Japanese Knotweed

Written by charlie   
Friday, 17 October 2014 19:35
Japanese Knotweed, never the prettiest plant either by reputation or looks, has been more noticeable the past few weeks on the margins of  I-95 and local roads, having just finished flowering. It has been identified as being an invasive pest for over 100 years, I recall it alongside streams as a kid, and thinking it was bamboo. My friends and I would run through  knotweed thickets and use the stems as swords and spears. Today its much more widespread -  and just as pernicious.  Fortunately for small blessing, since there are only female Japanese knotweed plants, the presence of flowers doesn't mean its reproducing since there is no fertilization via pollen. This is certainly not to say that Japanese knotweed cannot colonize new areas, it  spreads quite readily via cuttings and rhizomes.  A piece of root the size of a dime is enough create a new plant, and begin colonizing a susceptible area.
In the UK, it  endemic and has been much more visible battle, to the point that any soil with knotweed roots is considered contaminated, and must be disposed of properly.  Yes, it is that pernicious.  There is now a requirement during the mortgage process that the owner has to certify that the property is either knotweed free or it is being actively treated.
The best practice for eradication is spray, cut and repeat annually.   The process must be repeated for 5 years to be declared knotweed free.   Why is it  so difficult to get rid of?  One answer - its rhizomes, or roots.  The roots, a large misshapen mass, stretch for  yards in every direction, sits underneath the stems as a source of energy, and has enough strength to push its shoots through any crack.  If the foliage and stems are removed, the plant has enough energy stored in its roots to push up additional stems, again and again.  Once the stems are through the soil, photosyntheisis takes over and the energy that was expended by the roots to push up the stems, can now be replenished easily due to its fast growth.
Sources and Further Reading:
http://www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov/plants/knotweed.shtml
http://wiki.bugwood.org/Archive:BCIPEUS/Japanese_Knotweed
 
 

Python Hosting

Written by charlie   
Thursday, 11 September 2014 17:01

Just a quick shoutout to PythonAnywhere!  I have been tinkering with some Python code for a web app and needed to set up Django or web2py, but didn't want to modify a live server or set up an additonal server solely for testing.   I signed up for the free service, and was able to easily choose a version of python, add modules,  set up a Mysql database or a run cron job. I added web2py in less than 30 seconds, with one eye on the game, in comparison to the grief I would have encountered setting it up on a shared server.  For my needs, I found it perfect for running a small test environment and it is highly recommended.

 

Words of the Day

Written by charlie   
Sunday, 20 July 2014 02:05
Some new words of the day:

One of my favorite scents is the first minute or two of during a storm, the scent of rain on bare earth.  Apparently it has had a official name all this time.... Petrichor.  Who knew?

Ruderal species, also known as pioneer species, are hardy plants among the first to colonize disturbed areas (recent construction or the sides of a roadway for example), and often stabilize soils.  Depending on the species, they can also outlive their welcome if its an invasive that does not allow the succession of native species.
Additional reading:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petrichor
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruderal_species
 
 
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