What is a WEED

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by Bird, Oct 30, 2009.

  1. Bird

    Bird Junior Member

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    Hi All

    I must ask what is a weed?

    In my opinion a weed can be ANY plant that is in a position where it is not wanted or unusefull.

    Have been reading posts on Lantana, Singapore Daisey, Choko's, as I stated above only weeds if not wanted or usefull. In previous gardens I have had large productive fruit trees that I have thought of as weeds .

    Have been unable work my land for last two years due to broken leg and ongoing problems associated with that, property now over run with gamba grass a weed? in NT(but good for beef industry). I look at the gamba grass and think, future mulch, will still have my top soil when rains come, tall grass encourages wild life who leave there peletized deposits, adding to soil quality,
    As you can see there are two or more sides to everything just a matter of how you look at it or what you expect

    Bird
     
  2. milifestyle

    milifestyle New Member

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    Re: What is a WEED

    Anything that holds the soil structure together has to be a good thing. If thats a ''weed'' ... bring em on.

    If its invasive or illegal... pull it out or burn it.
     
  3. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    Re: What is a WEED

    One "weed" you should be growing is Russian Comfrey and using it externally and interally. It will speed your broken leg recovery to an unbeleivable extent!

    For me:-
    A weed is a plant in the "wrong" place.
    A weed is a plant we haven't learnt how to use yet.
    (i.e., we are ignorant of its benefits/uses-or pehaps for some reason-technology-access-development?- we haven't been able to use the 'weed')

    Most plants are useful for life on this planet so I don't see weeds as "useless things."
    Of late I have been 'weeding" by cutting the weed off at the roots thus leaving lots of organic carbon in the soil. The green bits give me free fertiliser and feed the soil wee beasties.
     
  4. janahn

    janahn Junior Member

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    Re: What is a WEED

    Interesting Q

    Note that the French Government once outlawed certain types of grapes because they were too productive and would cause a glut in the wine market.

    On an animal note, Hitler ordered his soldiers in 1937 to shoot all the coloured pigs in the country, he only liked white pigs.

    Many people expect others to march to their orders and eliminate plants that they dont like.

    Weed is an archiac word. Replace it with "vegetation" and you will see the world in a different light.

    Every growing thing is a potentioal resource. Everything living has energy.

    The only problem with landuse (especially in australia) is a lack of human resources working the land.

    At the very least, an undesired plant is mulch.

    www.janahn.com.au
     
  5. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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    Re: What is a WEED

    G'day Bird

    Welcome to the PRI Forum, and good luck with your new venture in the NT. Let me know if I can be of any help with (statutory) planning issues.

    On the topic of 'weeds', from the extreme green end of the anthropological/ecological spectrum (a point which I sit and view from reasonably afar), it could be argued that the species Homo sapiens is by far the greatest 'weed' of all. Why? Well, let's look at a couple of factors commonly associated with 'weeds'...

    Invasiveness: After a very slow start (some suggest it was in Africa, about 175,000 years ago - see: https://www.becominghuman.org/node/homo-sapiens), then moving through a mass exodus period of 50,000 years ago which saw it spread to (just about) every landmass on Earth (see: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 161829.htm), and finally only ending (about 12,000 years ago) when some of it 'turned back' on itself and started to 'recolonise' areas that it had previously traversed many millennia earlier (see, for example: Dixon (2001) Human colonization of the Americas: timing, technology and process), the 'weed' species, Homo sapiens, has been on a very long march. Incidently, beginning some 400-odd years ago, a funny thing (not if you were on the receiving end of it, mind you) happened, the species (European var.) again went through a period of rapid evolution, only this time taking off on a journey that was called 'exploration and colonisation', and in most (if not all) cases, this jaunt involved the attempted 'extermination' of competing (earlier, Indigenous) varieties of itself. A practice, which can be argued, continues to this day (see, for example: Jaimes (1992) The state of Native America: Genocide, colonization, and resistance and Elder (2003) Blood on the Wattle: Massacres and maltreatment of Aboriginal Australians since 1788 - 3rd edition, and any nightly news hour on television.

    Adaptation: Recently, and for the very first time in the history of the species, its preferred environment has shifted from that of a rural locale, to that of the urban. Now more than 50% of the globalised (and in some cases, homogenised) species, Homo sapiens, resides in an urban environment (see: https://www.unfpa.org/swp/2007/english/introduction.html), prompting some to call this new mass var. of the species, Homo sapiens ssp. urbanus (see: https://www.abc.net.au/rn/science/earth/ ... 726535.htm).

    Well, I trust you have enjoyed (?) my little journey through the ages of the 'weed' species, Homo sapiens. I am thinking of expanding on the research and writing it up as a paper - maybe sometime in the future...

    Cheerio, Marko.
     
  6. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    Re: What is a WEED

    I look forward to the hollywood version Mark
    :wink:
    Some of the worst weeds here are tomatoes and cosmos but they all end up as organic matter.
     
  7. Bird

    Bird Junior Member

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    Re: What is a WEED

    Ah so its true there is no such thing as a weed, just misplaced/misused plant matter, the way i have always assumed!
    As for the the fruit trees i mentioned in my first post, they were moved to an area so they were no longer considered as a weeds. Unfortunately one died in the process, two out of three aint bad, as for the deceased one it recieved a good funeral (through the chipper and returned to his friends as mulch)

    Cheers
    Bird
     
  8. ho-hum

    ho-hum New Member

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    Re: What is a WEED

    Bird,

    I believe Gamba Grass is only a weed in the NT when it colonises native forests, 'cos of its height and calorific value it can burn the tops of trees and kill them. Our local black spear grass doesnt have that ability and is crowded out by Gamba and other introduced grasses. I have saved some spear grass for our local finches, sadly in hindsight, not enough.

    Gamba Grass has long been used for erosion control, barrier, windbreak and even fodder. It is when it escapes and it has in the TopEnd that it is an issue, and even then, only when it cannot be grazed. It is not hard to kill, can be slashed and used for hay and mulch. I think many parts of Australia, agriculturally, use it with some success.

    Dont make it any less of a weed in the TopEnd... You can kill it by using a pruning saw and cutting it off at near ground level and waiting for regrowth and doing it again. It makes a decent under tree mulch. I dont have gamba grass on my place because I got here before most weeds did.... :)

    I would not plant gamba but I would certainly take advantage of it, just do not let it grow into those massive clumps that will take out our native fauna when it burns.

    Oh yes, I am not exempt from weeds, a tenant let .......... elephant grass [panicetum purpureum??] establish which is a dreadful plant and I am now suffering badly with hay fever from it. THIS YEAR HOWEVER, I am armed to the teeth and will slash the damned thing into a lawn!!.. :)


    cheers

    ho-hum
     
  9. Bird

    Bird Junior Member

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    Re: What is a WEED

    Hi Ho Hum

    I know the fire risks of gamba (volunteer firie) thats why the first job after purchase was good fire breaks, and clearing house site, and fire break around remnant vegitation, future wild life corridoor. The rest is future mulch until replaced with more productive plants.

    because of leg prob the next two years have basicaly been maitinance of these, but that has given me time to plan/designe the block, placement of structures, watercatchment areas, wildlife corridoor ect. had a canvas bag made for leg so i could limp around and do this and not destroy plaster while it was on.

    Mobile at last so now i can begin, not living on block as yet but hope to be early next year, at least with plan i can start orchard, shade trees, and some of the early earth works, let the fun begin.

    Did you know that it is almost impossible to drive a small manual tip truck wiyh a left leg plastered up to the hip?

    Also found a site https://www.cd3wd.com but not computer savie enough to make link or whatever its called, 13Gb info could you please check it out and if relevent add it to this forum others may be interested.

    OOps seems like I made the link after all, not as stupid as Ithought!

    Thanks
    Bird.
     
  10. Anuhea

    Anuhea Junior Member

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    Re: What is a WEED

    I recently attended a grwoing seminar and the soil expert who makes his living advising farmers confided that he and his partner use weeds as cover crops instead of spending money on cover crop seed. He said their farm is scruffy but makes a profit. Weeds tend to accumulate minerals which the soil is lacking, and send their roots down deep to loosen the soil, and they don't require fertilizer. So, weeds do have their benefits.
     
  11. milifestyle

    milifestyle New Member

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    Re: What is a WEED

    Excellent approach... all plants are good. Except for the ones that aren't :--). The ones that aren't are usually hard stemmed, large or easily removed manually.
     
  12. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    Re: What is a WEED

    We Are The Weeds
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hdeACFj0 ... re=related


    My1958/68 Weeds book by NSW Dept. of Agriculture is interesting
    They say (sorta) that weeds are plants that are detrimental because of:-
    • reduced carrying capacity[/*:m:1j570vog]
    • hosts for diseases or pests[/*:m:1j570vog]
    • milk tainters[/*:m:1j570vog]
    • meat tainters[/*:m:1j570vog]
    • dermatitis in animals and human[/*:m:1j570vog]
    • production costs increased[/*:m:1j570vog]
    • toxic plants[/*:m:1j570vog]
    A more modern definition might be
    https://www.dpi.vic.gov.au/dpi/vro/vrosi ... evils_claw
    https://www.dpi.vic.gov.au/DPI/VRO/vrosi ... evils_claw

    The first page of my old Weeds book has a beautiful painting of Devil's Claw.

    I suppose it is a weed because it gets stuck in wool, cotton or on farmers' boots.
    it is interesting to look at some of its uses
    https://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php ... ouisianica

    https://worldkigodatabase.blogspot.com/2 ... chive.html

    Some plants seem to have very poor PR Campaigns
     
  13. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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    Re: What is a WEED

    G'day All

    Michael's delving into his old NSW Dept of Ag weed book has prompted me to pull out my original copy of Noxious Weeds of Victoria:

    Why there are weeds

    A weed is usually defined as a plant growing out of place (that is, growing where we do not want it to grow). Both of these definitions involve man's assessment of the plant in situation - it is growing out of place as we interpret the meaning of "place" or it is growing where "we" do not want it to grow. In fact, a weed can be regarded as a plant which is growing very much "in place" because it is more suited than other plants to grow in that place. IN a natural plant community there are no weeds; all plants exist in dynamic balance with each other. This balance is the result of restrictions placed on each member of the community by other members, by climate, native animals and by the soil. There are few natural plant communities remaining in the world because of man's need to grow crops, graze animals, build cities and provide services. Open areas are invaded by pioneer species, many of which we consider to be weeds. The most important weeds are those which occur in abundance and have characteristics which we do not like.

    Three types of weed situations can be defined:

    1. Some members of the natural plant community can become weeds when the community is disturbed by the activities of man...

    2. Some alien plants can establish and spread into a community which has had only a minimum of disturbance...

    3. The largest group of weeds in Victoria consists of introduced species which are often of little significance in their country of origin but thrive in disturbed Australian habitats...

    There are weeds, therefore, because man has disturbed the environment by (a) clearing land for growing crops or for grazing with animals, and/or (b) introducing a wide range of plants (either intentionally or accidentally) which thrive in the new habitat.

    What makes a plant a weed?

    A plant is not necessarily undesirable because it has been introduced from overseas. For example, all of our better pasture species and horticultural and cereal crops have been imported. Many plants have become naturalised and are of little significance either as weeds or desirable species. Therefore, a plant must have some undesirable characteristics before it is regarded as a weed. Usually it affects the quantity or quality of crops, pastures, produce or animals in at least one of the following ways:

    (a) Competing with more useful plants for moisture, nutrients and light...

    (b) Poisoning of man and domestic animals...

    (c) Tainting of agricultural produce...

    (d) Contaminating agricultural produce...

    (e) Harbouring diseases and insect pests...

    (f) harbouring vermin animals...

    (g) Interfering with transport, essential services and recreation...

    (h) Interfering with agricultural production...

    Some plants are aesthetically undesirable because they spoil the appearance of gardens, interrupt a view or crowd put native species, but may not be weeds in the normally accepted sense.

    Principles of weed control

    As there are no weeds in a natural plant community, one obvious way of controlling weeds is to allow areas to revert to their natural state. This is rarely possible, because of the demands of our civilisation for food and fibre. There are situations, however, where a partial return to the natural state can be used to control weeds...

    Having accepted that some weeds are inevitable, it is wise to ensure that we avoid known important weeds from other parts of the world...

    Control by quarantine aims at preventing the introduction of seeds and other viable plant parts which could establish a new weed in Australia...

    Once a weed has become established, there are certain principles related to its growth and reproduction which determine the best method of control. Studies of the biology of individual weed species help determine the type of control most likely to be effective and the stage in the life cycle when control measures are best applied....

    Methods of weed control

    Many methods have been used over the years to control weeds. The most important and most obvious is prevention. There are many ways in which weeds can enter [situations where they are not wanted, and thus many ways in which this can be avoided]... Hand pulling and cultivation are the oldest methods of weed control and are still very important... Mowing and slashing are effective with some annual weeds... Mechanical removal of weeds has been used for many years. Large areas can be cleared of weedy brush with [mechanical apparatus]... Burning is of limited use in controlling weeds... Flooding as a method of weed control is not intentionally used in Victoria... Flooding kills the plants by excluding the air, and so the water cover must be complete for the whole period... Plant competition is a very important method of weed control... Animal grazing can be used to destroy weeds or to reduce their capacity for reproduction... Control of weeds by insects is variable. It is fair to say when such biological control works well it works very well... Weed control with fungal and other diseases has not been deliberately encouraged in Victoria... Smothering of plants with straw, stable manure or sawdust has been used to a limited extent for controlling annual weeds, and in recent years plastic sheeting has become popular with both horticulturalists and home gardeners... [and, notably as a last option] Chemicals are used extensively to control weeds...


    Source: Parsons, W. T. (1973) Noxious weeds of Victoria. Melbourne: Inkata Press, pp. 3-7.

    Cheerio, Marko.
     
  14. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    Re: What is a WEED

    I reckon a weed is a representative of Mankind's fear of nature. The very concept of a weed shows a long standing psychological battle of our desire to overcome nature, to bend her to our ends. And the very existence of weeds is natures way of showing us we have failed in that endeavour.

    I believe it is only when we change our mental structures that we will be rid of the scourge of weeds, or as Einstein so aptly put it you cannot solve a problem with the same level of consciousness that created it.
     
  15. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    Re: What is a WEED

    You might enjoy reading this article from Rodale on "weeds' (Whatever they are!)
    The Skinny on a Big Problem...Weeds
    https://rodaleinstitute.org/the_skinny_o ... blem_weeds

    [​IMG]
    1: Hand weeding, 2: Mechanical control, 3: Mulches, 4: Fall/Spring cover crop, 5: More than 3 crops in rotation, 6: Manage crop density, 7: Resting periods in rotation, 8: Row width adjustment, 9: Fertility management, 10: Flaming, 11: After planting date, 12: Stale seedbed, 13: Herbicide, 14: Other, 15: Rotation with perennials, 16: Alternating perennial and annual crops, 17: Solarization, 18: Weed tolerant crop cultivar, 19: GMO technology, 20: Night tillage, 21: None of the above.
    Grahame
    I like the way you think.
    Unfortunately i think you might be right.
     
  16. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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  17. sindhooram

    sindhooram Junior Member

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    i dont know if this story is also well known in Australia? it is here:

    According to Jataka Tales (the stories that tell the life history of Gautama Buddha), Jeevaka, the legendry physician treated Buddha. He also treated King Bindisara, the father of Emperor Ashoka.



    As Jeevaka completed his studies at the Ashram of his Guru, Aatreya, he was asked to present a plant with no medicinal value as his Guru Dakshina. Gurudakshina is the gift of offering a disciple gives to his teacher when his education is completed.



    Jeevaka searched the whole of Sarlaka Mountain to find such a plant with no medicinal value. He returned to his teacher empty handed and told his guru that he was not able to give him a guru dakshina. He also said to his teacher that not only the plants, but also the smell, sunlight, and sound originating from the stream that passes mildly by are filled with medicinal power. Some heal physical ailment of humans, while others cure ailments of animals or plants. Some are good for curing any mental condition.



    Then Guru Aatreya smiled at him and said “everything in this world has its own significance”.
     
  18. butchasteve

    butchasteve Junior Member

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    in the end. the effect on natural biodiversity by invasive weed species is catastrophic.

    while i understand some weeds can have their uses, but they still need to be controlled..

    for eg.

    today I dug holes ready for planting re-gen trees and shrubs near a creek. 6months ago the whole area was lantana, we grubbed it out and let it mulch down, covered the area in 20cm of bush mulch.
    6 months later, that soil is exceptional some of the best i have ever seen. every mattock swing produces numerous worms, grubs etc.. soft, moist humus, fantastic..

    this said. I can understand if one has poor soils, with lantana growing, it could be used as a preparation for the soils for planting when grubbed out.. the issue would remain though, IS IT CONTROLLABLE..

    hmm leaps and bounds...
     
  19. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    ;53328]i dont know if this story is also well known in Australia? it is here:

    According to Jataka Tales (the stories that tell the life history of Gautama Buddha), Jeevaka, the legendry physician treated Buddha. He also treated King Bindisara, the father of Emperor Ashoka.



    As Jeevaka completed his studies at the Ashram of his Guru, Aatreya, he was asked to present a plant with no medicinal value as his Guru Dakshina. Gurudakshina is the gift of offering a disciple gives to his teacher when his education is completed.



    Jeevaka searched the whole of Sarlaka Mountain to find such a plant with no medicinal value. He returned to his teacher empty handed and told his guru that he was not able to give him a guru dakshina. He also said to his teacher
     
  20. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    I've heard that one here in Oz before sindhooram, but then again I read a bit of that sort of stuff :)

    That Buddha seemed like a pretty switched on sort of a chap to me - I've tried to be more like him, but it's not easy ;)
     

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