Cape weed is one of many problem weeds around Melbourne found in lawns, garden beds and pasture. They will be flowering by the end of winter producing thousands of seeds and potential new plants. Weed control needs an ongoing management plan. There will be a seed bank of the weed that is growing in the same area and those seeds can still germinate for around the next 15 years. “One years seeds is 15 years weeds” The aim is to kill the weeds before they go to seed every year to reduce the seed bank until it is exhausted. A few ways to reduce this weed are to add lime, Cape weed doesn’t like a higher pH but your lawn does. Fertilize your lawn so it is stronger and can compete with the cape weed. Mow your lawn high, weeds are opportunists if there is bare soil they will grow in it. Lastly a selective broad leaf herbicide, timing is important spray before the weed flowers. Most seeds will have germinated by the end of June so this is a good time to spray with a selective broad leaf herbicide.
You may have noticed a plant growing in your paddocks, gardens, along driveways, roadsides etc the last few years. This plant has started growing with the higher than usual rainfall in 2010, 11 and 12. The weed you are noticing is called Ink weed or Phytolacca octandra. This plant is native to South america and all parts are poisionus. It starts to grow in Autumn to a shruby 2 meters with large oval green leaves with a pointed tip that give it a lush apperance, a large white tap root, reddish green stems and spear shaped flowers that will turn into dark red berries after christmas. This weed is poisionus and will suppress any other plant growth beneth it. The seeds are spread by birds and foxes. The best way to remove this weed is by spraying it with glyphosate or by digging out the entire root.