Here at the Orchard, we’ve been trialling a lot of different methods of weed control around the trees in an effort to move away from Parks staff having to spray Roundup to maintain the site. Our time and labour are limited and hand-weeding is not a thrilling job to ask volunteers to perform, when there is so much to learn and do at the Orchard. We’ve tried living mulches of such things as clover and medic ( both nitrogen-fixers), but these will flourish during some seasons (like right now) but be overrun by Kikuyu and buffalo grasses in summer and Oxalis in winter. Living mulches also have the disadvantage of hiding irrigation pipes and fittings which, subsequently, end-up getting damaged during weeding, slashing and mowing. In the new Fig collection row, we are trialling a far more visible irrigation system( pictured).
Having had poor results from spraying organically-approved weedkillers, such as those made from pelargonic acid ( a by-product of geranium mining), we are now trialling a felted, natural fibre weed mat in combination with strip mowing and some hand weeding at organic spraying. The mat pictured is rated for five years on ground (we shall see).
We have, of course, trialled steam weeding, but this is out of our reach financially and is still very labour-intensive i we are to use glyphosate spraying as the (unfortunate) benchmark. Feel free to come down to the Orchard on Friday mornings and check out our weed-war in person
(thanks to Ann for the photos)