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useful invasive weed idea!

 
                    
Posts: 47
Location: Bainbridge, Wa
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Some invasive weeds have medicinal purposes, but the majority tend to be shunned and banished from fields and gardens. 
I think I have happened upon a clever idea that won't make me rich at all, but instead make land recovery an organized process.

So what I would like to do is take on acres of canadian thistle for my example,
My approach to remove canadian thistle would be by applying quak grass and english ivy onto your canadian thistle patch, till it in, then watch them compete and pull the tops of thistle.

Now you have a quak grass issue where it's hot, and english ivy where moisturish.  Throw in some Black berry roots to shade them out, till it up again!
eventually in 10 years it will become a blackberry thicket, where it otherwise would become a blackberry/thistle thicket.  Blackberries are a big thorny bastard that is manageable by hand, but even quicker when you throw in the famished goats! watch them go..!

eventually you will have to walk around with a fork, and pull up those rhyzombials that linger behind, so maybe follow behind with pigs.

THat is my idea rant, accept it, or dont
ideas welcomed
 
duane hennon
gardener
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Location: western pennsylvania zone 5/a
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invasive plants like canadian thistle, blackberry, and quak grass tend to be sun loving pioneers species that quickly establish of disturbed ground. they are nature's band-aids to heal bare ground. and like band-aids they can be painful to remove.
if one wants to return the ground to forest,  plant trees and the shade will eventually get rid of most of them.
if one wants to have pasture or gardens , first run some animals thru with intensive grazing . plowing will only bring up another billion or so seeds to resprout and burn needless organic matter.

when asked one time "how to get rid of blackberries ,Mollison said "throw some spoiled apples into the patch, in twenty years when trees from those apples start bearing fruit, put some cows in, the cows will trample the blackberries trying to get to the apples"
 
Mekka Pakanohida
Posts: 383
Location: Zone 9 - Coastal Oregon
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English Ivy where I am is an invasive weed. 

The ivy where I am is established by birds in the amazingly un-diverse monocultural deserts that the timber industry created in the Pacific Northwest.

For your blackberries, I like the idea, but I am throwing a pig into the mix.  Something has to eat the blackberry roots else they just come back.
 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
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or you can use the thistle as a cover crop and till in constantly when it grows back. like duane said, this is what nature wants to do, which is use those plants to heal the soil. so all you need to do is help it along. over time the same plants will not like to grow in that spot anymore, and another  plant  species will move in, followed by something else and so on until the soil is fertile again.

when i first moved here we have a HUGE milk thistle patch, solid thick about 30'x20' growing under some oak trees. in the summer it would dry out to a horrible 5ft mess of thorns. by simply just chop and drop mulching that spot at the right times it now has no thistles, mostly beneficial plants, and the soil is dark, deep rich in organic matter(previously was clay/silt). after i cut it down, the thistles grew back like crazy, so i cut them again, and again and i think one more time that season. next year there was only half as much, the next year there was only 2-3 thistle plants and new fertile planting ground to deal with. no thistles ever since in that spot.

this works for a lot of weeds, just don't let them go to seed that is very important. just keep chopping.
 
gary gregory
Posts: 395
Location: northern california, 50 miles inland from Mendocino, zone 7
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Ruso wrote:
Some invasive weeds have medicinal purposes, but the majority tend to be shunned and banished from fields and gardens. 
I think I have happened upon a clever idea that won't make me rich at all, but instead make land recovery an organized process.

So what I would like to do is take on acres of canadian thistle for my example,
My approach to remove canadian thistle would be by applying quak grass and english ivy onto your canadian thistle patch, till it in, then watch them compete and pull the tops of thistle.

Now you have a quak grass issue where it's hot, and english ivy where moisturish.  Throw in some Black berry roots to shade them out, till it up again!
eventually in 10 years it will become a blackberry thicket, where it otherwise would become a blackberry/thistle thicket.  Blackberries are a big thorny bastard that is manageable by hand, but even quicker when you throw in the famished goats! watch them go..!

eventually you will have to walk around with a fork, and pull up those rhyzombials that linger behind, so maybe follow behind with pigs.

THat is my idea rant, accept it, or dont
ideas welcomed


What size is the area you are considering?    Why are the thistles growing there?    What grows naturally there?  Do you already have plenty of food growing elsewhere?
I need your observations to come up with an answer

I like "pioneer species" rather than invasive.  I think the only invasive in your proposal is the tiller.
 
                          
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While we're on the subject, I'm trying to decide how I feel about Paulownia in Maine.

Dan
 
Kay Bee
Posts: 471
Location: Jackson County, OR (Zone 7)
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I think for a lot of the invasives, fertility is the key.  As in soil's example above, the chop n  drop works to eliminate seeds, but also increase the fertility of the soil so you don't have other thistles coming back in.

I'll be tackling some of our poison oak issues this way.  If I can improve the fertility, it should discourage the poison oak while making a nice spot to encourage other useful plants.

Even wild blackberries have a hard time coming up through thick mulch and dominating an area.  Their roots will run like crazy, but they are easy to pull up when the soil is loose and crumbly.
 
Ran Prieur
Posts: 66
Location: Spokane and near Diamond Lake, WA
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You can teach cows to eat canadian thistle and other weeds:

http://thetaoofcow.com/2010/12/07/is-teaching-cows-to-eat-canada-thistle-a-beneficial-weed-control-technique/
 
Haru Yasumi
Posts: 102
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I've seen several times where people have piled wood in a field and blackberry brambles appear quickly.  Their seeds are everywhere here and perhaps there are birds attracted to the wood and/or the stuff that lives in/under there.  I think if I wanted to start a blackberry patch this would be my method of choice, providing I had some spare wood to just leave out.

Also regarding the thistles - this year I went looking for some hollow-stemmed plants to make mason bee tubes from.  A video I saw mentioned Japanese Knotweed but the patch I knew had stems that were too narrow.  On a bike ride I saw some thistles and the stems seem just right for mason bee habitat - about the right dimensions and hollow except at the nodes.  The two bundles on the right are thistle stems, then there's some bamboo and some apple wood I'm trying out:



Maybe this could be another benefit from growing these plants.
 
Emerson White
Posts: 1206
Location: Alaska
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You know it sounds like a good idea at first, but I don't think it is. These plants are such a problem because nothing here eats them, lots of biological control methods have been tried that have not ended, and done so poorly. A lot of the time the organism we introduce to get rid of the one we shouldn't have introduced ends up doing more harm than good. While it might be nice to compete with the thistle you should try and find a plant that you want to have to do the competing.
 
Terri Matthews
Posts: 468
Location: Eastern Kansas
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Goats are not fond of grass, so I do not think that quack grass would be a good thing to plant!

Goats do eat blackberry, or at least the neighbor never had any in his goat pen. I personally keep my blackberries under control by mowing them, but that is just me. A goat would work just as well.
 
John Polk
master steward
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Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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A weed is merely a plant which mankind has yet to discover a use for.
Or, it can simply describe a plant growing in the wrong place...an orchid growing in your wheat field is a weed.
 
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