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Discussion Starter #1
In May my septic system went out. The twenty year old leach field that someone unwisely planted maple trees on top of decided that a change in home ownership was a perfect time to die. No worries. I had them put in a second field in a nearby pasture. It's twice as big and gets full sun, with no thirsty trees to invade the pipes.

However, they brought in heavy machinery and tore up that pasture pretty bad. When they were done I was looking at bare dirt and disturbed earth. I thought nothing would ever grow there again. I seeded with clover and some wild flowers. In a month it had already greened back up. Three months have gone by and the wildflowers are blooming (very attractive), the clover has taken hold, but most of all there's this huge outcrop of noxious weed.

I use weed liberally. This is Satan's Thistle. It's Velvet Weed, so the plant identification tells me and since I've never seen anything else like that strange seed pod it bears, I figure it's the correct identification.

I tried pulling it up by the roots but I kept hearing cursing in Chinese. When they do come up, they bring up about four pounds of sod with it. The stalks are covered with this velvety hair and there's a nasty sap that made my hands break out in a rash. The goats don't eat it, I can't find my chickens when they get out there, and it's now taller than I am. Really, there's a half-acre of this stuff out there now and it's THICK. The stalks I pulled up went to seed anyway, just lying on the dang ground.

How do I get rid of these abominations?
 

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Ernie said:
How do I get rid of these abominations?
At this point, you use a corn knife or tobacco axe. When it sets flowers, the ground has to be almost saturated before you can bring it up. When it sets seeds, the only way of destroying the seed is to burn the plants. Last year, I was told by an oldtimer that the seeds would last 40 years. I corrected him by informing him that it is at least 50 years! It is the one weed which I will not tolerate in our community garden complex. It's taken 8 years to erradicate it from the original portion but only to the point of perhaps 1 every 25 square feet. In the new section, which was prairie sod for at least 20 years, there was at least 1 per square foot this year.

Anyway, it can be defeated first by hoeing and then by planting other stuff. It's a late germinator and needs full sun. If the seed is shaded too much, it will simply wait until next year, or 50 years from now. It's in no hurry! Oh, that only applies to the seed in the top inch of the soil. Imagine what's lurking 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 inches down?

Martin
 

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i think i have a few stalks of that in a newish flower bed. i brought soil in from several areas and tried to salvage some ok looking soil that was buried by an old porch i ripped off of the house. i thought maybe this seed came from the bird feeder as it is close by, but if the seed lasts that long in the ground (or under a porch), then i guess it could have been buried for quite a while. i know the porch was at least 40 years old when i tore it down a few years ago. the funny thing is that i have never seen it flower. i just see the seed pods. i thought it was some type of sunflower when i first saw it growing last year. now i know to kill it. another mystery is solved.

about that porch and its hidden plants. there were fern "crowns" that sprouted and several other plants that came to life when they saw the sun and got some moisture. one plant is wide spread in the porch area and i have never seen it before. the leaves resemble hollyhock leaves and the plant grows kinda like burdock...no real stalk, but all of the leaves come from the same level on the crown...or whatever it has. my first thought was a wild cucumber, but it does not grow like a vine. i need to take pics of it and start another post.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
50 years. Gah, Martin. I'm now staring in horror at this pasture. It's almost fence to fence velvet weed. The chickens get lost out there like wild jungle fowl.

Well, I'd best get to work then, and be diligent come spring ... for the next 50 years. I'm going to be pulling lots of weeds. Come spring I'll plant a heavy, fast growing grass seed and see if we can't beat it to the punch with something more useful.
 
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