single tap root on young dahne

Conquering Daphne

It’s a fabulous season for finding my inner guerilla.  On my morning walk I noticed a bunch of healthy daphne / spurge-laurel beside a wooded trail.

I have a paradoxical relationship with daphne.
I like it because its evergreen, drought tolerant, and deer resistant…
BUT the Coastal Invasive Species Committee call it invasive.
AND daphne has poisonous berries & wicked toxic sap that irritates eyes & skin.
BESIDES that – – there are less offensive options to replace daphne.

daphne beside trail
photo by SVSeekins

The rainy season & my mood convinced me that today I didn’t like it.  So I decided to pull some daphne closest to the trail edge & my gloved hands.

I braced my feet,
bent my knees,
gripped the main stalk,

Lo & behold the daphne slipped out of the ground easily!  Roots and all!  Woo hoo!

I felt like pounding my chest & letting out a guerilla roar!

I moved to another… and another.   🙂

tap root of a young daphne ws
photo by SVSeekins
developed root of an older daphne
photo by SVSeekins

A young daphne has one primary root, so in winter’s wet soil it pulls out readily.  If it’s a couple of years older, it has more developed roots securing it in the ground .  Even so, it comes out without much trouble at all!

In about 10 minutes I pulled 86 daphne!
(Seriously!!  I counted.)

daphne pulled in about 10 minutes
photo by SVSeekins

There were more still standing beside the trail but I had places to go…
so I left those behind for another day.

This is certainly the best time of year to conquer daphne.

I reckon I’ll add a little daphne pulling to my morning walk.

How’s this for an exercise regimen:

  • get fit
  • roar like a guerilla
  • AND conquer an invasive!

Why not?

© SVSeekins and Garden Variety Life, 2014

4 thoughts on “Conquering Daphne”

  1. Be carful not to get any of the plant juice on your skin. You can get a burn when the juice on skin is exposed to sunlight.

  2. I just love pulling those little plant out of the ground. I was wondering if the larger plants could be cut off at the ground or does the root ball come back to life? Is the same for the Scottish Broom? My daughter and I have become self appointed Stewards of the Canada trail behind our house, maybe not the whole trail but some is a start. SV, I thought I could hear a roar in the forest the other day. Greg

    1. That’s cool about your trail stewardship! Congrats. I find the fastest way to get rid of invasives is to pull them right out of the ground. At this time of the year, with the soil so moist & the blackberry softened up, the job is super easy compared to trying it in summer!! Sometimes I don’t get all of the roots, and usually the plant does comes back BUT then I just keep cutting it back whenever it reappears. If it can’t feed itself, it won’t survive. Last year I cleaned up a 4-6 foot radius around a gary oak that was being tortured by blackberry & ivy. I must’ve hauled away 20 tarp loads of debris… this year I returned to find some ivy & blackberry had grown back. 1 tarp later & the area was tidy, & I was off to rescue another tree further down the trail…

      1. If you run across invasives at a time when pulling isn’t an option, it’s still good to coppice them (cut them off at the ground) – – at least then the plant won’t have as much chance to flower & go to seed, making the situation worse… Although some plants are freaking amazing – – here’s a project to do with your daughter, experiment to find which plants will still flower & go to seed even after they’ve been cut off from their roots. Those are DETERMINED plants!


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.