African Love Grass -any sollutions?

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Michaela
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Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2010 4:51 pm
Location: Bega Valley

African Love Grass -any sollutions?

Postby Michaela » Mon Apr 12, 2010 5:42 pm

Does anyone have any experience of successfully dealing with African Love Grass (ALG)?
We live on 400 acres in the Bega Valley, agisted to sheep, tho right now we are low stocked due to drought, and after recent large rain event, are looking to restock as possible.
African Love Grass is getting an uncomfortable grip over much of the valley.
Stock don't like it, it is highly flammable and burns hot, with waxy excretions to rival eucalyptus.
We have a mix of native and kikuyu grasses, various "weeds", and disturbingly encroaching ALG. Are currently mulching as much of undulating to hilly paddocks as can safely access. Experimenting with a multi-disc chopped and harrowed patch.
Grateful for any thoughts and advice.
Cheers,

M

Stringybark
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Joined: Sat Aug 01, 2009 10:24 am
Location: Wagga Wagga. NSW

Postby Stringybark » Sun Apr 18, 2010 11:43 am

Hi Michaela.

African Lovegrass, as with most undesirable species in a grazing operation, likes low fertility. As you have written, I would suggest getting mulch on your higher points as is the NSF way. If you can slash/mow some lovegrass and put it at the top of the area it is invading, the principle of weeds not growing in their residue should take affect. The rain and microbial activity will wash lovegrass residue down hill through the growing love grass plants.
The area you cultivated with the discs will be a great seedbed for the lovegrass, unless you provide fertility and perhaps desirable species seeds.
I had a some experience with lovegrass in the Bredbo district on the Northern Monaro. The owner of the property would burn the summer active lovegrass in late spring to provide a short green pick of feed after summer rain events. Sheep and cattle will willingly eat the green lovegrass. It does have some nutritional value
We would cultivate an arable paddock with a one way disc to get under the mat of lovegrass, then disc with offsets untill the desired tilth was achieved. How I shake my head now at the things we did. These paddocks were then sown to triticale or red wheat, for grazing and grain.
The theory was, to crop for 2-3 year. Then sow an improved pasture.
The long term problem is that any fertility that was put into the soil, would be taken with the grain removal. The improved pasture would eventually be reinvaded with lovegrass due to the constant removal of soil fertility.

So that would be the thing to do. Get fertility back into the soil and things will gradually repair themselves. Do not cultivate!

Stringybark
Posts: 50
Joined: Sat Aug 01, 2009 10:24 am
Location: Wagga Wagga. NSW

Postby Stringybark » Sun Apr 18, 2010 11:58 am

One other thing in regards to grazing. Try to not let pasture be eaten down below 5cm/2" in hight (The height to the bottom of the elastic on your elastic sided boots.). It will respond faster to rain and protect the soil if not grazed too short. This entails being able to rest paddocks. If you can subdivide into a few paddocks and allow 120 or more days of rest from grazing, the plants have time to regenerate.
Fences grow grass.

Michaela
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2010 4:51 pm
Location: Bega Valley

African Love Grass -evolving sollutions?

Postby Michaela » Mon Apr 19, 2010 8:30 pm

Thankyou very much Stringybark for your reply.

Do you have an idea of what species of seed would be most appropriate for sowing over the disc chopped patch...oats, peas, lucerne maybe....for further mulching when mature? Perhaps an organic fertilising spray of Seasol (it's not a terribly big patch), or worm castings? Or any other organic fertilising agent? How do you think sowing Kikuyu to this disced patch would go?

We have planned to plant a variety of advanced bare-root deciduous trees to the tops of our ridges this coming June....rumour suggests a wet winter... at least our dams are currently topped up!

Julian
Posts: 34
Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2008 12:57 pm

Weed Residue

Postby Julian » Wed Apr 21, 2010 2:28 pm

Has anyone done this thing of putting a mulch of a weed above and outbreak of the same weed and the residue kill the weed and had success?
I haven't done it. But I am wondering if the same theory works with grass, I have been spreading old hay all over my paddocks, mainly the highest points. I am not seeing and dead grass below thankfully. But wouldn't the theory work for all species?

ColinJEly
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Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2008 1:50 am
Location: melbourne

Postby ColinJEly » Sat Apr 24, 2010 12:35 pm

Julian et al
As someone who used to mow lawns for a living, and having to catch and remove said grass clippings, now that I only have to mow my own and encouraged by those here, I leave it. Guess what?! The bloody grass underneath keeps coming up! ;-)
Even when the grass had invaded my flower beds, I pull it up and leave it as a mulch, still no good, but I guess at least it is cycling nutrients!

Michaela
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2010 4:51 pm
Location: Bega Valley

Postby Michaela » Sun Apr 25, 2010 9:39 am

Hi Julian and ColinJEly

Re-reading "Beyond the Brink", under "Allelopathy", (pg 139) PA notes:

"....: the more edible the plant, the less susceptible they are to the allelopathic effect.............the less edible the plant the more vulnerable they are."

And......

"Accordingly, there is not a single non-edible plant that can grow competitively in its own residue."

Otherwise...

"it would long ago have covered the planet, since nothing would have been able to eat it out and stop it spreading."

We are hoping that spreading more Kikuyu grass over our disced patch, sprayed with Seasol solution and praying for rain, might have some success.
Will keep this topic posted with any results.

Also hope to redesign our paddock system alongside our tree planting program.

Further suggestions and comments are always welcome.

Thanks M

Michaela
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2010 4:51 pm
Location: Bega Valley

Postby Michaela » Sun Apr 25, 2010 12:16 pm

Actually, I find some of the chapter on "Allelopathy" a bit confusing....
Seems that plants such as kikuyu, tomatoes, wheat - that I would've consiered to be edible - are also susceptible to allelopathy via hydrology?
Something appears a little contradictory here....
Has anyone got a grip on this yet?

Stringybark
Posts: 50
Joined: Sat Aug 01, 2009 10:24 am
Location: Wagga Wagga. NSW

Postby Stringybark » Mon Apr 26, 2010 8:16 pm

Michaela,
Any mulch is good mulch in my book. It all retains moisture.
I would plant any/all desirable species you would like to see growing there. Whatever the soil conditions suit, will be what thrives. Ideally you are looking for biodiversity.
Perhaps divide the area into a few sections and try different methods in each as a comparison. The liquid fert would accelerate the process. Probably a good idea to fast track the fertility increase you are looking for.
Get your camera out and take some pictures to post on here. There is a common theme in a lot of NSF forum posts, that people want to see what others are doing to get a better grasp on what is actually being done.
If everyone could document what they are doing, pictures included. We would develop a large data base of experiences over many different environments.
I first experimented with plant(weed) succession on a suburban nature strip. It was a mat of cat heads after late spring or summer rain and cape weed would be the winter spring dominant species. I managed to convince the sceptic to let me try something different with her nature strip. The beauty of this, is that you can control the precipitation with watering. After less than twelve months, there was a massive change in plant species, with grasses predominating. The mower only gets run over it when the complaints become too much for me that it looks untidy. The catcher for the mower has been hidden in the back of the shed(where town girls fear to venture). I have a couple of other projects on the go out of town as well and I should get a camera to get a bit of evidence to show what has worked for me.

Stringybark
Posts: 50
Joined: Sat Aug 01, 2009 10:24 am
Location: Wagga Wagga. NSW

Postby Stringybark » Mon Apr 26, 2010 9:04 pm

G'day Julian,
I have put pattersons curse mulch on the uphill side of an area that had grown the plant for many years. It isn't an overnight thing, but I can see the start of species succession. You shouldn't expect things to turn around to your ideal immediately. I think mulching the area affected as well as placing more uphill of the area, would speed things up. Though whether it would be significant, I guess needs to be tested. Pretty easy to make your own little trial plot. Slash some in one plot. Slash and place more mulch uphill in another plot. Anything else you can think of as well. Watch what happens. This principle should work for any weed.
The hay you are spreading on your high points will help moisture retention in the system. If your cows or sheep are having a chew of it and dropping a bit of poo there as well, you have the right ingredients for the top part of the system. Moisture and fertility. Before becoming aware of NSF, I used to try to feed hay out on high points that were usually lighter soil types or rocky. It wouldn't bog as much if it got wet and I always have thought that somehow it might make things better suited to growing pasture.
In regards to residue killing the target weed. I reckon you need to change your way you look at what is happeneing there. Forget killing anything (except time, watching the grass grow?). The way I see it, the residue doesn't kill anything. The residue changes the environment to make things more suitable for the next species of plant to establish. Plants that have ideal conditions for them to thrive, will out compete other species. It may not be the grass that i want to feed animals. It most likely will be another weed. If so, mulch again. Grasses are the lazy plants in the system. They wait untill all the work has been done repairing the soil fertility, then wander in and reap the benifits of fertile soils.
Don't take some blokes word for it in a post in some forum, do some testing yourself.
This can be done on as small or large scale as you like. Two square metres, or two square kilometers. The best way for any of us that are interested in this subject to learn more, is to do our own little prac experiments.

Julian
Posts: 34
Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2008 12:57 pm

Postby Julian » Tue Apr 27, 2010 2:54 pm

Thanks Stringybark, I understand it more now. I will keep pouring out the Mulch of all description. I will get some pics up shortly too.

duane
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Joined: Fri Apr 20, 2007 1:44 pm
Location: Central Coast, NSW
Contact:

Postby duane » Tue Apr 27, 2010 3:50 pm

The topic of Allelopathy is a very interesting one, fascinating in fact.

I had NEVER ever heard the term mentioned before I read BFTB. In othere words, I had no idea what it meant.

Michaela said:
Re-reading "Beyond the Brink", under "Allelopathy", (pg 139) PA notes:

"....: the more edible the plant, the less susceptible they are to the allelopathic effect.............the less edible the plant the more vulnerable they are."


I asked Peter about this statement today.

And this is what he said " If all edible plants had a rating from 1-20, 1 being the most palatable to eat and 20 being the least palatable to eat, then kikuyu would be an 18, along with Phalaris, Spear Grass and Kangaroo grass".

Meaning that the allelopathic effect on these less edible plants can still be seen. In fact he went on to say that all plants have the capacity to be allelopathic, it simply depended on the environmental conditions.

Jodi James
Posts: 23
Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2007 1:36 pm
Location: Avon West Australia

Re: African Love Grass -any sollutions?

Postby Jodi James » Sat Jul 17, 2010 11:30 am

Hi, we have it all over our farm....this year we used a blade plough as a trial, which doesn't disturb the soil too much like a normal plough, it doesn't seem make the land blow..... We have a couch problem also, so we used this method during summer with no chemical and it worked. It died. You can mow it and let it reshoot, and buy some cattle, they love it. I have notice though if you have clovers and serradellas, they actually grow very well around the base of the plant. It has it's uses but personally, I hate the stuff.
Open mindedness opens wisdom

DEPAOLIANNA
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2011 2:16 pm

Re: African Love Grass -any sollutions?

Postby DEPAOLIANNA » Sun Jul 31, 2011 2:01 pm

Agree with Stringybark re posting photos - Its very helpful to get a visual. I am surrounded by a sea of African love grass....(about 30 acres) I want to slash but it is very rocky here. EVeryone around here has recommended burning, ploughing sparying etc etc (I will have to burn a section around the house before summer as it burns very hot and fast). Fortunately I'm not in the part of the Monaro where conventional control methods are mandatory - I want to give nsf a good go. What if I hand slash a stretch acros the hill and lay some manure - build some contours - repeat further down the hill? I am worried about getting these contours in the right place. This is just a hobby farm but what a testimony to the neighbours if I get it right...could catch on.

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

Re: African Love Grass -any sollutions?

Postby Shirley Henderson » Mon Aug 01, 2011 7:26 pm

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=812&p=3220&hilit=calcium#p3220

If you can follow or copy and paste this link, it will take you to another intersting topic on the forum about soil. I believe that African Lovegrass can be an indicator of low calcium so improving your soil health will improve what grows. Calcium in the soil assists availability and access to other nutrients. Try improving your overall soil health by using NSF practises and watch the diversity that follows.


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