Some spread seed on the wind, some rely on animals to digest and distribute them, but we all have them in the garden somewhere! They’re weeds, and they are the ultimate stayers. You can hit them with systemic chemical herbicides, but if you prefer not to use them, read our A–Z feature over December and January on organic ways to help you destroy the invaders.
- Establish what type you have: do they produce lots of seed that germinate readily or have deep taproots or underground tubers. Some even have exploding pods that spread seed far and wide. Which culprits are lurking in your patch?
- Weeds are quick to mature – sometimes producing the next generation in a couple of weeks! Persistence is the key to eradication – conduct regular raids and show them who’s boss. Some can be stopped by smothering them with a thick layer of mulch.
- Take bad boy bindii. It’s a low-growing, herbaceous, winter annual found mainly in lawns but also in garden beds, with feathery, fern-like leaves and spiny burrs or seed pods that are big on the ‘ow’ factor as soon as spring comes around. Burrs attach to animals and shoes – and bare feet, allowing their dispersal far and wide.
- So here’s what you do: dig out young plants, or spot-spray with organic herbicide before burrs form. Bindii found in garden beds can be smothered with mulch. Also, aerate your lawn to encourage healthier, thicker turf growth. Now you are set for an ouch-free summer in the garden!
Grab the December issue of ABC Gardening Australia magazine for more on Phil Dudman’s practical guide to identifying and banishing weeds from your patch.