with pink stamens against a blue sky and out of focus pine tree behind the blossoms
Oriental pear blossoms

And then, oh joy, will life arise

The gift of God will feast my eyes

As gold, then green adorns the tree

And flowers in the meadows be.

 

Pink quince blossoms and pubescent new quince leaves
Quince blossoms

And though I know of winter’s need,

To rest the life and cool the seed,

I still rejoice when spring does show

And melt away the winter snow.

 

Fresh food I’ll have to please my taste

Such pleasure after winter’s wait.

A time of joy when life anew.

And Easter calls to mind the Truth.

 

Curtis

Photos

How to tell if seed are good

I often have seed left from previous years and wonder if they are viable.  Sometimes my plants will surprise me with seeds, but these seed often are not viable and do not grow.  Testing the ability of these seeds to germinate saves time and space in my garden.  Recently my gerbera daisy made seeds, so I tested them.  I also found some one-year old liatris seeds that I decided to test.

I put the seeds into sealable plastic bags on moistened paper towels, each type in separate bags:

Gerbera seed test
Liatris seed test

 

After a couple of weeks the liatris seed were sprouting, but there was no sign of growth in the gerbera seeds:

Liatris seedings closeup

I carefully removed the sprouted liatris seedlings from the moist paper towel and placed them into pots of potting soil:

Liatris seedlings and forceps ready for planting
Liatris seedling planted in potting soil

They are growing well and I will transplant them to the garden later in the spring, or give some to friends.

Aphid infestation reduced and returning to Kalanchoe

After treatment with Neem oil extract and Pyrethrin insecticides most of the aphids are gone, but there are new ones, especially young ones .  Repeated treatment is required in these situations. Rapidly reproducing pests such as aphids require one or two retreatments after a few days.

Kalanchoe
close-up of Kalanchoe

Photography reveals insect infestation

Today I decided to photograph the interesting flowers of my Bryophyllum pinnatum (Kalanchoe pinnatum). Upon looking at the photo immediately after taking the picture I discovered that the plant was infested with aphid insects. This is a benefit of digital cameras, you can immediately see the picture. This plant was in a south-facing (brightly lit) window behind other plants so that I could not easily get close enough to discover the insects. The camera proved extremely useful.

Bryophyllum pinnatum (Kalanchoe pinnatum) with aphid infestation

Southwest GardenSmith!

Welcome to Southwest GardenSmith.

The Southwestern U.S. is beautiful, full of history, and a challenging place to garden.  However, some things are best grown here; others are challenging, but worth growing.

New Mexico sunset

From the beautiful sunsets, to the beautiful flowers and hazardous spines of the cacti, to the delicious, fiery chile peppers this is a wonderful place to live.  To learn more about me visit my Welcome Page.