Scott Evans fears his backyard is starting to resemble “The Little Shop of Horrors.”
Kerry Campbell says weeds are staging a hostile takeover at her place.
Evans doesn’t have a plant feasting on human flesh and blood like in the movie — yet. But all types of weeds are exploding after days of much-needed rain. They can actually grow inches overnight.
“It’s really quite amazing to watch and kind of scary in the same breath,” said Evans, the horticulture program coordinator for the Nebraska Extension in Douglas-Sarpy Counties.
Campbell is feeling the pain. It took her and a few helpers hours to tame just a section of her yard.
“I think everyone here is struggling with astounding weed growth,” she said. “My larger beds are a mess. For every one we pull, two pop up in its place.”
The big three — purslane, crabgrass and spotted spurge — have taken off in the soggy yet warm weather. Growing like gangbusters is one way Evans described it.
Those weeds like it hot and don’t germinate until late May. The more than 3 inches of rain that the Omaha area has received since Monday has forced them into hyper drive.
They’ll slow down once it turns drier, which is in the forecast. But they won’t go away.
“The best thing to do is hand pull it,” Evans said.
That may not be what gardeners want to hear, but soil conditions are perfect this weekend for that chore. Weeds are easier to pull up, roots and all, when the ground is moist.
Just make sure every bit of weed lands in a yard bag or compost pile.
“Some plants like purslane can reroot in,” Evans says. “It’s the gift that keeps on giving. Purslane is notorious for that.”
For future reference, remember that you can make a few preemptive strikes. Applying Preen in flower beds — not vegetable gardens — around Mother’s Day helps contain the weeds.
Also take advantage of grass clippings, Evans said. First put a few sheets of newspaper in your garden beds and then cover with bark mulch or grass clippings. You’ll have plenty after all the rain.
“It’s really a nice way to go,” he said.
Be patient, gardeners
The blistering weather earlier this month has many vegetable gardeners thinking it’s July already.
Evans said the extension office has received lot of calls, complaining that vegetables aren’t growing as fast as expected. But they are on track for June.
“We’re not being patient,’’ Evans said.
Temperatures over 90 can actually cause the pollen in vegetables such as tomatoes to go sterile, limiting fruit development.
The cooler weather of the past few days should help, Evans said.