WEEDING WONDERLAND. WITH THE JOY OF GARDENING COMES THE TASK OF WEEDING BUT WITH A BIT OF PLANNING, THIS CAN BE EASY TO MANAGE.
A weed is simply a plant in the wrong place. This might include your yard, or it could be a plant that has been introduced from overseas, found the local conditions a bit too inviting and now taken over the landscape. Our ecosystems are sensitive to non-native species and the quicker we manage weeds & invasive plants, the better for all.
Weeds & invasive plants tend to produce large numbers of seeds, tubers, offshoots or runners, have excellent survival rates, and love to take the first foothold in the ground that has been disturbed.
Helping their spread are our native birds & animals. They snack on weed flowers, ingest their seeds, and deposit them via their droppings in a new area. And no matter how diligent you are to sift your new soils, weeds will appear. They come in all shapes and sizes so their removal can sometimes be challenging. Aim to kill or remove weed before they flower & set seed, to minimise the opportunity for further scatter around your yard.
Most garden shops will have products to apply directly to weed leaves for direct chemical control. If you have time, first try digging them up from the ground to reduce the environmental impacts of adding additional chemicals to your outdoor spaces.
Did you know that the following weeds & invasive pests were once common garden plants? The dandelion is classed as a weed. It has a taproot that needs to be physically removed from the soil or it will regrow from the root even though you have cut off all parts above ground. It also reproduces from its flower seeds – uses a forked ‘daisy grubber” and a bit of muscle to remove from the soil. Other common lawn weeds include bindweed, crowfoot grass, and nutgrass.
Likewise, the African Tulip tree is also a weed even though it has beautiful orange flowers. Depending on its size you may need to get help from the tree loppers to cut it down. Use its bark chips to mulch your garden afterward. To stop the stump from regrowing you will need to use plant poison as recommended by your garden care specialist. Once dead, why not use it as a natural plant pot feature? The African Tulip tree is also a native bee killer – all the more reason to remove them.
And the Camphor Laurel tree can produce up to 100,000 seeds per year, usually spread by bird droppings. It lacks any serious predators or diseases and is likely to form single-species colonies, excluding most other types of trees.
Lantana covers approximately 5 million hectares in Australia, forming almost impenetrable shrubs. It’s one of Australia’s 20 Weeds of National Significance and is the most serious environmental weed in south-eastern Queensland.
Mother of Millions, also known as Mission Bells or Christmas Bells, infests our grasslands, woodlands, and open dunes, and is poisonous to stock. Management includes controlled burning, physical removal, or chemical treatment.
And who hasn’t been on the pointy end of Prickly Pear, commonplace in many acreage & rural areas? Biological control is the best solution to which the Cactoblastis stem boring moth has made the greatest impact controlling the spread. It is still listed as an official weed though.
So while we can’t stop weeds, with a bit of knowledge and regular maintenance, we can control & reduce their spread. Remember the old rule of thumb – one year of seeds is equal to 5 years of weeds.