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Bassia scoparia - kochia/fireweed  RSS feed

 
Kelly Smith
Posts: 703
Location: In a rain shadow - Fremont County, Southern CO
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hello everyone.
i wanted to start a thread on the plant we call "kochia weed".
it is pretty rampant around where i live, and i see people spending enormous amounts of time and energy to keep it at bay (impossible), but i wanted to see what others do with it.

it is EXTREMELY drought tolerant annual that freely reseeds.

as far as i can tell, the cows will eat it as long as it hasnt gotten to tall/fibery. they cant eat to much of it though as it is toxic in large amounts. i have been told they bale it in TX

just from watching what kochia does om my property, it seems its a great nurse crop.
i have kochia weeds that are over 6 ft tall, i am using it to shade recently planted fruit trees. the leaves and dense enough that it seems to help as a wind break as well as helping shade the ground.

here are some pictures, although it seems they vary quite a bit.





here are some links:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bassia_scoparia

https://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/afcm/kochia.html

http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/WEEDS/kochia.html


does anyone else have this "weed" in there area? what are you using it for?
thanks in advance.
 
Kelly Smith
Posts: 703
Location: In a rain shadow - Fremont County, Southern CO
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wanted to add some pictures i thought were interesting.

we prepared an area last year and planted some fruit trees in it. shortly after i have to abandon keeping up with that portion of the farm, though it did get irrigated with the rest of the farm per our water rights/schedule. (its swaled )

we had ~6-7ft tall kochia plants all through the area. the kochia towered over the bareroot fruit trees that had recently been planted.
i didnt notice the kochia to be shading and keeping the wind off the fruit trees. all that shade kept the ground moist longer. of the 50 trees we planted, all but 6 seem to have made it through a very tough first year.

flash to this year and i am going through cutting all the kochia off at ground level and im going to chip the kochia up for mulching/composting.
as we were walking by i noticed all of the ground under the kochia plants are green with baby plants. looks like a green carpet in a desert.

here is a great example of nature always trying to keep the soil covered and fighting it, for the most part is futile


EDIT:
cant seem to get the pictures to face the correct way...
kochia1.jpg
[Thumbnail for kochia1.jpg]
kochia2.jpg
[Thumbnail for kochia2.jpg]
 
Isaac Bickford
Posts: 101
Location: Okanogan County, WA
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We have it too. It's listed as a noxious weed in my county, meaning I have a legal responsibility to control it. I've been pulling it and scuffing up the tiny seedlings in a good faith effort to comply with the law, since I'm on the fence about whether the plant is a "do it's job and go away" kind of weed, or an "aggressive, modify the environment to perpetuate it's existence" kind of weed. I look forward to seeing more discussion on this!
 
Kelly Smith
Posts: 703
Location: In a rain shadow - Fremont County, Southern CO
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fwiw - i have noticed my cows will eat it while its young/tender. but once it is long/stemmy they dont want it.
it is not on the noxious weed list in my county - though we did have 3 people offer to mow the "weeds" when they got tall last year


i plan to leave a portion of the overgrown kochia to itself and see how the area progresses. so far, i havent found anything that has been able to knock the standing dead out of the ground (30+mph winds and heavy wet snow havent done it this year), so im not sure much will grow under it - we will see.



 
Margie Nieuwkerk
Posts: 51
Location: Bulgaria, Zone 7/8
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Kochia plants make GREAT outdoor brooms!

If you take two or 3 kochia plants at maturity, either dry them or wait for them to be dried, tie them together from the root end going up about a foot or two, these make fantastic outdoor brooms. This is what they do in my village here. For outside on patio and drive areas, there is no broom that is better. I think you use about 3 of them in a year. I would imagine if you chop kochia down before it goes to seed, they would make a really nice chop and drop mulch as well.

I am going to try it this year. I am also thinking of planting some in little short rows as windbreaks for some of my other stuff and see if it works.
 
Isaac Bickford
Posts: 101
Location: Okanogan County, WA
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If you chop and drop, they will form twice as many seed heads unless you cut it all the way to the ground. Any branches left on the stem below the cutting point will flower. That's my experience at least.
 
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