Soil indicator plants

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by DJ-Studd, Feb 16, 2011.

  1. DJ-Studd

    DJ-Studd Junior Member

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    Where can one get a list of plants and their uses as soil indicators?
    Ie, what do Scotch thistle, ragwort and serrated tussock indicate in regards to soil status?
    (So that I can correct the imbalance and thus kill the 'weed').


    Cheers
     
  2. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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    G'day DJ

    A comprehensive textbook on the subject, such as the one I have on my shelf, will go a long way in telling you exactly what you need to know:

    Parsons, W.T. (1973) Noxious Weeds of Victoria. Melbourne and Sydney: Inkata Press.

    Cheerio, Markos
     
  3. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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  4. DJ-Studd

    DJ-Studd Junior Member

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    Beautiful, thanks to the both of you :)
     
  5. Yukkuri_Kame

    Yukkuri_Kame Junior Member

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    great little list. My brother-in-law's property (zone 9, dry mediterranean foothills) is covered with delicious wild mustard greens. Their soil is exactly as described on that list: "Hardpan or crusty surface; dry, often with thin topsoil". Great to know they grow well under grape, as my mother house is shaded by grape trellis, though she has forbidden me to bring any mustard seeds into her garden.
     
  6. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    I use a chart in a book by Robert Kurak (not sure of spelling) the book is called "Designing and Maintaining your edible landscape - Naturally". Atleast I used to use it as I can not for the life of me see it on the shelf atm.

    As for the imbalance thing - the answer is very often in the problem. For an example that I know of the top of my head. Bracken fern indicates low potash and the plant is an accumilator of pot ash. Slashing and returning the plant to the soil will create potash in the soil and the Bracken will nolonger thrive. Neat hey?
     
  7. geoff

    geoff Junior Member

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  8. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Location:
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    Inland maritime/hot/dry/frosty
    How do you know that PP? I'm asking because farmers here burn off bracken which creates lots of more bracken. I've been trying to understand what is going on there. Presumably the ash is potash, so why does the bracken grow back instead of something else?
     
  9. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    I first read about it in a journal for organic farmers many years ago but I tried it in a garden I run for four years and composting the stuff and returning it did all but eliminate the fern. I would have thought burning would work in hind sight but the article said to return the organic matter so that's what I did.
    The farmers may be burning off the dried off ferns and so perhaps devoid of the posassium - not sure Pebble.
     
  10. Fozzie

    Fozzie Junior Member

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    I love this topic!! I find it so fascinating that often weeds are there to help us out and accumulate the nutrients that that part of the soil is lacking.

    Bracken seems to grow in low fertile areas where I am (West Gippsland, Victoria), anywhere that the cattle don't tend to camp... ie the exposed side of a hill etc, so the cattle don't "fertilise" that particular area as much as the more covered, less exposed areas, which are more likely to have stinging nettles due to the extra nutrients/ nitrogen in the area. I've read that fertilising/ putting manure over bracken can help to kill it off.

    I know that californian thistles grow where soil has been compacted, it seems to help uncompact the soil, then dies down after it's done its work. Not sure about scotch thistles... they grow anywhere the seed falls at our place. and I think Ragwort is a little the same.

    I have also read/ heard that often if you make a weed tea over one weed, say the bracken and apply it to the bracken that it decreases the weed... while it makes sense (as Purplepear mentions, it will put potash, or the nutrients it is accumulating back into the soil, which means it isn't really needed in that area anymore), I can't confirm if it does work though.
     
  11. adrians

    adrians Junior Member

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    perhaps if there is the lacking element close by where roots could get at them, then such things could happen, but if it's lacking locally.. no plant can manuafacture elements. Physical fact. Perhaps there's a lack of potassium, growing and burning things in an environment lacking potassium isn't going to create it.
     
  12. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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    Oh, and DJ, in responding to another thread on an unrelated topic I was also reminded of this brilliant site:

    Plants for a Future

    Each of the plants you use as examples in your OP (plus 1,000s of others) are listed here, including various amounts of information on their preferred habitats (i.e. preferred soil types).

    Cheerio, Markos
     
  13. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    You can't know that friend. Plants make nitrogen from the atmosphere where there is little in the soil and comfrey mines minerals from deep to make them available at the surface.
     
  14. matto

    matto Junior Member

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    I have a couple of files on my computer from Stuart Hill.
    I can email them to you, I can't give you a link because I have no idea where I found them. They are pretty handy though.
    PM me if you would like them.
     
  15. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Location:
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    Who is Stuart Hill, and what's in the files?
     
  16. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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    G'day pebble

    I can help you with the first part of your question:

    Prof Stuart B. Hill is the 'father' of Australian social ecology.

    He is also responsible for providing the foreword to Holmgren's (2002) Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability.

    Therefore, and in my humble opinion, I believe he is one of the most important people operating within (and 'without') the permaculture movement today.

    Cheerio, Markos
     
  17. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    I concur and he is a very nice guy too.
     
  18. milifestyle

    milifestyle New Member

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    There is a relevant post on page one of this thread that would have been missed (must have slipped the moderation cue).

    Look for member name "fozzie"...
     
  19. matto

    matto Junior Member

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  20. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    Occupation:
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    Welcome to the forum Fozzie - yes it seems like magic don't it?
     

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