Weed Control in the aftercare of established sowings

Weed control

Perennial weeds in grassland may be kept in check if they are cut, grazed or grubbed out at the right time, and if the grassland is well managed.

For many perennials the optimum removal strategy is to take away as much of the plant as possible at a point in the season when it has its maximum commitment of its reserves exposed (above ground). For thistles this occurs in July when the plants have their underground stores and growth potential committed to rapid above ground growth for flowering and seeding. Thistle plants should not be tackled too soon as this will divert their effort into renewed root growth: aim to cut hard as they start to flower but before they set any seed. Cutting too late in the season allows weed seed dispersal and also time for the plants to put down root stores once again. The same principles can be applied to other weeds.

Good grassland management is important to keep control of weeds. Overgrazing leaves large gaps in which weeds like ragwort can establish. Zero grazing or mowing on the other hand allows coarse and woody weeds, brambles and scrub to develop.