martes, 2 de diciembre de 2014

The Fight against Weeds

The weeds

A weed is a plant considered undesirable in a particular situation. Some common examples are plants unwanted in human-controlled settings, such as farm fieldsgardenslawns, and parks

The term is also applied to any plant that grows or reproduces aggressively, or is invasive outside its native habitat. More broadly, "weed" is occasionally applied pejoratively to species outside the plant kingdom, species that can survive in diverse environments and reproduce quickly; in this sense it has even been applied to humans.

The Weed Science is a relatively modern science that studies the weeds.

The science, gardeners, etc., are nowadays trying to refuse the bad adjective to a living being. They call this herbs, adventitious  or no wanted herbs.

The weeds are characterized with high capacity of spread, great persistence, high resistance to plagues and diseases, and for being competitive. They reduce the efficacy of the farming and interfere with the agrarian works.

These weeds can be classified by their growth system as:

- Weeds from seeds:

The weeds from seeds usually flowers on summer. They create that much seeds that they can prosper in the land many years later. They can revive on the surface as a result of one excavation, and then, germinate again.

- Weeds from rhizome:

Weeds from rhizome scatter mainly under the ground through his roots, and in lesser extent through seeds. If a piece of root stays in the land, the weed will again appear soon.

Not all weeds are always bad. Between the weeds we can find “pioneer plants” as the common Dandelion and the Cotton Thistle. Their strong roots aerate the ground and compile nutrients from the deeper layers of the ground, allowing that other plants live. Many weeds are an important power source for a lot of birds and useful insects. So we should consider if weeds are really a problem.

It is also advisable to define another concept; Invasive plants: these are exotic species with a great capacity of adaptation and expansion. They are able to modify natural ecosystem moving native flora, as pampas grass (cortaderia seilloana) or ice plant (carpobrotus edulis). Some of these invasive species are weeds. Al lots of them come from ornamental gardening invading natural spaces.

Pampa grass

Ice plant


Nowadays, there are a lot of antigrass products in the market, mostly chemistry herbicides. Personally, I am not in favor of using them on excessive way. Sometimes is inevitable, but I try to use other options because I do not like feeding up the ground with chemicals, or affect the garden´s biodiversity neither.

Cutting the weeds while they are flowering will strength more his growth. It is better to remove the weeds at the moment they have germinated.

The first step to avoid plagues is the precaution. Keeping the plants strong and in good conditions reduces the risk of attack.

Fighting methods:

- Manually:

With the help of the hoe, simply remove the weed. The better moment is when they had germinated before the flowering. If they have not flowered yet, they can be used for the compost.

The weeds from rhizome must not go on the compost pile, because the roots do not disappear with total security.

- Mechanically:

Use the brush cutter. It is not a definitive method of elimination, because most of the weed will grow again.

It is interesting to cut the weeds with brush cutter before the plants’ flourish. This way, we would reduce his expansion little by little.

- By chemical herbicide:

A herbicide is a plant protection product used to remove unwanted plants. Some of the herbicides work interfering the growth of the plant and frequently are based in plants hormones.

Chemical herbicide application:

First of all, we need to figure out the dose of herbicide that we have to applicate. This information normally appears at the back of the recipient.

Once the mixture is on the pan bowl, shake it well.

It is the moment to spray de mixture. To do this work we recommend using gloves. We do not have to forget that we are working with toxic products.

Do not use the mixture bowl for other products.

1. The herbicides can cause bad effects on the birds’ population.

2. Its use cause the reduction of vegetal species; species that gives food and refuge to the birds.

3. The use of these herbicides is one of the reasons why the migratory birds cannot use some of the farming zones for their hibernation.

4. The fertility of the ground can change with the use of chemical substances on the farming processes.

- By natural herbicides:

There are a lot of natural solutions, cheap and moderately effective than can be used to remove the weeds. Not all the methods are definitive; we should repeat the treatment regularly if the weeds persist.

The vinegar increases the ground ´s acidity. This acidity can eliminate the weeds quickly and effectively. It can be apply directly on the plant´s roots. If you don´t want to throw it directly you can boiled 25cm3 of vinegar, with 1 liter of water, and later spray with this mixture the weeds to remove. When you boil the vinegar in the water, the mixture stays more dilute.

Coarse salt mineralizes the ground and the water that plants absorb through his roots. It´s used mostly in roads, flagstones, etc. It is poured directly on flagstones joints, but be careful because it can be irreversible and affect too the nearly plants. It can also be dissolved with water:  one salt’s spoon in a half liter of water, and irrigate the weeds with the mixture until there is no rest of weeds.

Another method is to irrigate the ground with boiled water.

The gluten flour ferments under the ground, increasing the quantity of fungus and microorganisms that exists under the roots, and stifling it. Mix one spoon of gluten flour in one liter of water and apply it on the affected zone. It is better to apply the mixture in spring, and later again in the middle of august. After applying the gluten, it is necessary to irrigate for activating the herbicide characteristics.

This herbicide is not effective against weeds that have already sprouted.

“Pioneer plants”: Pioneer plant is the plant that colonizes a land without any vegetation.

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