Tennessee Smart Yards Native Plants

A comprehensive database of Tennessee native plants

Need advice & help on various wild goldenrod species

I am finding that over time there seem to be a number of goldenrod species planting themselves in my native plant gardens. I haven’t tried to ID them because I figure I need to catch them in bloom before I have any chance of figuring out what they are. But I know they send out aggressive rhizomes and spread into large patches if I don’t happen to notice them for a couple years. Even if they are native, they are sure weedy because  I even see them growing in the rotting plant material collected alongside the curbs in the street. I think I am seeing at least 3 different species, including Tall Goldenrod (Solidago altissima), which I definitely don’t want because that stuff seems to kill anything that grows next to it. In fact, I don’t think I want any of them given how aggressive they are, but I have just under 1/2 acre in total and weeding is getting tough!!

Does anyone know what these species generally are? Do you know what happens if you just do a modest control effort, i.e. pull them up when you happen to see them, or even what happens if you do nothing? Am I eventually going to have pretty much nothing but goldenrod or is this kind of a pioneer species which will eventually get crowded out? Or maybe it will just be another species mixed in with a wide variety of other plant species…..I should be so lucky!

Although I have done a lot to fight this stuff, including spraying Round-Up on very large patches that accidentally escaped my attention, I am definitely getting the feeling that this is a battle that I am losing.

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2 responses to “Need advice & help on various wild goldenrod species

  1. Trailhead Nursery (@Nativeplants4u) June 16, 2015 at 4:25 pm

    Hi, Joy, there are a number of “well behaved” solidago species, including speciosa, rigida, odora, and nemoralis. These goldenrods are usually less than 36″ tall and have more compact flowering. It is tough to key them out, though, and there are about 33 species native to Tennessee, which makes it even harder.

  2. joystewart June 16, 2015 at 8:23 pm

    Groan!!….33 native species! I have decided to make a concerted effort to see if I can answer my own questions. I will wait for fall blooms and start trying to ID the specific species I have (of course not including the desirable species that I planted myself). Once I know what they are, I can start trying to learn about their characteristics–how aggressive & weedy, how invasive, how obnoxious….I guess you get the impression! Then maybe I can figure out how to try to deal with them and whether I really need to worry. Maybe I can even help others with the same questions. At least it would be nice if I could do this. But I am not trained in plant ID so we will see. Thanks for your response!!

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