Capeweed – otherwise known as cape dandelion – is an invader that’s notoriously difficult to control. So, what exactly is it, and how do you keep on top of it?
Native to South Africa, this noxious weed has widely nationalised throughout the southern, central and eastern regions of Australia. Other common recognised names for this plant include cape daisy, cape dandelion, cape marigold, marigold, South African capeweed, and silver spreader.
What Is Capeweed
Capeweed is a low growing and semi-upright plant. This means that the stems of the plant, don’t grow straight up in the air, but rather out at an angle, to form a rosette. This growth continues until the plant starts to mature and produce flowers. These flowers tend to grow more vertically and can reach up to 30 cm in height.
This weed isn’t particularly fussy, in terms of where it can take hold. Infestations of capeweed have been found in pastures, crops, orchards, gardens, lawns, sports fields, footpaths, coastal environments, bare ground, grasslands and even open woodlands. Although it’s mostly found in semi-arid and sub-tropical regions of Australia, it’s also occasionally found growing in arid and tropical regions. In a nutshell – it doesn’t discriminate.
Capeweed produces around 4,000 seeds, ensuring that it can germinate each year before taking hold in bare or sparsely vegetated soil, or disturbed areas.
Is Capeweed Toxic
There are many noxious weeds that members of the agriculture industry keep an eye out for, and capeweed is indeed one of them.
Although capeweed doesn’t contain a known plant toxin as such, it can accumulate extremely high levels of nitrate in high fertility sites (stock camps and stock yards). While it can, and often does taint the milk from dairy cattle, it can also cause nitrogen poisoning in other livestock. The risk is higher within the first week of rain, after a long drought, as this is when the nitrate builds up in the hot, arid, dry soil.
How To Kill Capeweed
Anyone who shares their home with animals – big or small – knows that the utmost care is required when using pesticides or herbicides around them. This also applies to farmers with livestock (cattle, sheep, horses) present in their pastures. The good news is that when removing capeweed, there is a natural and chemical-free alternative, that is safe for both human and animal inhabitants.
Bioweed Agronomist Logan Brown is an avid equine lover, and spends much of her time at home riding and training eventing horses. A more recent hobby of hers is retraining racing horses, so that they can compete in the same style of eventing. Needless to say – the arena on her Victorian property certainly gets a workout, and requires regular attention to keep it in top condition. In an effort to combat leafy invaders to her arena, including capeweed, Logan regularly uses Bioweed as an organic herbicide weed killer.
“That’s why here at Bioweed, we recommend that you slush down (or spray with water) your capeweed before applying your herbicide. This will get you better results, but it also can be more economical. Bioweed also has the added effect of seed control, which thankfully allows you to control and stay on top of the 4,000 or so seeds that capeweed produces. You can use Bioweed near your pets and your livestock without having to move them all or keep them out of the paddock or pasture, making it perfect to use around your home or your property.”
If you would like to know more about organic weed solutions, please get in touch with us at Bioweed to discuss ways we can help you combat weeds, organically, at your property.