Thursday, January 13, 2011

Weeding Broad Leaf Paspalum

One of the most useful things I've learned about broad leaf paspalum  is that each tussock is made up of individual plants, each called a tilder. Useful, because I realised it is possible, given the right conditions, each tilder can be pulled up by hand.

That's what I've been doing today. Pulling up broad leaf paspalum, though not quite individually. Due to the recent rain, the ground is quite soft. If I put my left hand down low around three or four tilders and pull steadily with that hand while giving the top of the bunch a good tug with my right hand, I generally get them up without breaking off the roots.

Rap them against the top of one shoe to get the dirt off and lay them down with the roots on a bunch of previously pulled leaves. This last to prevent them touching the lusciously wet soil and taking root again.

Broad leaf is a shade loving plant, an introduced pasture escapee, and is in direct competition with basket grass, the local native. In my experience so far, any area of native grass left without weeding for more than a couple of months, will be colonised by the broad leaf.

Many grasses are flowering and setting seed at the moment, likewise the basket grass, the reason I don't feel bad pulling up handfuls of it at the same time. I know it will quickly grow back now that it is so strong in my garden.

The area I weeded today was in need of a knock down ... everything was getting too tall, overgrowing my rubbish bin storage area. The native ground cover was in need of privileging ... all the (exotic) paspalum needed to be weeded out. And the soil is in need of nutrients. The heavy, frequent rain we've had leaches nutrients from the soil that can be replaces by a green manure limed down.

Tomorrow the lime, and possibly a light covering of half dry mulch to speed the rotting process. And all this was happening in  couple of square metres.

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