Every so often, I see a series of pictures on social media related to weeds and how some of them are beneficial. In the rainy season, weeds are a bane because they take over my garden. But this month, I put my mind to it and realized that I did want to understand a little more about weeds and what they are.
Not all weeds are created equal. I don't freak out when the Nelanelli pops up in my containers. I try to keep them in check a bit, but nelanelli has their virtues. The roots have nodules and help fertilize the soil. They're also edible with tons of medicinal value. And so, as long as my entire balcony garden is not a nelanelli patch, I can happily co-exist with a few.
So what is a weed?
A weed is a plant with no (apparent) value to humans. Weeds compete with crops for water, nutrients, and sunlight. Perennial weeds live through several seasons and then die back in the winter. Some perennial weeds have underground stems called rhizomes, and these rhizomes sprout new plants when they come into contact with soil.
Parthenium, one of the most invasive weeds
But not all weeds are bad. Here are some of the beneficial weeds.
Garikehullu (Cynodon doctylon)
Also known as Bermuda Grass, this grass variety is grown into mats and used in golf courses and sports fields because of its tough nature. Its juice is said to have high medicinal value. A concoction of one measure of grass with half measure of betel leaves and a quarter measure of pepper is an excellent blood purifier. This juice of Garikehullu is supposed to be great for women with menstrual ailments.
Punarnava (Boerhavia diffusa)
Punarnava is a crawling weed belonging to the four o'clock family. It is rich in amino acids and possesses anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-diabetic properties. A curry made of this leaf and lentils makes a delicious dish. Punar means again, and Nava means new. The plant dies off in a year, and it sprouts back up again with the same root. Also, Punarnava is an excellent anti-aging herb.
Puliyarai (Oxalis corniculata)
The Indian sorrel grows in moist places. The leaves have a tangy taste and are used to make a chutney and fried thuvar and channa dhal spiced with pepper and coriander seeds. Its medicinal properties are said to treat stomach ulcers and amoebiosis. A paste of the leaves and shallots helps reduce pimples and acne.
Brahmadande (Argemone Mexicana)
Mexican poppy is a prickly plant with whitish-grey foliage and beautiful yellow flowers, similar to hibiscus. It exudes an unpleasant-smelling sap when cut. The leaves are a good sedative and have anti-allergic properties, and oil from the seeds treats skin problems.
Naram bele Soppu (Cleome Gynandra)
The Dog Mustard is seen along the roadside and on wastelands. It has fragrant leaves that treat edema. Sinus-related headaches reduce by inhaling the steam of water in which these leaves. The leaves are cooked with mixed greens, green chillies, jeera, and garlic. Once the water evaporates, the cooked leaves are churned with butter and eaten with chapattis or rice.
How do we control weeds?
The most common method of controlling weeds is by using herbicides. Herbicides are chemicals that kill weeds. There are many different kinds of herbicide products available. The most commonly used herbicide is glyphosate. Glyphosate kills weeds by interfering with their ability to produce energy, and it does not harm animals or people. Herbicides are applied to the ground where you want to eliminate weeds.
There are many ways to control weeds, and you must choose the best way for your situation.
1) Hand Pulling:
This method uses hand pulling to remove weeds. First, use a garden trowel to dig out all the topsoil around the base of the weed. Then pull up the weed without disturbing the roots. If the weed comes out quickly, it may need to be pulled again.
Hoes are tools that cut off the tops of weeds. You can use hoes to cut down tall weeds or chop smaller weeds. Use a sharp blade on the end of the handle. Cut at an angle, so the blade cuts only partway through the stem. Make sure you don't cut too deep.
Sprays work well for small areas. You spray the place where you want to get rid of the weeds, and the rush will kill the weeds. Be careful not to spray near any living things.
Drenches are liquids that soak into the soil, and they can be sprayed directly onto the soil surface or watered into the ground. When drenches soak into the earth, they move away from the weeds, making it easier to find the weeds later.
Seeds germinate and become plants. Seeds are usually planted in rows, and the seeds spread naturally. You can also buy special weed seeds that will help prevent weeds.
6) Cover Cropping:
Cover cropping is planting a crop over another one. For example, if you wanted to grow corn, you could plant some beans alongside it. This reduces competition between the two plants, and the beans would provide nitrogen fertilizer while the corn provides food.
7) Weed Seeders:
These machines are like lawnmowers. They cut grass and weeds and collect the clippings and throw them up into the air. This helps keep the grass short and keeps weeds under control.
Mulches cover the soil and keep it warm while also adding organic matter to the earth, which improves the health of the ground.
9) Bait Plants:
Bait plants are plants that attract insects. Insects eat the bait plants, leaving behind eggs or larvae, which destroy more plants.
10) Soil Fertilizer:
Soil fertilizers add nutrients to the soil, making the earth stronger and healthier. You can apply this to your yard yourself. Or you can hire someone else to do it.
11) Plant Growth Regulators:
Plant growth regulators slow down the growth rate of certain plants, which allows you to harvest before the plant reaches maturity.
12) Biological Controls:
Some pests have natural enemies that prey on them, and these predators eat the pest.
Pesticides are biological chemicals that kill pests, and they are applied when there is no other option.
14) Mechanical Weeding:
Mechanical weeding involves using an automatic device to pull weeds. Some people call these devices "weed whackers."
15) Chemical Weeding:
Chemical weeding is done with herbicides. Herbicides are chemicals that kill weeds.
Solarization is a process that kills weeds by exposing them to sunlight, and it works best in hot weather.
18) Green Manure:
Green manure is a type of plant that adds nutrients to the soil, and it is then plowed back into the ground after being harvested.
19) Controlling Weeds With Other Plants:
You can use companion planting to control weeds. Companion planting means growing different types of plants together.
Crop Rotation for weeds
Crop rotation provides the foundation for long-term weed management. Planting various crops with varied characteristics reduces the likelihood that specific weed species will become adapted to the system and become problematic. According to Liebman and Dyck (1993), "the success of rotation systems for weed suppression appears to be based on the use of crop sequences that employ varying patterns of resource competition, allelopathic interference, soil disturbance, and mechanical damage to provide an unstable and frequently inhospitable environment that prevents the proliferation of a particular weed species."
Rotating crops allows farmers to turn other aspects of the crop management system, including timing and type of tillage operation, seeding date, timing and type of herbicide application, and type and amount of fertilizer application.
If you had more weeds than seedlings last year or are already feeling defeated by the number of weeds choking out your favorite plants, don't worry! These surefire tips will help you keep down weed populations during the growing season:
Know your enemy.
Before determining your best defense strategy against weeds, you need to know what you're up against. Some weeds or grasses are shallow-rooted annuals, and others are deep-rooted perennials like certain runner grasses. The two types require different control methods. Arm yourself with a good field guide, then identify and inventory your weeds.
Assault annual weeds when it's dry.
Wait for the weather to be hot and dry for several days, then attack young annual weeds with a rake, hoe, or trowel. That way, the drought-stressed weeds are sure to wither and die, even if your cultivation doesn't remove the entire root of the plant.
Shower perennial weeds.
The long taproots of perennial weeds cannot be pulled out when the soil is dry. To remove these weeds, wait for wet soil—either from rainfall or your hose. If the soil is damp and loose, even pesky deep-rooted weeds should come out with their roots intact—which means they won't grow back!
Comb that grass right out of your beds.
If invasive grasses, such as Johnsongrass or Bermuda grass, threaten your garden, use a pitchfork to "comb" your beds before you plant again. Work the soil until it's sufficiently loose for planting, then go over the entire area with a pitchfork, stabbing into the ground and levering it back toward the soil's surface. The tines of the fork will catch any buried grassroots, which you can then remove by hand.
Become a mulching maniac.
Deprive weeds of the light they need by covering bare soil with a thick layer of grass clippings, shredded leaves, pine needles, or other organic mulch. Any survivors who manage to penetrate the mulch are so weak that you can easily remove them by hand.
If you've got a large-scale weed problem, bake the plants beneath a sheet of clear plastic. For best results, wet the soil before covering it with plastic. Leave the plastic in place for at least three weeks—ideally, when the weather is hot and sunny. This method is especially effective against cool-season weeds and annual grasses.
Boiling Water: Yep, that's right. Plain-old H2O can be used as a highly effective weed killer. Boiling water is more effective than many of your store-bought weed killers in wiping out unwanted vegetation. Easy-peasy to do. Put a kettle of tap water on the stove and heat till boiling, then pour on the weeds you wish to kill. You are effectively cooking the plant in the ground. Boiling water is a great way to clear out vegetation wholesale, like driveways and sidewalks. But be warned, boiling water is not selective. It will cook and instantly kill any plant that it comes in contact with, including the underground roots of nearby plants.
Let lettuce help your peas.
Raking the soil can damage peas and other shallow-rooted crops, and that's why broad-leaved weeds can quickly overtake them. So why not establish an edible, living mulch to fight the weeds and provide an extra early-season crop? Sow seeds of fast-growing leaf lettuce thickly between young pea plants, and the lettuce will outperform the weeds, and you can harvest the lettuce thinnings as you pick your peas.
Till them two times
Use a tiller to battle the weeds, the seeds of which can remain viable in the soil for years. Run the tiller through the beds as early as possible in spring to bring the weed seeds closer to the soil's surface, where they can germinate. That's right: Encourage the weed seeds to sprout! Then, a week or two later, till a second time to clear the area of the young weeds before planting the vegetables.
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- Describe the five general categories of weed control methods. - Controlling weeds in forage crop production may involve a wide range of techniques. Nevertheless, virtually all weed control methods may be classified into one or more of five main categories. The 5 (forages.oregonstate.edu)
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- Weed Control Methods: Which Best Suits You? - When weeds are giving you a headache, which method do you deploy to reduce the adverse impact? Do you use the way that is most effective in control, the most environmentally friendly or the most cost-effective? Understanding which weed control methods there are will go a long way to reducing the bur... (pasture.io)
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- Discuss various methods for weed control. - Click here👆to get an answer to your question ✍️ Discuss various methods for weed control. (toppr.com)
- Herbicide control methods - Find out about chemical control methods for weeds on your property in Queensland, including spraying, and safeguards for the use of herbicides. (business.qld.gov.au)
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- Are herbicides a once in a century method of weed control? - PubMed - The efficacy of any pesticide is an exhaustible resource that can be depleted over time. For decades, the dominant paradigm - that weed mobility is low relative to insect pests and pathogens, that there is an ample stream of new weed control technologies in the commercial pipeline, and that technology... (pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Integrated weed management (dpi.nsw.gov.au)
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- TNC Global Invasive Species Team page (invasive.org)
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