In the past I have laughed about Ian having crawled on hands and knees over the whole 10 acres rooting out the dreaded khaki weed. Now I understand that it can take this kind of persistence to eradicate many weeds. I have more recently joined the weed brigade and developed beady eyes for certain types. It can be tricky identifying weeds from the good plants to begin with. When we would go out weeding together I must have asked Ian a thousand times about whether it was safe to pull up something or not. I gradually came to distinguish weeds and to identify them even when they were tiny (and looked dissimilar to the mature weed). Sometimes photos and descriptions are not conclusive enough to the beginning gardener. I started by giving some weeds my own name e.g. ‘the bulldog’ because it was so tough to pull out. Sometimes Ian will still spray an area that has been overrun with weeds but more and more we are containing the weeds by digging or hand-pulling. Even though I once would not have believed it, there can be a lot of satisfaction in tracing a vine back to the soil and thoroughly pulling out the long root!
Ian has already removed:
Camphor Laurel (Cinnamomum camphora) China, Japan, Taiwan
Prickly Pear (common) (Opuntia stricta) Carribean
Fireweed (Senecio madagascariensis) South Africa
Khaki Weed (Alternanthera pungens) South America
Lantana (Lantana camara)
Blackberry (Rubus fruticosis) Europe
Fishbone Fern (Nephrolepis cordifolia)
The three most virulent vines which require constant monitoring are:
Climbing Asparagus Fern (Asparagus africanus)
(large ones have to be dug out to reach the crown, very heavy work)
Glycine (Neonotonia wightii)
Balloon Vine (Cardiospermum grandiflorum)
These three vines are followed closely by:
Chinese Elm (Celtis sinensis)
Cadaghi (Corymbia torelliana) North Qld
Six of these are removed by an arborist in May 2012 however there are still another six to go.
Castor Oil Plants (Ricinus communis) Africa and Eurasia
Blue Billy Goat Weed (Ageratum houstonianum)
Queen Palm, Cocos Palm (Syagrus romanzoffiana)
All six of these palms are removed in May, 2012.
Wandering Jew ( Tradescantia fluminensis) South America
Cobbler’s Pegs (Bidens pilosa) Europe
Umbrella Tree (Schefflera actinophylla) North Qld
Scotch Thistle (Onopordum acanthium) Europe, Asia., Asia Minor
(in the front paddock)
Murraya , Mock Orange (Murraya paniculata) Asia, Melasia, Northern Australia
Thickhead (Crassocephalum crepidioides) Africa
Guava (Psidium guajava and P. guineense) America, Brazil (2 types)
African Tulip Tree (Spathodea campanulata) Africa
Caltrop / Bindii (Tribulus terrestris) Mediterranean
Easter Cassia (Senna pendula var. glabrata)
Duranta/ Geisha Girl (Duranta erecta) Both Americas
Ochna (Ochna serrulata) (Mickey Mouse plant)
Drunken Parrot Tree/Tree fuschia/Boer Bean ( Schotia brachypetala) South Africa
Golden Rain Tree (Koelreuteria elegans supsp. formosana) Tropical Asia
Common Sida, Sida-retusa, Paddy’s Lucerne (Sida rhombifolia) World-wide, cosmopolitan
Corky Passion Vine (Passiflora suberosa) Tropical America
Stinking Roger (Tagetes minuta) South America
Blackberry Nightshade (Solanum nigrum) Europe, Asia and northern Africa
Brazilian Nightshade (Solanum seaforthianum)
Flaxleaf Fleabane (Conyza bonariensis) North America
Broad-leaf Pepper Tree (Schinus terebinthifolius) Brazil
In May 2012 we arrange for an arborist to remove the two we have on the driveway.
Honey Locust (Gleditsia triacanthos) Eastern and central North America – one in in centre of lawn circle
Horned Melon (Cucumis metuliferus) Africa
Unfortunately in March 2012, Ian finds Dutchman’s Pipe for the first time (Aristolochia spp. other than native species – from Brazil) as well as Singapore Daisy (Sphagneticola trilobata – from Tropical America) along the river’s edge which seems to suggest they arrived here due to the flood from somewhere upstream.
After the 2011 floods the first tips to come through the mud by the hundreds were new Chinese Elms as well as dozens of castor oil plants. Next, a host of glycine started appearing especially on the rims or knobs of the eroded bank. As the grass returned the search for glycine continued as we slashed the grass by hand around dozens of new plants to allow the plants to breathe. At least after the flood the soil released the roots of the weeds quite easily. At this point the climbing asparagus fern started to emerge. Where there had been old vines small fluffy heads of asparagus pushed up through the soil. We needed to use hand trowels to be certain of getting the entire roots. An occasional deep-rooted old vine would be found flourishing under grass and debris. If Ian was not there to help I developed a pink string system – I would tie enormous bows of pink around this vine so that later Ian could readily find and dig them out. Last of all, lots of balloon vines began to appear with a bright lime colour for easy identification. They came out relatively easily if they were not too entangled with other vegetation.
A year on from the flood we still go out to clear around the staked plants all along the riverbank and we congratulate ourselves on being vigilant early on. There are still weeds to be found but it would have been a monumental task if we had not done the earlier work.
Sadly, there are more weeds to be identified but in the last year we have been working on the BIG ones!