• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Invasive elephant grass  RSS feed

 
Dawn Hoff
Posts: 504
Location: Andalucía, Spain
26
bee books chicken greening the desert rabbit trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
In Spain - or at least in Andalucia - along every river, stream and crook the caña grows tall. I spoke with a local farmer the other day and he told me that it had been imported from India some 50 years ago and now it is eating up everything (I've seen it growing in the middle of fields), and it kills the trees even. We have a little growing behind our spring - but mostly it is oleander that grows there. Fourther down in our valley there is another spring and some grows there too - but also oleander, olives, carob, black berries etc etc. now I don't know if that is because it just hasn't really spread here yet or if there is some other reason.

I can't help think that they are there for a reason? The Spanish have been so preoccupied with getting the water /away/ when it rains that they have cleared everything around rivers etc. but I'm not sure at all.

Anybody in here knows anything about it? And if it is indeed invasive - what can be done, any trees that can survive and shade them out eventually?
 
John Elliott
pollinator
Posts: 2392
79
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Are we talking about Arundo donax here? It is invasive stuff, but it is native to the Mediterranean, so it is part of the ecosystem.
 
Dawn Hoff
Posts: 504
Location: Andalucía, Spain
26
bee books chicken greening the desert rabbit trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
That looks very much like it.

But then how come at least two older farmer have told me that it was not there when they were kids?
 
John Elliott
pollinator
Posts: 2392
79
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Dawn Hoff wrote:
But then how come at least two older farmer have told me that it was not there when they were kids?


It comes and it goes. I've noticed it as far east and north as Crimea. It takes a lot of nutrients to support a dense stand. I suppose that after a heavy infestation has depleted the soil, it might stay absent for a couple of decades (or longer) before new seeds blow in and restart the cycle.

We have it here in Georgia, but it doesn't seem to spread from its established stands. Could be that we have other things that can out-compete it -- kudzu, blackberries, Johnson grass, willows, etc.
 
Dawn Hoff
Posts: 504
Location: Andalucía, Spain
26
bee books chicken greening the desert rabbit trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ah - so since all the nutrients from the mountains are washed down in the Valle Guardalhorce - they thrive there, but since our mountain is completely depleted they aren't here ...
 
Dawn Hoff
Posts: 504
Location: Andalucía, Spain
26
bee books chicken greening the desert rabbit trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
But then - if we build should up here, will the little we have spread?
 
John Elliott
pollinator
Posts: 2392
79
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Dawn Hoff wrote:But then - if we build should up here, will the little we have spread?


It's probably easier to keep from invading than people fret about. Why is it a big problem in Southern California, where it is considered an exotic invasive? Because it clogs up the seasonally wet river beds. What areas get no attention from private property owners or local governments -- seasonally wet river beds.

If you burn it down, that leaves the root system, which is ready to grow like gangbusters the next time it gets warm and wet. Can you send in the animals to mow it down? No, it builds up silica particles in the leaves, which makes it extremely rough forage so they will prefer anything else and leave it alone. That leaves mowing it and then yanking out the roots, a laborious method to get control over it, so you better not let the stand get too big. On a well attended permaculture property, you will spot it and remove it before it becomes a problem. If you are trying to conquer a new area where it has just established itself, it can be done, but you have your work cut out for you.

Maybe the name "elephant grass" is the clue here. They are the only herbivores big enough and persistent enough to keep it under control. They can use their trunks to rip it out by the roots, and maybe they like the gritty taste of the leaves.
 
Dawn Hoff
Posts: 504
Location: Andalucía, Spain
26
bee books chicken greening the desert rabbit trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My daughter said she wanted elephants a and giraffes, but no lions, when we bought this place
 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
Posts: 6781
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
263
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Constant short mowing hurts most grass and kills most everything else. If the situation won't accommodate a power mower, a cordless electric hedge cutter can be used to maintain it as short as half an inch. Elephants rip it out and let it recover. With short mowing, there is no recovery period. Few plants can withstand this.
 
Onion rings are vegetable donuts. Taste this tiny ad:
FT Position Available: Affiliate Manager Who Loves Permaculture & Homesteading
https://permies.com/t/69742/FT-Position-Affiliate-Manager-Loves
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!