pasture weed watch
Part two of a weed trilogy
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.