Stinging nettle

7 posts

Member for

3 years 11 months
Last seen: 03/08/2018 - 21:05
Joined: 05/31/2015 - 10:27

Stinging nettle

Does anyone have any ideas on how to erradicate stinging nettle? It is thick around my house block and it is growing in some of the fire breaks where the tractor obviously spread it. It has encroached into a couple of paddocks about 2 meters further than last year. Round up kills it most of the time, but a fresh batch is up a couple of weeks later. Does anyone know of anything that will go right into the rhizomes and erradicate it? My intention was to be chemical free here, but I have caltrop in summer and stinging nettle in winter, both so thick you can't see any soil. The CSIRO can't help, agronomists suggest round up and gleam. I wondered if there are any animals that will eat it. I have read that horses may eat it, my sheep won't, and the chickens won't. Any ideas?
Last seen: 03/08/2018 - 21:05
Joined: 10/22/2012 - 11:13
Control of most weeds is a numbers game. Most probably, the new plants that come up after Roundup are from the existing seedbed. I tend to avoid herbicides with most weeds and take the route of suppressing the seedset with minimum disturbance so as not to stimulate germination. If you slash the when they have a bit of size but BEFORE seedset you will effectively make a mulch over the existing seeds and this will weaken any seedlings. Do this repeatedly and you reduce the seedbed each time. For the hard to slash ones, a chop with a hoe works wonders but try not to turn the soil over, a simple cut below the surface is what is needed. For effective weed control you need to keep at it regardless of the method used. Good luck Rob.
Last seen: 05/13/2019 - 17:05
Joined: 11/23/2011 - 09:38

Hi there,

I know your dilemma with the nettles having been caught in the middle of a field of it near Orbost when I was a kid. I still remember the itching, the rash and the pain, ouch!

 

The problem is that there is a huge seed bank in the soil and the only thing you can do is to keep spraying until you have irradicated it. This can take several years because most weeds have a mixture of hard coated seed and soft coated seed. The soft coated will germinate readily if there is moisture around, but the hard coated seed will be held in reserve in the soil for a number of years until there is substantial rain.  It is an age old problem. Try to spray before it seeds or the problem will continue.

 

A good example of hard coated seed can be seen in desert plants in W A that can remain in the soil until germination is triggered by substantial rain, that turns the desert into a garden.

 

Nettles can make good fertiliser when put into a drum, water poured on the top to fill the drum, and then the nettles left to rot down for a few weeks. Add a cup of the liquid to a 10 ltr bucket and water plants.

In England they make nettle soup from them. When cooked they don't sting anymore. I haven't tried it myself.

 

I don't know of any animals that find Nettles tasty, unfortunately. So keep spraying and don't let it flower if you can help it. It is going to take patience and time to erradicate it.

I will do a little more research on it and get back to you next week some time.

 

Barb

Last seen: 03/08/2018 - 21:05
Joined: 05/31/2015 - 10:27
Thanks for the answers. I did go through a stage last year wondering if I was thinking about it from the wrong perspective, and should try to use what nature has given me rather than fight it. So I did look at the benefits of nettle and its uses. It is going through somewhat of a resurgence for its health benefits, so perhaps I should consider harvesting and selling to a trendy chef! The mulch and garden tonic seem more realistic, high in nitrogen, so it is pretty much gold for that purpose. Also slashed and used as animal feed once dried for its nutritional value is a good idea. The biggest problem is I can't control its spread, I would be devastated if I let it get to a neighbours place, it would massively impact their crops. Also it smothers everything, so I am desperate to stop it before it completly takes over my padocks. It is all labour intensive, I don't want to appear lazy, but I already spend at least 8 hrs a week spraying, I am just a bit over it. When I was having a whinge to my neighbour (who farms over 3000ha) he said they could employ someone full time to manage weeds, they would be busy 10hrs a day 5 days a week! I looked at weed matting, I have about 10 acres that is really bad now, that is a lot of weed matting, hence the consideration of using gleam, I am thinking it may save me a huge amount of time long term.
Last seen: 03/08/2018 - 21:05
Joined: 05/11/2016 - 12:02

I have heard that goats will eat them but apparently they prefer them after they have been slashed. A bit of work but at least you won't have a seed bank in the soil.

Last seen: 03/08/2018 - 21:05
Joined: 03/29/2016 - 13:20

This may sound a little whacky, but you can eat them. Cut a hand full and boil it up. From what I remember (as it was a while ago that I ate it) - it tastes like spinach. If you nibble away at it over a season you may find that it is all gone. Of course that depends on how much you have.

Don't worry about the stings as after cooking there is no sting in them. When cutting them - if you grab them firmly they don't sting you, it's only when you brush against them they sting.

You can drink the water you boil them in as a kind of tea as well.

If you just want to kill it, I reckon roundup or similar will do the job.

Or if no chemical get out and hoe it.

Cheers

DD

Last seen: 03/08/2018 - 21:05
Joined: 05/31/2015 - 10:27
Thanks again for the continuing interest. Stinging nettles grow from tiny rhizomes that can spread meters underground each season. They also spread through flowering and releasing seeds, and if you happen to run machinery through a patch in the right conditions it will grow from bits of stem and leaf or rhizomes and root matter that are deposited wherever the machinery drops it. I was hoping someone here may know of a chemical that will target the rhizomes, the CSIRO have not done any work in this area. Round up is effective in high concentrations and sprayed at specific times, about 5 leaf stage has been the most effective so far. It takes up to two weeks to die off, then at about three weeks I have a lovely green carpet of two leaf nettle! The slightest soil disturbance also initiates new growth, and the rhizomes are tiny, so digging them out is not a viable option. I am continuing the battle!

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