'Controlling' Weeds

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Shirley Henderson
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Joined: Sun May 06, 2007 4:03 pm
Location: Thirlmere

organic weed control

Post by Shirley Henderson » Wed Feb 25, 2009 7:18 pm

I have found an interesting web site that has information on the Standards for Organic farming. I have posted the link. It makes an interesting read for those that need some assistance talking with the weeds inspector.
I have copied and pasted a couple of things in regards to weed control. Now I think if a farmer wants to go organically and has to abide by these standards to do so it certainly conflicts with pesticide use.
The use of pesticides produced from synthetic chemicals is prohibited.
3.8.1 Pests, diseases and weeds must be controlled by any combination of the following:
a. choice of appropriate species and varieties.
b. biological control.
c. appropriate rotation programs.
d. specific bio-dynamic measures.
e. mechanical controls such as traps, barriers.
f. light and sound.
g. mechanical cultivation.
h. mulching and mowing.
i. grazing of livestock.
j. protection of natural enemies of pests through provision of favourable habitats (e.g. hedges, nesting sites).
k. flame/steam weeding
Weeds and pests are useful indicators of imbalances in soil and plants; and the aim in the Bio-dynamic method is to use such indicators in a positive way. Many so-called weeds under Bio-dynamic Management become useful herbage.
So.......from my point of view it seems Peters methods are organic and therefore would have to hold up to the Organic Farming Standards!

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Does nothing eat the melons?

Post by sheilan » Thu Feb 26, 2009 12:37 pm

What happens to the melons? Does nothing eat them?

Sheila N

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Joined: Mon Nov 03, 2008 9:15 am
Location: Goulburn

Controlling weeds - Using Tussocks

Post by Foxdale » Wed Mar 04, 2009 1:14 pm

hello Shirley, I have been mowing a lot over the last 2 weekends, Covered a lot of ground.
I would like to post a pic of the tussocks i have mowed a month or 2 back. The centre is dead and can be pulled out. Around the ring is green and the horses pull them out for me.
I have only sprayed on the areas I can't get to with a mechanical means.
This weekend i will be spraying out liqud manure over a great area and see what happens.
As for plastic wrapping - It's not logical on acres. maybe in a backyard situation. Flame weeding is better suited for that.

Hello Duane - How did the Canberra meeting go.??

My Uncle is starting to come round, He is asking all these questions about swales and spacing and what to do with Pat.Curse. I told him to slash it and take it to the top of his paddock. This worked with my thistle patch last year.

peace to all.
Keep it Simple, Keep it natural and be sustainable.
You can't fight against stupidity, but I'm trying.

Shirley Henderson
Posts: 356
Joined: Sun May 06, 2007 4:03 pm
Location: Thirlmere


Post by Shirley Henderson » Wed Mar 04, 2009 4:17 pm

Very happy to hear of your success with the tussock.
:D :D :D

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Post by duane » Wed Mar 04, 2009 9:47 pm

foxdale....did you get my pm?

Subject: The Act
I spoke with people in Canberra last week.

This is THEIR advice.

The Act says "that people need to manage their weeds". Manage is the KEY word.

The Weeds Officer CANNOT force you to spray toxic POISONS. That is why he would not make a recommendation when you asked him. He advised that chemicals would do the job if applied at the rates he said.




That way you have followed the Act, not sprayed poison which the community would be upset over, and you have managed your ST using Natural means.

Shirley's advice reflects this.

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Post by Foxdale » Fri Mar 06, 2009 12:55 pm

[quote="duane"]foxdale....did you get my pm?

What do you meen by pm ? post mortum ?

As for the act. Yes it only mentions "manage" but it also gives power to the councils to dictact and come up with their own Class 4 management stategies.
In Goulburn's case it has thrown in "destroy".as well, which is not in the act but they can do this.

Even though.. As I pointed out to Weed Inspector, and he agreed. This won't go away, it will keep on going for years.
But with the use of NSF knowledge, improving the nutrients and hydrology it will go away, and be replaced with more desirable grasses.

I have been using the worm juice on my lawn at home in the burbs and I have had to mow twice a week for the past 3 weeks. Thursday then again on monday. So I am hoping that it has the same effect on the farm.

Keep it Simple, Keep it natural and be sustainable.
You can't fight against stupidity, but I'm trying.

Beli Mawr
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Post by Beli Mawr » Thu Apr 09, 2009 9:39 am

Thought the forum might be interested to read the latest press release from my local council. Fireweed is classified as a noxious weed in many areas and landholders are obliged to control it.

It's pretty clear from the attached, as well as the local "wisdom" that it is simply assumed that spraying is the accepted and expected control mechanism.

Blitz has begun on Fireweed


07 Apr 2009

The Fireweed season has only just begun in the Highlands, but already, many paddocks are flush with the unmistakable bright yellow flowers of one of our worst ever noxious weeds, Fireweed (Senecio madagascariensis). This small, harmless looking little plant with quaint yellow daisy-like flowers, and its unique 13 petals is a silent but toxic invader slowly spreading across the shire.

The plan here in Wingecarribee Shire is to have Vegetation Field Officer Dave Wilson focus on this troublesome weed over the next few months in an effort to get on top of the problem before it spreads further.

Vegetation Management Coordinator Ken Folkes tells us there is very little time - roughly three weeks - between germination of seeds, the production of a small plant, followed by the onset of flowering and a subsequent explosion of wind-borne seed. "Flowering and seeding cycles can occur over a long period of the plant's life effectively dispersing an enormous amount of seed capable of germinating very quickly," says Ken, explaining that Fireweed can grow all year round, but is more prevalent in the cooler months from around April to September, depending on seasonal variation. "This fact alone, and the rapid life-cycle of fireweed, makes effective control difficult as repeated control applications are needed to continually destroy plants that may not have germinated when initial spraying was done."

Fireweed contains toxins that may, over the long-term cause irreversible liver damage and subsequent death to sheep, cattle and horses if they graze excessively on it. Once established, fireweed is difficult, costly, and time consuming to eradicate or manage.

Despite efforts by both proactive landholders and Council to eradicate fireweed, it is slowly but surely gaining a firm foothold over large tracts of our shire, as wind, contaminated stock fodder, machinery, and uncooperative landholders allow this weed to spread. Councils Weeds Officers will be carrying out a vigorous property inspection program this season and will be enforcing control of fireweed on uncooperative landholders as required under the Noxious Weeds Act 1993. Roadside spraying of fireweed will commence in April.

Now is the optimum time to start looking for germinating fireweed and organising control programs and Contractors. Following the good seasonal conditions this year, Fireweed growth is expected to be prolific this coming season. Land managers who believe they may have a fireweed problem and are unsure of control options or need positive identification are advised to contact Council's weed officer, a reputable weed control operator, or a local Agronomist for advice on how best to manage the weed.

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Location: Goulburn

Post by Foxdale » Thu Jun 25, 2009 8:51 am

Foxdale Here again.
Hello Shirley and duane and all the rest.

Well I have mowed a hell of a lot. Last big mow was in the Easter/April School holidays. The boys took turns between mowing and riding their trailbikes around the whole property.

Now since then we have had a drizzle virtually each weekend that we have been there. That has ment no spraying but lots of FLAME weeding with the 9kg gas bottles. I have been lucky there to get some supply from a place that has to dispose of the old gas bottles. some half full, some 3/4 full. I take them down to the farm burn the tussocks and bring back the empty bottles. Works well.

Now all those tussocks I have burnt (that's a high temp burn) have not shown signs of returning and no doubt with the burn I have destroyed seeds as well.
I have word from another landholder in the area, that they have spent the same time spraying, with very little effect. (It's too cold to have a plant actively growing) What a waste of time, money, oil to product the chemical and toxic burden to the soil.

As for the areas mowed, we have flat weeds growing there as well as a bladed grass regrowing in amongst the ST mulch. Lots of sorel is coming through too. This means acid soil, I know but where before we have a salt scald in some areas (like down the bottom area) and the light grey folaged plants (another signifier of salt/acid) in other areas. These are changing to more grassy species. So as I can see it's all good.
We'll see what the weed inspector says, we are due another inspection soon. July 17th.

By the way. my Uncle has graded in some swales with a grader and just bought a Yoemans plough and mulching mower/flayer. (One of the round things like a giant push mower, only on the back of the tractor.)
He also said he's not going to use anything other than organic on his place. That's gret news.
Keep it Simple, Keep it natural and be sustainable.
You can't fight against stupidity, but I'm trying.

Shirley Henderson
Posts: 356
Joined: Sun May 06, 2007 4:03 pm
Location: Thirlmere

weed control

Post by Shirley Henderson » Mon Jun 29, 2009 8:29 pm

Hi Foxdale, glad to hear that you are progressing but it sound like you are doing an awful lot of work. It is great that you are sticking to your guns though. I would like to refer back to my previous post about solarisation. I meant with that method, to cut off your seed heads and place them in a plastic bag and leave that plastic bag out in the hot sun to solarise and burn up in the heat. That destroys seeds. Now if you submit a proposed plan of action to your council, you should have about 3 years to implement it and prove some results. As you wish to go organic and not use herbicides you have to show that you are making efforts in other ways to control, manage and destroy the tussock, fireweed or whatever weeds that your council regards as "noxious". (they differ in places and change too!) A main issue is to keep it back and away from your neighbours property who may not support what you are doing and do not want your weeds burdening their property. A suggested proposal could go along the lines of: Not one method but a number of methods, trials and controls.
Problem: Serrated Tussock prefers lightly shaded or sunny positions.
PLan: It is my intention to plant a diverse range of trees and shrubs ( eg. 50 trees or shrubs per year for 3 years) to shade out some areas of the Tussock.
Problem: Serrated Tussock tolerates seasonal dry conditions.
Plan: It is my intention over the long term by way of revegetation using NSF principles to reintroduce the small water cycle and return moisture to the environment.
Problem: Seeds generally germinate in autumn and winter.
Plan: It is my intention to sew pasture and native grass seed (example only) every spring for 3 years to compete with the serrated tussock.
Problem: Mature plants exclude other ground flora.
PLan: It is my intention to mow mature plants on cool days keeping the height to a minimum and use the mown tussock as ground mulch.
Problem: Flowering of Serrated Tussock usually commences in the third year.
Plan: Implement above methods during the first two years to control plants and prevent seeding using the mowing methods as described above.
Problem: The main growth phase occurs over spring-summer, with seed maturing from early to mid summer.
Plan: During the seeding period, seed heads will be cut off and solarised each spring-summer season for 3 years.
Problem: Ripe seed heads can disperse on the wind for several kilometres.
Plan: Hedge rows will be planted around the perimetre of my property and throughout areas where they can create a wind break.
Problem: Plants are unpalatable and infestations commonly expand as other species are selectively grazed out.
Plan: Other species will be intoduced and nurtured for competition. Pest animal control will be used to assist success with preferred plant species and animal manures, worm juice and other natural fertility will be used to improve the soil.
Problem: Can't mow steep hills.
Plan: Plant trees there.

This is a suggestion only and I am sure your plan will cover it and show that you are working on it. A record keeping, assesment and measure of time is required in the proposed organic plan of weed management. This can be noted each time you implement one of the above controls, date, method, observations and that is it. At the end you do not need to have beaten the serrated Tussock completely but I am sure you and your council will be happy with your results.

Next time the weed inspector visits you can tell him YOU HAVE CUNNING PLAN! Submit it in writing.

Ian James
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Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2007 12:31 am
Location: Avon West Australia

Post by Ian James » Thu Jul 02, 2009 1:42 am

Well done to all contributors to this excellent Blog.

It is fascinating and inspiring to watch how ideas are shared and solutions discovered without resorting to the "easy/destructive"

Shirley Henderson
Posts: 356
Joined: Sun May 06, 2007 4:03 pm
Location: Thirlmere


Post by Shirley Henderson » Wed Jul 08, 2009 6:27 pm

I bet those melons full of water would be a great source of food for worm farming. The worms could turn your useless fruit into productive soil.

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Post by Bird » Tue Jan 19, 2010 12:23 am

in my oppinion there is no such thing as a weed, there can be many unwanted plants, or future mulch plants that are labeled as weeds by far to many unknowing people but!
Anyone who has never made a mistake
has never tried anything new

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Location: Blackwood Valley in the South West of WA

Post by gwmbox » Tue Jan 19, 2010 10:40 am

Bird wrote:in my oppinion there is no such thing as a weed, there can be many unwanted plants, or future mulch plants that are labeled as weeds by far to many unknowing people but!
While I agree with this we as land holders need to abide by shire, state and federal laws. There seems from reading the above posts that we are 'required' to remove, reduce and/or eradicate specific plants (referred to as weeds). For me I am looking through our requirements to identify what we must, have to and/or can get away with in the South West of WA.

I know just from speaking to a few of our neighbours I will not be well liked if I let any weeds grow, and that may become a problem for us as we would prefer to be liked than not liked :). Having only been here for a couple of months our first group meeting to meet the locals was interesting as we had a number of people offer to come around and burn and/or spray our weeds for us... so far I have been able to decline this but when the rains come and the weeds start to grow... well that will be a different story. How I manage that will be interesting to say the least.

Whle I can provide details about NSF, Peter's books and even these web sites I can gurauntee that most will dismiss NSF principles. So I guess I'd like to know how others have delat with this, in that allowing your weeds to grow and so on and what impact it has had on your social aspect of life where you live and what you have done to reduce neighbour issues.

Cheers all
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Paul Ujj
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Post by Paul Ujj » Tue Jan 19, 2010 11:59 am

Luckily I live in an an area where most don't have to live off the land for their major income. Some still, however, spend a lot of time & money to get rid of 'weeds', which includes poisoning. Our place was covered in fireweed many years ago when we first moved in. Regular mowing for 2 years got rid of that stuff. Now we're lucky to see 1 or 2 plants & these would be from seed blown in from a neighbour. As I've imported stable manure & mown, the soft grasses are taking over & the weeds are declining. Of course not having big grazing animals helps. If we get a very hot week or 2 the grass burns off & back come the weeds to do their thing. Mowing is the great leveler (pun intended) - from a distance it all looks good, grass or weed. I never collect the cuttings so it goes back to where it should go. The main problem I had initially was mowing too close to the ground, leaving precious little cover & not really allowing the taller deeper rooted weeds to do their bit.
Paul Ujj
Only 5 acres & it's just for fun.

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Re: 'Controlling' Weeds

Post by webmaster » Thu Jun 17, 2010 11:08 am


This was recently sent to Peter Garrett.

Ronald Bastion is the author.

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