Invasive plants can rapidly take hold in gardens, paddocks and pasture – and the infamous bindi weed is one of the most notoriously difficult ones to control.
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.
On a smaller scale, weeds can easily get comfortable in our gardens, backyards and lawns. Before we know it, we’re left scratching our heads as to trying to find a solution to not only get rid of them, but to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Arguably, one of the most common weeds that just about every Australian homeowner with a backyard can expect to encounter is the dreaded bindi weed – but what is it, and how can you get on top of an infestation?
Identifying Bindi Weeds At Home
Bindi, bindyi, bindi-eye or even just prickles, whatever you know this irritating and unwelcome guest as, bindi weed is regarded as one of the most troublesome varieties of weed thanks to it’s sharp and “prickly” seed pod – or one of the primary causes of pain to our bare feet in the summertime. Originally native to South America, unfortunately the bindi weed is now a common resident in many Australian backyards.
Known for its tiny yet razor sharp needled seeds, bindi weed initially presents itself with small feathery leaves. It almost resembles parsley thanks to it’s exposed, upward-pointing rosette of seeds which can be found in a pod nestled at the branch junctions. Although it usually starts the production line in winter, come spring, it produces a single flower that matures to form a prickly seed pod with three spines. Once it dries out in the warmer summer months, this seed pod proceeds to splinter or puncture just about anything that comes within its vicinity – whether that be feet, paws or even bikes or pram wheels. Unfortunately, this is also how the seeds are so easily spread, beginning the cycle once more.
Gardeners familiar with the plant may also recognise it via “bindi patches”, or hoards of the weed that can’t be walked across with bare feet. Dogs and cats are also affected by the sharp prickles, and tend to avoid areas where they have encountered it.
Preventing A Bindi Weed Infestation
The most common place that Aussies encounter the dreaded bindi weed is in their lawns. It’s usually quite conspicuous in the winter months when it’s one of the few green patches thriving. However, once the warmer weather arrives, the last thing many of us expect is to stand on our luscious green lawn, and receive an unwelcome puncture on our feet thanks to a bindi weed.
Like most things, prevention is usually key when it comes to avoiding bindi weeds taking up residence in your front lawn or backyard. The healthier your lawn is, the better its ability to fend off any unwanted specimens is, especially in the winter months when it’s at its most vulnerable.
Pick Up The Rake – While commonly used as a method to remove leaves and debris, a good old fashioned raking will help to find matted patches of grass where the blades are stuck together. This is often caused by a disease known as “snow mould”. Matted patches must be cleared in order to allow new grass to grow and access air.
Regular Mowing – Not only bindi, but almost all weeds that you come across in your lawn do not like getting a haircut. Grass species benefit from regular mowing to keep them healthy and strong but unlike grass, weed species will eventually get outcompeted by the grass growth.
Fertilise Your Lawn – By fertilising your lawn, you’re allowing the nutrients and microbes to “wake up” after virtually hibernating during the cooler months. It will also encourage your lawn to develop the strength that it needs to make it through the stress brought on by the heat of the upcoming summer. Try a natural plant probiotic like Biotic Booster for a safer family alternative.
Hydration – The cusp of spring is a great time of the year to start training your lawn to be less-dependent on frequent watering. However, try watering deeper and less often – this will encourage root growth to go deeper into the soil, making your lawn stronger and more tolerant (especially over Summer and soaring temperatures).
Be sure not to cut your lawn too short or “scalp” it, as this allows the space for the bindis to grow and dominate the turf in your lawn. It’s also for this very reason that industry professionals recommend gardeners to try and keep your lawn a little longer during the winter months.
How To Get Rid Of Bindi Weeds
If you’ve left it slightly too late for preventative measures and have found yourself with an infestation of bindi weeds at home, it can be all too easy to default to a chemical based weed killer.
However, over the last few years, there has been growing concern about the role that synthetic inputs play in our day to day lives. From cleaners to bug spray, many households have been making the switch to sustainable and natural products. Unsurprisingly, the garden is no different, as areas in which we play, grow food and let our furry friends run around are just as important as inside the house. Thankfully, there is now a solution to controlling bindi weeds that doesn’t require the use of chemical based herbicides – and it actually works.
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. It works by breaking down the waxy layer on the plant cuticle, which is what the cell wall is made up of – and is traditionally quite hard to access. It has been proven to combat over 200 invasive weeds found in Australia, without potentially endangering any of the residents that call your property home.
If you’ve been on the hunt for a safer way to spray, or simply want to know more about strategies for eliminating pesky invaders like the bindi weed, check out other tips and tricks in our online advice forum, or contact us for any further queries.