This Week in Weeds


This just in:  the Jeffersonville, Indiana City Council is refining its weed ordinance to clarify that property less than 3 acres, and within 25 feet of residential or public property, has to be mowed such that grass and weeds don’t exceed ten inches. This is actually an improvement; previous ordinances specified a mowing height of eight inches.  Jeffersonville residents, whoever you are, please continue to keep us updated on the weed/grass/garden situation in your neck of the woods.

In Marion, OH, violators of the weed ordinance will get only one warning if they have allowed "grass, weeds or other noxious or harmful vegetation to grow higher than 12 inches or be a nuisance."  Either one.  More than twelve inches, or irritating.  And so much of what irritates me exceeds 12 inches in height.  I am so moving to Marion.

Guerilla Weeding:  In Jackson, Michigan, anyone can become a member of the New Community Transformation Project simply by pulling weeds the city can no longer afford to hire anyone to pull.  God, I love pulling other people’s weeds.  Why is it that picking at someone else’s plants is so satisfying?

And in Buffalo, NY (E?  Are you on this one?) the WGRZ Tipline had to be called regarding a property at 415 Winspear that was in desperate need of a good weed-whacking.  Well, the Tipline was on the job, and those weeds have been whacked. Just listen to what the Mayor’s Impact Team did:  "They worked with a full brigade of lawnmowers and weedwhackers. It
wiped out the jungle and now there’s a dramatically different look to
the property.It’s clean and clear." Serves ’em right, those weeds.

And please do go check out this video about the weed abatement, or lack thereof, in Topeka. Warning: Ominous shots of tall grasses waving in the breeze are followed by clever segues to the weather report.

Oh, and 8 foot-tall weeds in foreclosed properties in an Arizona development called, ironically, The Gardens, are freaking out the neighbors and depressing already-depressed home values. Also, in Indianapolis.  And, probably, everywhere else.

And, because I can’t think of any other way to end this weed-themed post, and because I know that there are at least seven people out there who will appreciate this as much as I do (and I love you so much for it), I leave you with this:


  1. Not sure if I’m one of the seven coz I LOVED “Weeds” its first season but having just watched Season 3, not so much. It may not be a show that wears well.
    The ticky-tacky song, however, is right-on.

  2. I have a patch of perennial flowers that’s about to hit 8 feet tall. I love them, but I wouldn’t want to see that height throughout my yard.

    Too bad there weren’t photos accompanying the Arizona and Indiana articles.

  3. Not much of a TV watcher, so I’d not heard of Weeds. Yes, would liked to have seen photos accompanying the article. But the song – oh, my! I’ve been on a 20 minute ride through You Tube listening to different versions. Maybe I’m easily amused, but now my teenage son and I are sitting here singing the song. Yes. It’s right on.

  4. I just wonder what the people writing these laws consider as “weeds”… The level of botanical education in the folks that enforce such laws is NOT impressive.

    “grass, weeds or other noxious or harmful vegetation”… rules out any ornamental grass, if that’s indeed how it’s written! Of course, the original, native vegetation almost anywhere would quickly be in trouble.

    I wonder where they define “noxious or harmful vegetation”? This is often left to “inspectors” with little knowledge of anything but shrubs and mowed lawns.

    Given the effects of the alien weed grass “poa” on the environment, I COULD claim that Kentucky Bluegrass fits THAT definition…

    The comment at Marion indicated a common level of knowledge on the subject; they claimed that tall grass caused mosquitoes!

    I remember a “weed law” from some years back that outlawed “weeds and native vegetation”…

    If taken literally…it would have required the removal of every native maple, elm, and oak in the town…

    There are places with good “weed laws”… I wonder if these new “weed laws” meet the criteria set by THOSE ordinances.

  5. I love Weeds the show (not as much as Mad Men) and weeds the plants don’t bother me much. I kind of like them too. It’s easier to like them. Some of them are very cute.

    Having said that, people in Buffalo get freaked out about weeds all the damn time. Or what they think are weeds. As we know. I couldn’t possibly keep up with it, but thanks for the heads-up!

  6. This is tangential even for me but my first college apartment was just down the street from Weed House – I lived at 475 Winspear.

  7. Oh man – I’d really get in trouble if I lived in some of these areas! I have have a one-acre lot, but I’m in a rural subdivision. I have a prairie type meadow in my backyard with mowed paths, but the meadow itself has wildflowers (some say weeds) that are well over 8 feet tall!

  8. Tall grass and weed ordinances are a health and safety law in the dry western states.
    They are necessary to curtail our wild fires.

    Most of us in the west are familiar with a phrase called ‘firescaping’.
    Keeping fuel (tall grass and weeds) cut down to a very low height will help save lives and possibly your home if a fire breaks out.

    common sense.

  9. “Fire hazard” is what went through my mind, too, Michelle. I also thought about all the noxious weeds allowed to go to seed making the battle against them all the more difficult.

    The other concern is that when properties look abandoned, crime goes up. Before an untended, vacant corner property in NE Portland was taken over by a local woman (with the owner’s permission), it was a sorry sight. It was home to drug deals and prostitutes. Crime dropped once Jeannie and crew moved in and created a garden for neighborhood children, many at or below the poverty level. Behold the power of gardening!

    There is naturescaping and there is neglect and they are not one and the same.

    That bubble popping video is hysterical!

  10. More on firescaping: I was just visited by Ginny Stibolt of Jacksonville, FL, who told me that it’s also a big issue in Florida – who knew?? Spanish moss is _highly_ flammable.

  11. When you know them by name, they are no longer weeds.
    Damn, am I the only one who reads GardenRant at night??

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