Pas­ture Weed Watch Re­d­root

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Contents -

IT NEVER ceases to amaze me how much work there is to do on my life­style block, es­pe­cially in spring.

I love this time of year. Ev­ery­thing starts to wake up as the soil warms up and the plants and an­i­mals are kissed by the spring sun­shine. The big­gest prob­lem is the weeds al­ways seem to grow twice as fast.

One trou­ble­maker I have to deal with on my block is re­d­root ( Amaran­thus

pow­ellii), some­times called Prince of Wales feather, or pig­weed.

This an­nual weed starts to emerge in late spring. It grows ag­gres­sively through­out sum­mer un­til the first frosts kill it, or if I get there first with my sprayer.

Gen­er­ally, it's not a big is­sue in peren­nial pas­ture. But once you cul­ti­vate for crop­ping or put in new grass, the plants seem to come from nowhere.

Re­d­root is an up­right plant, up to 1m tall. Its green fo­liage has a red tinge and it's eas­ily spot­ted once it's above pas­ture-height. The leaves are spade­shaped; when small, you might con­fuse it with weeds like black night­shade or galin­soga.

But it's clear once the seed head emerges. It has a large, elon­gated green­brown, spiky seed head which pro­duces large num­bers of black, shiny seeds.

How to con­trol it

Con­trol is fairly easy: mow it. All this up­right an­nual wants to do is grow a seed head, drop its seeds, then die. If you mow it be­fore it reaches seed head stage, it usu­ally kills it.

I use a com­bi­na­tion spray of MCPA/ MCPB, sold as Tropo­tox Ul­tra or Thistrol Plus. Flumet­su­lam is also ef­fec­tive. Both these op­tions are safe for use on pas­ture that in­cludes clover.

Why is it a weed? Out-com­petes crops and new pas­ture Where is it found? Across New Zealand Is it toxic? Con­tains high lev­els of ox­alates, and can cause ni­trate poi­son­ing in live­stock

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