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Running the Farm : Weeds

This section contains articles on weeds you may find on your farm and how to deal with them. There are hundreds of other useful articles in our lifestyle file. If you're looking for something in particular then use the search box above. If not, then browse the article titles and see what there is to help you. If you can't find an answer here then why not ask in our discussion forums? One of the very friendly and helpful members is sure to be able to help you.

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Mallow varieties have a variety of botanical names, can grow up to 2 metres tall, or crawl along the ground, or be various sizes in between.

Cleavers is that maddening weed which appears everywhere in early summer and climbs through, round and over grasses and low shrubs, trying to smother everything.

As a member of the geranium family the winter weed we know as storksbill was originally labelled by that great name dropper Linnaeus in 1753 as Geranium cicutarium.

When is a weed not a weed?  Well possibly when it’s a plantain.

These days, with the heavy emphasis on achieving maximum production from our pastures, the ‘preferred’ species are perennial ryegrasses and white clover.

With un-mown lawns and pasture sprinkled with the cheerful yellow flowers of dandelions and other ‘flatweeds’ we look at their names and characteristics.

Barley grass is one of nature’s survivors.

Despite their alarming names these are two rather inoffensive weeds, more often found in gardens and crops rather than pasture as they prefer loose, fertile soils.

“Write about fireweed” said a friend, “I’ve got it growing all over the place”.

Do you remember seeing photos of brides from the 1930s each clutching a huge and unwieldy spray of what are commonly called arum lilies?

Ranging from low weeds to large bushes the nightshades all have one thing in common – they are definitely not for eating.  

Famously known as the poison which killed Socrates, hemlock is alive and living in New Zealand, and is still capable of causing death or at least birth defects in pregnant animals which eat the foliage.

Thistles were already a problem in New Zealand by the 1850s.

Topping two or three times a year, and a follow-up grazing, provides very good Californian thistle control.

AgResearch weed scientist Trevor James says he didn't know what he was looking at, at first. It was a photograph of velvetleaf (Abutilon theophrasti), one of the worst weeds in America and possibly the world.  And it had just been found growing in the Waikato.

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