Weeding in the Wet February 12, 2015Posted by stevo2015 in weeds.
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Part of the work that SKIPA members do is weeding, as weeds are an increasing problem around Broome and in the Kimberley generally. If we can get everybody involved, then weeding would be a lot easier – the more the merrier!
Weeding this Month
(March 2016) Note: for further info. on weeds scroll down the column to the left to get to the Weeds section (after all the native plant families).
Although there has not been much rain around this wet season it is still a good time to be plucking weeds out of the ground, as many of them are growing vigorously and setting seed.
The weeds are easiest to remove when the ground is moist, so weeding is best done after the occasional storm that brings enough rain to moisten the top layer of soil.
All you need do is wrap your hand around the weed near the base, getting as close to the ground as possible (maybe even dig around the stem a bit), and then pull slowly and firmly, to make sure the root comes out with the rest of the plant. Then just shake the dirt off, and pop it in the bin.
If everyone does a little weeding each day, we can make a dent in the numbers and control some of the weeds around Broome.
The focus at the moment is on two species that are growing fast, so it is important to get onto them before they set seed.
This herb has yellow flowers and spreads out across the ground in a radial pattern.
It grows nasty burrs with spines that get in bike tyres and thongs.
As a result, its seeds get moved around and it tends to be common along the edge of paths and wherever people walk.
Generally caltrop is easy to pull out, but you might need gloves if the burrs have started to form.
This vine from South America grows fast and climbs up and through trees and shrubs.
The leaves have a distinctive smell and it has tendrils that wrap around objects as it climbs.
The round orange fruit contain seeds that are spread by birds and fruit-bats.
This time of year Coffee Bush seedlings are popping up everywhere. It is good to get them when they are small, before they take root properly.
Keep an eye out for the seedlings in areas where Coffee Bush dropped seed during the dry season.
The seed leaves (cotyledons) are relatively thick and the new leaves are pinnate (branched).
Coffee Bush (Leucaena leucocephala) seedlings
A vine that is growing profusely at the moment is Merremia. These vines have germinated and are pushing out growing stems that will attach themselves to plants and fences. They grow in profusion and smother other plants, including native trees.
Group of young Merremia reaching for the sky
Bellyache Bush is a growing problem in town. Once again it is good to pull them out before they get too big and unmanageable.
Seedlings look like this:
then they get bigger ..
Eventually they will reach the size of a small tree, with robust stems. They have characteristic dark red flowers, green fruits and palmate (hand-shaped) leaves. Be careful with this plant because the leaves are toxic.
SKIPA members Ayesha (left) and Carla (right) weeding at Minyirr Park.