Lowcountry garden experts offer advice on combatting pervasive Virginia buttonweed | Features

The luscious lawns fronting Lowcountry homes aren’t immune to the warm-weather weeds that can leave lasting effects. 

Doveweed, nutsedge and chamberbitter are a few troublesome herbs that garden caretakers regularly encounter during spring and summer months when they fight to maintain healthy green spaces. 

Gardening: Diagnosing a plant pest problem takes some legwork

But Lowcountry residents have increasingly encountered what some agree to be the monster of all weeds, one that returns and keeps attacking no matter how many times it’s sprayed with herbicides during the summer, or dug out of the ground.

The Virginia buttonweed is deeply rooted and thrives in overly moist lawns. The pervasive, dark-green turfgrass weed that produces tiny white flowers above ground can be seen in yards across the Charleston region. It sprawls across yards with no mercy, often leaving behind brown patches.

It isn’t only impacting South Carolina residents. 

Virginia buttonweed

Carol Turnwald Feldhaus works to get rid of the Virginia buttonweed in her Summerville front yard Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. The pervasive plant has invaded lawns across the Lowcountry and proves difficult to uproot. The plant is considered the “monster of all weeds,” according to some experts. It’s dark green and often identified by its white, above-ground flowers. Brad Nettles/Staff

The weed is rapidly spreading along Atlantic Coastal states and is now spreading inland in the United States, said Bert McCarty, professor of turfgrass science at Clemson University.

Randy Howie, who works in the diagnostics center at Hyams Garden and Accent Store, regularly sees customers who bring the plant to the store asking for solutions.

“The Virginia buttonweed has been the No. 1 thing people have brought in,” he said.

The weed has gained a presence in homeowner’s yards mainly due to its ability to produce both above and below-ground flowers, which in turn produce viable seeds, McCarty said.

Therefore, even it the tops are controlled or removed, the plant can still reproduce from below-ground seeds.

Summerville's Katie's Krops reflects on over a decade of national community garden work

What makes it even more frustrating is the herbicides used to kill Virginia buttonweed aren’t effective in weather above 90 degrees.

Howie recommends Weed Free Zone, but the product is only effective during cooler months, when the temperature is below 90.

Homeowners also can use Image Kills Nutsedge, though the product will only suppress the plant, not eradicate it.

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The main way people can combat the pervasive weed is with preventive measures, such as applying pre-emergent products in February, then again in May or early June. Doing so prevents buttonweed seeds left over from the previous year from germinating and producing more weeds the following summer.

“The key is prevention,” Howie said. “Preventing it as much as you can is going to give you the best control.”

Virginia buttonweed

Carol Turnwald Feldhaus works to eliminate Virginia buttonweed in her Summerville front yard Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. The pervasive plant has invaded lawns across the Lowcountry and proves difficult to uproot.

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Two former Illinois governors, now out of prison, have advice for House Speaker Michael Madigan

Two former Illinois governors who served time in federal prison have some unsolicited advice for Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.

George Ryan standing in front of a building

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Former Gov. George Ryan, who served prison time for federal corruption charges, was the Speaker of the House before Madigan was elected speaker in 1983.


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“I always got along with Mike and we worked together pretty much to get things done for the state and we worked together when I was speaker and when I was governor,” Ryan said in an interview. “Mike’s got his hands full, I think.”

Ryan, a Republican, is doing interviews promoting his book, “Until I Could Be Sure,” which focuses on his steps to stop the death penalty in Illinois in 1999 before being convicted and sentenced to prison for corruption in 2006.

The 86-year-old Ryan had a message for the 78-year-old Madigan about being in the scope of federal investigators.

“You know when the FBI puts their ‘x’ on you that they’re going to prosecute you, they’re only about 92 percent effective,” Ryan said. “They’re probably the most effective agency in government.”

“That’s always the best advice, be open and above board about everything,” Ryan said.

In late July on his podcast for WLS radio, former Gov. Rod Blagojevich said Madigan should be honest.

“If you’re not going to fight back and deny this stuff and tell the people who look to you as a major public official that not only did you not doing anything wrong but ‘I’m going to take the questions and answer specific allegations and I’ve got nothing to hide,’ unless you do that then you’re telling me you’re guilty,” Blagojevich said.

Blagojevich, a Democrat who calls himself a “Trumpocrat,” maintains his innocence of federal corruption charges despite serving years in prison, only to have his sentence commuted by President Donald Trump earlier this year.

The Speaker needs to come clean with the people of Illinois, Blagojevich said.

“We don’t have a government of the people, by the people and for the people,” Blagojevich said. “It is instead government of Mike Madigan, by Mike Madigan and for Mike Madigan.”

Madigan Friday declined to voluntarily testify in front of a House committee. Tuesday’s House hearing in Springfield won’t have any witnesses, according to chairman state Rep. Chris Welch, D-Hillside. It’s unclear if the committee will move to subpoena Madigan to testify, Madigan said Friday that he won’t appear before the committee.

Tags: States, News, Illinois, Death Penalty, Rod Blagojevich

Original Author: Greg Bishop, The Center Square

Original Location: Two former Illinois governors, now out of prison, have advice for House Speaker Michael Madigan

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Fall garden Q&A: Keeping out pests, pruning trees and lots of lawn care advice

Washington Post Gardening columnist Adrian Higgins answered questions recently in an online chat. Here is an edited excerpt.

Q: What can the home gardener do about clover taking over a lawn? Last year, I fought crabgrass, and this year, it’s clover. Crabgrass was easier to pick out by hand. Any easier, earth-friendly remedies?

A: Clover isn’t so much a weed as a state of mind. If you come to regard it as a desirable component of the lawn, you won’t have to keep fighting it. Yes, there are herbicides that work against it, but it actually feeds nitrogen into the soil, is an important nectar source for pollinators and only gets expansive when the lawn is allowed to thin. Live with it, but push it back by overseeding the lawn.

Q: What is the best time to prune trees (suckers from plum trees and extraneous branches from a Japanese maple in a pot)? And must the cuts be treated with anything after pruning?

A: Most pruning of deciduous plants is best done during winter dormancy, not least because you can see the structure of the tree or shrub much better then. Other good times to prune are after the flush of spring growth and also right after flowering, so that you don’t affect bud set for the following season. One of the worst times for pruning is over the next few weeks, when cutting back could induce fresh new growth that will be susceptible to frost damage. Wound treatments are no longer recommended.

Q: I have about 40 Knock Out roses. Some have branches that look stressed: lighter green leaves and rust-colored spots. What can I do to address this? And on a related note, would this be a good time to fertilize the roses?

A: I have reached a point where I can’t look at another Knock Out rose. If you enjoy this overplanted magenta flowering shrub, more power to you. You might lay a modest top dressing of rose feed to keep its floral cycles going through the fall. This variety is prone to rose rosette disease, spread by mites. Remove infected plants to curtail its spread.

Q: This August, crabgrass has taken over my lawn. What steps can I take now to minimize the problem next year?

A: Crabgrass is a direct result of lawns that are too thin. Thick, lush lawns are your best bet against weed infiltration. Crabgrass is an annual, so you can either spot-treat or simply hoe them now, but you will have to renovate the lawn to address the problem. Count on using a pre-emergent herbicide in early spring with follow-up applications.

Q: I have a 25-by-25-foot community garden plot that I have divided into quarters, and I rotate my beds each year for a four-year rotation. But for a garden that small, is rotation actually beneficial?

A: Rotation is desirable but almost impossible in such a small garden. I would move varieties around as best you can, but if you see

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Woodward describes Trump as a ‘bulldozer’ who ignores advice from White House staff

Washington Post editor Bob Woodward said that President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrats, advocates seethe over Florida voting rights ruling Russian jets identified in Trump campaign ad calling for support for the troops Democratic Senate candidate ‘hesitant’ to get COVID-19 vaccine if approved this year MORE is a “bulldozer” who ignores guidance from White House aides.

I think there was denial across the board,” Woodward told the Post on Tuesday.

Trump gave 18 on-the-record interviews with Woodward for the journalist’s new book, titled “Rage,” his second on Trump’s presidency. Recordings and excerpts of Woodward’s interviews with Trump were released last week.

Among dozens of revelations in Woodward’s reporting, Trump privately acknowledged to the journalist in early February that COVID-19 was “deadly,” even as he publicly dismissed concerns about the novel coronavirus around the same time.

“He’s a bulldozer to the staff and, quite frankly, to the country,” Woodward told the Post, where he works as an associate editor. “And he just says what he wants, and so there’s no control. And this is one of the problems of the Trump presidency, that he doesn’t build a team. He doesn’t plan.”

The president has often touted his decision to cut off travel to China early in the pandemic, though Woodward said that decision was suggested by other administration officials, not Trump.

“My reporting shows that it was the doctors and the national security team that told the president that he needed to do this, and he okayed it,” Woodward said. “And if this was such a big deal, he would have gone out and announced it. Instead, he sent the secretary of health and human services, [Alex] Azar, to announce it.”

Trump claimed Tuesday that he read Woodward’s book “very quickly” and found it to be “boring.”

When asked if the claims in the book were accurate, Trump said they were “fine” and doubled down on his previous defense of his decision to downplay the virus, claiming he did not want to incite panic.

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Diet decisions divide family’s kitchen table | Advice

Annie Lane

Annie Lane

Dear Annie: My wife and I have just celebrated our ninth wedding anniversary.

Two years ago, she decided to become a vegan for moral and dietary reasons. I respect her greatly for that, though I didn’t love constantly hearing about it. I also have adopted many of the same eating habits, but I do still eat meat.

We have both learned to prepare very nice vegan dishes that the other enjoys. Lately, however, she has decided to adopt a whole-food, plant-based diet, she also has decided to use a lot of spices in her foods that I cannot eat.

For the past two years, I have not cooked meat in our house nor have I fired up my barbecue out of respect for her. Now, I find myself wanting to again cook dishes for myself that I feel are healthy but that include lean meats: chicken fajitas, turkey chili, etc.

Do I have the right to cook in my house and if so, how do I approach the subject with her in a way that she doesn’t “flip out”?

— Omnivore Husband in Oregon

Dear Omnivore: Your wife wouldn’t appreciate it if you told her how to eat. She should respect your right to decide what you’d like to eat, too.

However, I have a feeling that you may want to take a leaf from her book once you see the effects of a whole-food, plant-based diet. It’s one of the healthiest ways to eat and has been shown to be effective against many common chronic diseases, including heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. (Check out “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease” by Caldwell Esselstyn, M.D., and “The China Study” by T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., for more information.) So, keep an open mind.

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Christina Anstead’s Advice for Couples Who Just Can’t Agree on Decor

Christina Anstead knows that couples don’t always agree—on home decor or otherwise. (Remember all of her arguments with her ex-husband and flipping partner Tarek El Moussa on “Flip or Flop”?)

And on her new show, “Christina on the Coast,” we see that plenty of her clients can’t see eye to eye, either.

In the latest episode, “A Clash of Style,” Anstead helps newlyweds Montana and Liz update their home in Long Beach, CA. It’s a big design job, which is made more challenging when these clients can’t agree on how their house should look.

Read on to find out how Anstead helps them compromise, and how they both end up pleasantly surprised by their new surroundings. Perhaps you can avoid your own domestic design battles, too!

Get a sample before you decide

christina anstead
These homeowners made the right choice when they picked blue over black cabinets.


When the three of them discuss the kitchen, it’s clear that Montana is set on having black cabinets, while Liz wants blue. Neither is willing to compromise, and things are tense between the newlyweds. It’s clear that Anstead will have to act as the tie-breaker.

To help, Anstead brings the newlyweds a sample for blue shaker cabinets. Upon seeing it in real life, Montana warms up to the hue, and allows Liz to get her way. And by the end of renovation, they’re both happy they went with blue. The cabinets bring a sophistication to the kitchen without making it look too harsh.

“Wow, it looks really, really good,” Montana says of the kitchen. “I cannot believe how it turned out.”

Light flooring is a must-have in a home with pets

Christina Anstead’s flooring choice looks beautiful!


Since Montana had to compromise on the cabinet color, he’s hopeful that he can call the shots when it comes to flooring. However, he and Liz butt heads once again.

While Montana likes the idea of a dramatic, dark floor, Liz prefers a lighter shade. Once again, Anstead acts as the tie-breaker and explains that the lighter floors won’t just work better with the rest of the home’s design, but will be more practical with their three dogs.

All the fur those pooches shed would show up on a dark floor, but blend in better on a lighter one, she explains.

Montana eventually agrees to medium-gray laminate flooring, and while it may seem like another compromise, he ends up liking it a lot.

Extend your fireplace up

Anstead knew this fireplace was due for a makeover.


Montana finally gets his way with the fireplace. Anstead wants to take the small fireplace in the living room and make it a grand statement piece by extending it all the way to the ceiling.

Montana is happy that the fireplace will feature the matte black tile he loves.

The fireplace now goes all the way to the ceiling.


When the fireplace is finally finished, the couple love the look. As it turns out, Montana’s dark style finally

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Water Garden Ideas and Advice

Water Garden Ideas

Many beautiful and unusual plants can be grown in a water garden, and the making of such a garden is an adventure within the reach of everyone. Almost any receptacle capable of holding water is a potential pool, and there are water-lilies small enough to live and flower in an ordinary sized washing-up bowl.

If a pool is well constructed, if care is taken with the planting, and if the right planting compost material and aquatics (water plants) are chosen, water is easier to manage than grass. But with no other feature in the garden is the margin between success and failure so delicately poised. Great care is needed to hold the balance between clear water and a well-managed pool on the one hand, and smell, slime, green water and rank aquatics on the other.

Ideas for Siting a Water Garden

The position of a water garden is very important, for water-lilies and most aquatics love the sun. The warmer the water, the more luxuriant the growth and the greater the number of blooms will be. The best position for a pool, therefore, is in the open, as far as possible.

The shelter of trees or a hedge to the north or north-east of the water garden can break the force of driving winds and will considerably extend the flowering season, but be sure to build the pool some distance from the trees or hedge, so that dead leaves do not fall into the pool and foul the water. Alternatively, if your water garden is close to trees or a hedge, you can spread wire-netting over the surface of the pool during the few weeks of the autumnal leaf fall.

A very deep pool can be a disadvantage since depth controls the temperature of the water, but the water must not be too shallow or it will freeze up in winter. Fifteen to 18 inches of water above the crowns of plants is shallow enough to induce free-flowering and yet sufficiently deep to safeguard the roots in winter. Rock garden pools are often only 1 foot or even less in depth, and should be protected during very bad weather, but such precautions are impracticable for larger pools.

Water gardens are either formal or informal, and should fit in with their surroundings. The formal water garden is usually the dominant feature of a garden – in a central position or perhaps the key point of an area to which all paths-lead. It is regular in shape (a circle, square, oblong or some geometric form) and its outline is defined with a raised kerb or flat, paved surround. Fountains can be placed in the water garden, but as a general rule running water is not desirable, especially if the water supply comes from a natural spring or similar low-lying source, because it will constantly lower the temperature and also destroy the calm on which water-lilies thrive.

Formal pools look better in conventional surrounds and do not blend with natural …

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Expert Advice: Choosing Paint Colors for Interior Walls

There's something magic about painting your home. First, it's incredibly inexpensive. You can almost completely transforms the way guests feel when they step through your front door for a less-than- $ 100 investment in paint and needed materials.

And, second, paint is powerful. When you choose the right color, it makes everything in your home sing. But that's the hard part. Choosing paint colors for interior walls is difficult, and you often feel like you're flying blind standing in front of a slew of swatches at the hardware store.

To help you make the best decision for your home, here's a guide to choosing paint colors for interior walls in different rooms.

Oh, one final note: Different homes open into different rooms. Keep that in mind as you're choosing paint colors for interior walls. Whatever room your visitors first step into, you want it to be bold and beautiful without going over the top. That room is typically the living room, so that's where we'll start – but pay the most attention to the first-impression room in your home.

Living Room
What matters when choosing a paint color for your living room? Start with these three things:

  1. Natural Light
  2. Furniture Color
  3. Spacing

If your room is full of natural light, you can get away with earthier tones that add a dark complement to the rays of sun pouring through the windows during the day. If you have next to no natural light, go for something lighter.

Also, use your living room paint to balance with your furniture. You want your living room to include a primary color and two accent colors. For example, you may have a large, bold area rug that creates the primary color. Then, use your furniture and walls as accents. Or, you may have a beautiful painting over your mantel that creates a nice accent. Then you can use furniture as another accent and wall paint as your primary color. No matter how you divvy things up, balance is key.

Also, consider spacing. A lighter paint color can make a small, tight living room feel larger. You definitely don't want a cramped living room with little natural light to also feature dark, earthy paint colors.

You have lots of opportunities to provide pops of color in your kitchen: wall hangings, curtains, dish towels, granite, even a fun mixer. That's why I typically prefer a nice, neutral gray for my kitchen. (I've always been in love with Dorian Gray , but that's just just me.) Find the right gray, and you'll have a nice palette on which to add fun pops of color.

Not into neutral? OK, that's totally understandable. Bolder options for the kitchen might include yellow, green or blue. Green is pretty versatile when pairing brighter accent colors, and yellow is like bringing the sun into your home. Blue is good if your kitchen is full of neutral dish towels, granite, curtains, etc.

Looking to go really bold in the kitchen? Pass on the …

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