If you are an avid green thumb, then unfortunately weed control is somewhat of a necessary evil that will need your attention – so what are your options?
In Queensland alone, weeds cost us an estimated $600 million annually, and have significant impacts on primary industries, natural ecosystems, and human and animal health – without even mentioning the many inconveniences and general irritation that they cause the average Australian gardener.
Weeds affect the growth of plants surrounding them by competing for nutrients, soil, water, and space. In cases of younger or smaller plants, some weeds even overpower their young plant parts. If left unchecked, weeds may become hosts for various plant diseases and pests that will inevitably cause significant headaches.
The tricky part is often spotting them in the first place, and may be confused with other native and even endangered plant species. There are many government resources and identification charts available online that can assist you in spotting invaders, and it’s important to actively try to stay on top of them in both agricultural and residential settings whenever possible – but where do you start?
The Five Common Weed Control Methods
Whether you’re trying to tackle weeds in a large scale agricultural plot or even at home in your backyard veggie patch, weed control is a part of land management that can’t be ignored.
It is important to learn as much about weeds and their life cycles as you can, as preempting growth patterns can go a long way when it comes to controlling them. Weed fact sheets are readily available from your Land for Wildlife Officer, Council or Biosecurity Queensland to help identify individual weed species, life cycle and methods of control.
As a general rule of thumb, there are five commonly used weed control tactics in Australia.
Preventative Weed Control – Any method that prevents the establishment of weeds in a pasture or across a farm is considered preventive weed control. A weed infestation that has taken hold and has increased over time may require other more expensive control tactics, so all green thumbs should aim to at least try to include preventative methods for weed control in their crop, pasture or garden. The best preventative method is making sure your ground cover is healthy and strong as the less space for the weeds to come up the better chance of avoiding the problem in the first place!
Cultural Weed Control – Weeds are considered opportunistic and invasive, which is why cultural control,or the establishment of a competitive and desired vegetation, helps prevent or at least slow down the growth of weeds. The practice includes non-chemical crop management, and includes variety selection, land preparation to harvest, and postharvest processing. Practicing cultural weed control is highly effective, and is considered to be eco-friendly. Understanding why your weeds are in a particular area can dramatically increase your ability to control without the need of using herbicides.
Chemical Weed Control – When using chemicals as a means of weed control, there are two types of herbicides: non selective – these work on a wide variety of plants, and selective – these work on a narrow range of plants. Although commonly thought to be one of the cheaper techniques, using chemical herbicides can have a “knock on” effect when it comes to the runoff of the product entering waterways and other components of the local environment.
Biological Weed Control – What we refer to regarding biological weed control is the practice of using living agents, such as grazing animals, insects, fungi, or bacteria. Not only do the living agents help to naturally eradicate weeds, they also help to control the germination of its seeds. Although still in its infancy, there are several biological controls for invasive weeds in Australia.
Mechanical Weed Control – Some weeds can be controlled or suppressed by mechanical means, such as slashing and ploughing. However, machinery weed control is usually only used at larger, accessible sites. Slashing can help keep down competitive weeds between rows of planted trees, until the seedlings grow large enough to form a canopy.
Sourcing Safer Weed Control Products
Bioweed is an organic, non selective weed killer that works fast on contact with the weed, in order to rapidly desiccate and burn even the most stubborn of plants. It can be used anywhere around the house including garden beds, veggie patches, paths and driveways, and is safe to use around children, animals and even native wildlife.
The best part? Bioweed is the brainchild of well established agricultural leaders Greenpro, and is backed by over twenty years of research and development. Owned and manufactured in Australia, the primary ingredient of Bioweed is actually sustainably sourced pine oil, and is even approved by NASAA, ACO and APVMA for use around organic farms and food production.
If you’re on the hunt for a safer way to spray when it comes to taking care of invading weeds, check out other tips and tricks in our online advice forum, or contact us today for any further queries.