This summer I had a large clump of an unknown plant in one of my garden’s sunnier locations. I was reluctant to tamper with it in case it was actually something wonderful. All summer it kept growing until it was about three feet tall.
Finally, around September it budded, then flower and it seemed that I had a patch of goldenrod (Genus Solidago from the sunflower family). Although I have seen goldenrod characterized as a weed, I was pleased not only for something that bloomed so late in the season but for the wonderful honey-like scent that filled the air.
Driving around during the fall season, one sees clumps of goldenrod are growing everywhere.
When the blooming ended, I decided to lift some of the plants and move them to a different location. That’s when I discovered why my adjacent rudbeckia –Black-eyed Susans – had not grown profusely this past summer. Examining the roots you can see that in addition to the heavy clump directly below the plant, there are long, thin roots growing laterally with tiny plantlets appearing at the end of these roots. These plantlets, of course, will become new goldenrod plants next season. What had happened this summer is that the wonderful goldenrod had crowded out the rudbeckia.
Several times now I have had to deal with vigorous invasions by seemingly innocuous plants. Despite no close botanical relationship between them, I have battled lysimachia, wild-type daylilies and pachysandra that have shown the same lateral root invasive growth.
Although I have worked hard at removing these plants, I know full well that I have not extirpated them entirely since many of the roots could not be pulled out in their entirety. Instead, I am hoping that next year I will have a wonderful show of rudbeckia with a more modest showing of goldenrod.