pas­ture weed watch

Part two of a weed tril­ogy

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Contents -

Why is it a weed Spreads eas­ily Where is it found? Open spa­ces, dis­turbed fer­tile soil, hedges, sunny bank edges Is it toxic? No THERE ARE THREE weeds that are of­ten mis­taken for each other. Last month we looked at the first in this tril­ogy, dove’s foot.

This month it’s a close rel­a­tive, cut­leaved gera­nium, also from the gera­nium fam­ily ( Gera­ni­aceae) but na­tive to Europe. It’s sim­i­lar to dove’s foot in many ways, hav­ing been in­tro­duced to other con­ti­nents and now con­sid­ered a nox­ious weed or an in­va­sive species across many of them, par­tic­u­larly North Amer­ica.

This plant estab­lishes eas­ily, with the abil­ity to quickly ger­mi­nate in open spa­ces, along banks and hedges, and it even suc­cess­fully com­petes with pas­ture.

Cut-leaved gera­nium can flour­ish in most soil types in New Zealand. The more fer­tile or greater the top­soil, the bet­ter the chance of this weed pop­ping up.

Cut-leaved gera­nium is a hairy, an­nual plant, and can grow up to 60cm in height, taller than dove’s foot. The leaves of the plant are deeply- di­vided, al­most com­pletely to the base, with her­maph­ro­dite mauve flow­ers ap­prox­i­mately 12-18mm across and five petals mak­ing them slightly big­ger but lighter in colour than dove’s foot. The seeds ripen in beaked pods, open­ing in curls from the base to ex­pose the seeds.

How to con­trol cut-leaved gera­nium

There are a wide range of op­tions avail­able to erad­i­cate the weed de­pend­ing on your sit­u­a­tion.

Glyphosate is a good start­ing point, par­tic­u­larly prior to work­ing veg­etable gar­dens up for the plant­ing sea­son.

If you are at­tempt­ing to re­move it from your pas­ture, some­times it is ben­e­fi­cial to add what we call a ‘spike’ to the mix to en­sure con­trol.

Al­ways read the la­bel. For spe­cific in­for­ma­tion, make sure you talk to an ex­pert to get the best ad­vice for con­trol­ling it.

STEPHANIE SLOAN grew up on a sheep and beef farm in the Wairarapa. She is now part of PGG Wright­son’s agron­omy team, iden­ti­fy­ing weeds on a daily ba­sis.

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