Very persistent stuff! As it grows 6' or more tall and smothers most plants including sunchokes and nearly chokes young fruit trees, I need to find a method to get rid of it in the most sensitive areas such as around my fruit tree guilds (surrounded by and beginning to choke out the asparagus/comfrey/other herbs,berry bushes etc), the small fruit area and veggie patch. I often will weedwack around the fruit trees, without hitting the cultivated species- but naturally you're hitting a few each week.
I have tried:
-Cows keep it down in all but my aprox 1.5-2 acres of fenced planned food producing zones.
-gallons of horticultural vinegar, seems to work a bit but repeated applications are surely bad for soil
-cardboard/corn plastic and combos
-pigs, they did an ok job but left a few patches- trying them again this year- but this method does not help already planted areas!!
-ducks/chickens/geese... they pick at young shoots but don't seem thrilled with the coarse leaves- it is not palatable like many other grasses\weeds. And continual mowing for shoots was tried and I actually had grass eating geese losing weight- they don't like the stuff
-I'm sure others I'm forgetting
I was hoping that outcompeting the grass with more beneficial species would do the trick but I've created a maintenance nightmare... I always thought of permaculture as low maintenance after establishment but here it is a full time job. I pay my mortgage by working off-farm- I'm unable to spend all of my time weeding.
If you happen to have any ideas, I'd appreciate hearing them! Thanks!
"The grass can also easily be turned into bricks or pellets for burning in biomass power stations."
"Furthermore it provides fibers which find use in pulp and papermaking processes."
But...you probably don't have enough to make it a cash crop in those ways.
If you click "next" you'll see how this person makes a drink from the thing...
Oh my goodness...is he/she making DMT from that stuff? You're RICH! ahhahah
anyhoo, moving on...
Buy a home pellet making machine and heat your home?
As for getting rid of it...what is the square feet/meters of the thing. Could you build a huge (1 meter tall) hot compost pile over it burn it out? Smother it alla sheet mulch - from gaia's garden? Make a huge mound of something that worms like over it and then put 6 inches of dirt and grow stuff on top. Goats? -- then get the pigs in, then grow sunchokes, then get the pigs in again, then build a huge sheet mulch. Just wondering out loud.
There are several ways to encourage animals to go after one species specifically. There is a woman named Kathy Voth doing some really cool work training cows to eat unwanted species. Here's a link to her website.
Even if they do eat the grass, you can use a similar method to simply encourage their taste for it. We're thinking of spraying some of the canadian and musk thistles with a sugar solution to teach goats and sheep to seek them out, we'll see how it works. Set stock grazing may control the species, but unless the animals seek out the invasive, they will stress desired species at the same time.
If it's a really small area that needs to be controlled, you could use boiling water. After a rain you could use a weed burner torch, but be careful with those things....I started a board fence on fire once.
Without soil disturbance, think about planting in dense rows, one scythe swath apart, flagging well. Protect bases with old sections of drain pipe, and mow once a year to reduce overtopping until your replacement tree crop is 'free to grow' (above the sometimes 6' canopy).
The only viable alternative is gylphosate, which is taboo around here... Or several years of continuous tillage and clean cultivation...
No offense, but I have never seen any of the the 'low impact' weed management tricks get very far in a thicket of RCG. I'd prefer transitioning to forest through a doghair stand of pioneer trees.
Another option as mentioned above is to simply manage it as an organic matter source for another area (like mulch, fodder, or fuel mentioned above)... harvest before seed set.
But anyway, in several places on the refuge I have observed an ongoing battle between RCG and stinging nettle. In most of these places it appears that the nettle is slowly winning - but I cannot yet say for sure.
One of the experiments I plan to do is to plant nettle in the midst of RCG and see what happens.
Another experiment will be to try various methods of planting native shrubs and trees in a patch of nettle.
So the idea is to first let the nettle beat back the RCG a bit, then establish native shrubs and trees in the nettle. Hopefully the combination of nettle and trees will keep the RCG in a weakened state.
Paul Cereghino wrote:I'll look for nettle interactions! I think of nettle as a nitrogen indicator. I bet soil moisture and nitrogen levels might affect competition between RCG and nettle, with nettle favoring drier, shadier and more nutrient rich settings, but maybe failing as it gets too wet.. at which point switching over to willow might be better suited... just speculating out loud.
A temporary patch of weed fabric can keep the competition down long enough to get your canopy up above the grass.
Because it is so intensely rhizomatous, and the clonal mass can transfer nutrients and water laterally, I have speculated that chisel plowing or tillage might be a good treatment before covering or mulching, in that it disrupts the network, and the fragments don't have as much energy individually to get established again than if you were trying to affect the clonal network.
Unfortunately, by the time it is dry enough to burn, all the energy has gone back down the rhizome system. I'm not sure it would skip a beat...
My main method would be: 6 mil black plastic from Sept-May followed by thick buckwheat or radish...
In the big picture, it's a decent grass and helps keep canada thistle down
Warning, I live in the tropics - beware trying Acacia outside of the tropics.
I raise rabbits and play with things like this with their feed. Sometimes you just have to look at something from a different angle!