HOW TO GET RID OF THORNY WEED IN MY YARD? - Knowledgebase Question

WAIANAE, Ha
Question by ROCKSHONEY
October 18, 2007
ALOHA,
I RECENTLY MOVED TO VERY HOT AND SUNNY WAIANAE, HAWAII. I'VE NOTICED THAT MY LAWN/YARD IS BEING TAKEN OVER BY THESE SMALL CIRCLED THORNY/PRICKLY THINGS TWINED WITH GREEN CLOVER LIKE LEAVES, IS LOOKS LIKE IT GROWS ON A VINE UNDER MR GRASS BECAUSE WHEN I TRY TO PULL IT OUT IT JUST KEEPS GOING AND GOING. WHATS THE RIGHT WAY TO GET RID OF IT (PULLING IT OUR BY THE ROOT) OR IS THER SOMETHING EASIER THAT I COULD DO. I'M SO SORRY I DON'T KNOW THE NAME OF THIS WEED/PLANT?
BUT THE LOCAL PEOPLE HERE IN HAWAII CALL IT KUKU'S, AS IT PRICKS YOU WHEN YOU TOUCH/WALK ON IT. YOUR HELP IN THIS MATTER WILL BE GREATLY APPRECIATED.

MAHALO,
MALIA


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Answer from NGA
October 18, 2007

0

What you describe sounds like Spiny amaranth, locally called pakai kuku. The key to keeping this weed at bay is to cultivate a healthy lawn. Spiny amaranth is what you would call a "pioneer plant." When soil is disturbed, these hardy plants are among the first to show up and take hold. When soil in established areas starts to lose its fertility and its ability to support other vegetation, this weed is only too happy to move in and take over. Because this plant is an annual weed that reproduces by seed, one of the best solutions to controlling it is to apply a pre-emergent product like corn meal gluten (dry molasses will work, too). Corn meal gluten (available at feed stores) contains humic acid, which will prevent the germination of annual weeds while it builds up organic nutrients in the soil. Apply this in the spring when the SOIL temperature reaches about 52?F (late March/mid-April) and continue every 6 weeks through September. If you reseed your lawn in the spring, keep in mind that corn meal gluten will also prevent new grass seed from germinating. When used in combination with some old-fashioned elbow grease (pulling adult plants by hand), in 1 or 2 years you should see a noticeable difference in the number of weds. Spot spraying vinegar on young plants (at the 2-4 leaf stage) is also effective, but it isn't selective. Vinegar will damage anything it comes into contact with, including your healthy turf. Good luck!

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