Groundsell - How to control it

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by Peter Warne, May 22, 2003.

  1. Peter Warne

    Peter Warne Junior Member

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    Now within 2 months of escaping smoggy Hong Kong and settling into our place at Nimbin. The neighbour tells me there's quite a bit of groundsell at the top of the block. Most people there use Roundup - what do permaculture people do to control it? I believe it's in evidence over an acre or two, but not too thick.

    If we don't do something effective it's likely that the state noxious weed authorities will come around and order some horror treatment.

    Any ideas?

    Peter
     
  2. Geoff Lawton

    Geoff Lawton Administrator Staff Member

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    Hi
    groundsell is very easy to remove without using chemicals, just cut it off to a low stomp, then smash the stump top to stress it. The stump will then shoot back in a few weeks and become inundated with the genetically engineered groundsell gaul fly wasp which is every where in Australia where groudsell grows. This fly was created by Kin Kin research station in Queensland in the 1980's and released before many people knew much about genetic engineering. It failed to erradicate groundsell as it seems to only really like new shoots and not old growth groundsell. Also it seems to only operate effectively very close to the ground, being very small and not efficient in wind. So mark in your calendar 3 months from your first cut and smashing of the stump and return to groundsell and it will have new shoots all covered in gauls, now wearing a heavy pair of boots kick it and it will come out roots and all. If you have VERY large groundsell the odd one may need a second cut, smash and 3 month revisit and kick, but this is rare, most come out on the first visit. The groundsell is first stressed by the cut and smash and reduces it's root volume to compensate, then starts to regrow, but the gaul fly then stresses it again just as it starts to recover, so it reduces it's root volume again this is the 3 month stage, it is so weak at this stage you can kick it out no problem.
    I have removed acres of like this, it is most effective in the growing season so during Spring and Summer is best. The most important thing is to get the timing right, the 3 month revisit.
    Physical removal is an approved alternative to poisons.
    Groundsell seeds can lie dormant in the soil for up to 17 years and their germination trigger is compaction, groundsell is a decompacter.
    All weeds are an indication of particular germination conditions and are performing ecological repairitive functions.
    Cheers Geoff
     
  3. Peter Warne

    Peter Warne Junior Member

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    Thanks for the informative reply Geoff.

    We'll be in our new home in July, with plenty of time to organise the cutting and bashing in spring, so your suggestion is timely.

    Also interesting that you say that groundsell acts to decompact the soil. Perhaps it will loosen up a few patches and make them suitable for eventually planting trees.

    Peter
     

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