I'm sure that I'm not alone in having an ongoing battle with weeds- plants that are growing somewhere you don't want them to. I seem to have a very good share of them at my place and because I live on 5 or so acres, they are difficult to keep under control. Most of my 5 acres is grass though, which is relatively easy to control. A rider mower and my next door neighbours horses see to that. They are in my back paddock now, happily munching away and depositing manure for the garden, and obligingly selecting only specific areas to drop their poo so that It's easier for me to collect it.
While the grass is easy, my orchard areas and vege garden areas are much more labour intensive. I made the mistake several years ago of collecting horse manure from a work colleague, and put this straight on the vege garden. Unfortunately I collected this in winter when the nut grass that infested the manure was dormant. As the weather warmed up so the nut grass started pushing up too. I soon lost the battle to get rid of it and it is now in complete control of the area. I don't use it for veges anymore, but have converted it to growing fruit trees as these can grow alongside the nutgrass a lot easier.
My biggest weed concern though is from a relatively innocuous looking succulent plant known as "baby buttons", "baby's tears", or more accurately "Corsican's Curse", after the Corsican military man that discovered it and gave it to the world. I believe it came to me in a pot plant that we were given as a present. It escaped into the garden and like most innocuous plants it took a while to spread and I was completely unaware of it's weed potential. Like a lot of succulents it only needs a tiny leaf part to start up a new plant. It loves moisture and manure, and smothers anything in it's path. Around fruit trees this is not so bad, although I don't know how much goodness it takes away from the trees. It also climbs up trees and fences, and in our wet times it spreads quickly. So while I am on the mower trying to keep the rampant grass at bay, it is quietly getting on with it's work of taking over.
It's only at this time of the year that I have the time to try to deal with it. The grass is almost dormant, the weather outside is pleasant, and it's weed killing time! I will not spray herbicides, although according to the literature none will touch it anyway. So other methods are used. The mat of the weed can be raked up into a cylinder which contains not only the weed but also the manure it has fed on -I'm not going to waste this. It's hard work but always leaves some of the leaves / roots behind to begin more weeds in the summer. Things that have worked so far to kill the weed include drowning it in 44 gallon drums, I stuff the weed in and then fill the drums completely, I bolt on the tops of the drums and so exclude all air and sunlight. This I leave for a minimum of 6 weeks. I do use the resulting tea as a weakened plant feed, but I am aware that the process is anaerobic and so need to aerate the weed tea somehow. I have also managed to procure some damaged old wheelie bins and use these to stuff the weed into, before closing the lids, but not all these are watertight. I have put the weed into a pile and covered it with black plastic during the warmer weather, this kills it also but the plastic quickly falls apart in the sun.
My latest effort though is to use the dead weeds from the drums, together with the green weed that I've just raked up to make a giant compost pile. Together with horse manure that I've collected from elsewhere, I lasagne these materials. I still don't have enough brown materials though, so I pile the green weeds nearby so that after a few weeks I will be able to use the (now) brown composted materials to make a bigger compost pile. The work is hard, lots of shovelling, lots of raking weeds, hopefully the rewards will be worth it. I also use the drums to kill nutgrass, and other persistent weeds.
How do you deal with your weeds? The photos I have added are 1. A close up of the weed's leaves 2. The weed growing under a Japoticaba tree 3. A close up of the plant's stems 4. A pile of the weed waiting to be composted.
Add a Comment