WEED OF THE MONTH - MARCH
Blackberry is classified as a Weed of National Significance (WoNS). This is due to its invasive nature, potential to spread and its economic and environmental impacts. On farms it reduces pasture production and thereby stocking rates, restricts access to land, provides food and shelter for feral animals such as rabbits and is a haven for snakes. Fire hazard risk is also increased due to the large amount of dead material within blackberry thickets. All of these aspects dramatically reduce property values.
A species of blackberry was first brought to Australia for planting in gardens and hedgerows. Blackberry was grown to provide fruit for jams and pies. Records from a blackberry-picking enterprise in Bulli NSW document that four tones of fruite was sent to Sydney for manufacture into jams in 1894.
The Government Botanist in Victoria, Baron von Mueller, and the first Curator of the Gardens at Melbourne University, Alexander Elliot recommended that blackberry be planted to control soil erosion along creek banks. In spite of the plant’s recognised benefits, its potential weediness and associated problems were also quickly recognised. (Extract from following website)
CONTROLLING BLACKBERRY BUSHES
Blackberries can be controlled by using herbicides - Glyphosate mixed with Metsulphuron 600. Mix at the rate of 1 litre of Glyphosate 360 to 100 litres of rain water and add 20mg of Metsulphuron 600 to the mix; alternatively Grazon® or a generic containing 300 g/litre of Triclopyr plus 100 g/litre of Picloram, mixed at the rate of 350 ml per 100 litres of rain water plus 20 mg Metsulphuron 600 dissolved prior to adding to the mix. If using Grazon® or a generic, a wetting agent will be required.
The result of the application with Glyphosate will not be noticed until the next season. Do not slash or burn the bushes until the following season after the bush has died. This will allow time for the herbicide to penetrate into the root system. A follow up spray the next season may be necessary to kill off any new emerging seedlings. Caution. Glyphosate will kill everything it comes in contact with including any surrounding grasses.
Always read the label on the container and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Metsulphuron is available through LANDCARE at the cost of $25.00 per 500mg container.
Contact Ken Ferguson-65797077 for supply.
WEED OF THE MONTH-FEBRUARY
ROCK FERN/MULGA FERN
Rock Fern/Mulga Fern grows in a variety of situations from open pastures to rocky crevices on hillsides. Although it has not been declared a noxious plant, the fern is poisonous to cattle, horses and sheep if they choose to eat it.
The fern contains nitrates which when eaten by cattle will convert in their rumen microflora to nitrite, then ammonia. Nitrite poisoning affects oxygen transport in the animal and signs include laboured breathing, diarrhoea, inability to stand, disinterest, apparent blindness, episodes of convulsions and signs of nervousness. The animal will have a bloody nasal discharge and blood in their dung and urine. Some blisters may be seen around their nose and mouth. Death usually follows and will occur quickly if the affected animal is forced to move. Autopsies reveal internal haemorrhages through all organs.
Stock on my property and nearby properties died between April and September 2014 as a result of eating rock fern. It is not such a problem when there is an abundance of other green feed available but in drought conditions or when good grasses die off, poisoning can occur.
There is no treatment for an affected animal but experiments suggest, though not conclusive, that moving cattle from a fern infested paddock after ten days of grazing to a fern free areafor about three weeks may prevent the build-up of the poison in their system.
In all my forty years in Putty, I have never seen so much rock fern as I have in my paddocks at the moment. Usually there is a plant here and there but this season it is growing in thick stands. I have been spraying rock fern withMetsulphuron 600 at the rate of 25 grams/100 litres of rain water or a herbicide containing 300g/L Triclopyr and 100g/L of Picloramat a rate of 500 ml/100 litres of rain water and found both of them effective, the later giving a quicker result. Both of these products will kill legumes. I have not been able to find any herbicide which is registered as a control for rock fern.
When using any herbicide, read the label on the container and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
WEED OF THE MONTH-JANUARY
Scotch Thistle grows in all areas of Putty. Dense stands of mature thistles create barriers that hinder livestock movement. They compete with pastures, reduce carrying capacity and can cause injury to livestock and people handling the livestock. Dense thistle populations can also reduce property values.
Thistles are prolific seeders and can spread quickly. Once established, they are difficult to control. Seeds can germinate at any time of year however rain in summer and autumn can bring on growth. Seedling survival is highest when grass cover is sparse due to a previous season of poor rainfall.
Controlling an infestation.
Isolated plants should be removed using a hoe or mattock, removing as much of the taproot as possible so that regrowth does not occur. Cultivation is effective on seedlings or young rosettes if they are uprooted. Slashing or mowing is not usually effective as plants develop new growth from the base and seed heads that are cut and left lying on the ground can germinate.
Herbicide control can be very effective and is an essential part of the overall management of these thistles. For large stand of thistles, spraying is the best way to get rid of them.
Effective herbicides are Grazon® or a generic product that contains 300 g/l of Triclopyr and 100g/l of Picloram. You could also use Dicamba that contains 340g/l MCPA and 80g/l of Dicamba or Melsulfuron 600. These three are selective herbicides and will not kill your grass nearby. Glyphosate will also be effective but keep in mind that Glyphosate will kill everything it comes in contact with. Metsulfuron 600 is available at $25 per 500 gram container from Three Valleys Landcare. .Contact Ken Ferguson on 65797077.
REMEMBER TO ALWAYS READ THE LABEL ON THE PRODUCT AND FOLLOW THE MANUFACTURERS DIRECTIONS.
APRIL - Undesirable grasses and weeds.
Even though the rainfall in February was just about nil, the welcome falls in March have revived the grasses and we are seeing excellent ground cover. Unfortunately we are also seeing invasive grasses such as Giant Parramatta Grass, African Love Grass and Whisky Grass flourishing. None of these is a native grass.
GIANT PARRAMATTA GRASS.
A native of tropical Asia. It is a summer growing, unpalatable, tough grass, widespread and locally common in coastal areas of NSW and Queensland. It is a weed common to low fertility soils.
AFRICAN LOVE GRASS
In Australia, it is regarded as a weed due to its low feed quality and poor acceptance by livestock. It is also a declared class 4 weed in many areas of NSW.
This grass is native to America. It invades very open sunny areas, especially alongside roads and fire trails, in fields and other disturbed ground. It is common to the Hawkesbury sandstone areas and other areas with low nutrient soils. Whisky grass can be very invasive, and produces wind dispersed seed which can lie dormant in the soil throughout the winter.
WHICH HERBICIDES WILL CONTROL THESE INVASIVE GRASSES?
All three shown can be controlled by spot spraying with Glyphosate. For larger areas use either a wick-wiper or roller wiper. A strong mix of 3–5 litres of herbicide to 100 litres of RAIN WATER is recommended. Remember that Glyphosate will kill all vegetation with which it comes in contact.
If you have a large area to treat then you may choose to blanket spray these undesirable grasses in which case a product such as Flupopanate could be used. This herbicide is available from farm product suppliers but be aware that the use of Flupropanate brings with it grazing restrictions and withholding periods are applicable. Areas treated as a blanket spray with Flopropanate cannot have animals grazing on it for at least 4 months or if using as a spot spray then slightly less. ALWAYS READ THE MANUFACTURERS LABEL ON THE CONTANER BEFORE USE.