Weeds in New Zealand - Twitch Couch

Beverly Erlebacher bae at oci.utoronto.ca
Mon Nov 4 14:29:03 EST 1996


In article <55c6vm$e1e at midland.co.nz> dak at midland.co.nz (Don Frommherz) writes:
>I am curious over a theory about an easy eradication method for this pest 
>creeper.   
>
>Does application of sawdust, cause the grass to grow into a thick layer of 
>sawdust?   And the whole weed forms a 'carpet' that is easily rolled off the 
>ground.

I've had altogether too much experience with this weed.

The way I was able to convert a virtually solid twitch turf to a relatively
weed free garden was to cover the whole area with heavy cardboard.  I used
boxes that refrigerators and other large objects had been shipped in, which
I got gratis from the local furniture store.  I laid the cardboard down the
reverse of shingles so that water would run in instead of off and weighted
it down with rocks.  I cut 4" holes for each squash or tomato plant.  These
plants spread out and covered the cardboard to give a more esthetic effect.

In the fall I removed the cardboard, and the next year planted other things
in the twitch-free area and cardboard-mulched another section.  The cardboard
was often reusuable for a second year.  Within a few years, the garden was
clear, but I always had to keep an eye on the edges.

The sawdust method sounds interesting and worth experimenting with, but I
wouldn't count on it.  You would probably have to keep a 6-12" layer of
sawdust for the several seasons, which is an immense volume.

For those who are saying, "how silly, just use black plastic", I expect
that twitch shoots, which can easily run through a large potato or carrot,
would have no problem with black plastic.  It has no trouble with thick
newspaper mulch if it stays wet for a few days.

For the suggestion to "just pull it out, bit by bit", I'd like to point to
my case of carpal tunnel syndrome, acquired this way, and still bothering
me more than 20 years later.  It works if you have only a little, but a
little turns into a lot in no time.  Eternal vigilance!

Btw, a couple of years after I moved and abandoned this garden, the whole
thing, 125' x 50', was a solid turf of twitch again.  Twitch never sleeps!

>Thankyou for advice in advance

Hope this helps.  You may get some better suggestions, organic and otherwise,
in rec.gardens.

Beverly Erlebacher
Toronto, Ontario Canada




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