23 August 2006

Killing Kikuyu

In response to someone's query on strategies for eliminating grass on the permaculture-oceania mailing list, I bemoaned the difficulty of getting rid of Kikuyu, to which April Sampson-Kelly <email-elided> wrote:
what does kikuyu need?
My strategies for replacing kikuyu are based on these observations,
I stop cutting it, i stop light access by covering it with cardboard sheets and mulch (which also serves to cut ventilation and risk of fire, and reduce risk of soil erosion by water or wind)
A Thousand Thanks to April and Jedd for prodding my few remaining neurons back to life...

A walk around the garden with my eyes open was all I really required. Places where we've planted Keurbooms (an indigenous Acacia forest pioneer - no data on N-fixing, though I suspect they do) show that the trees have been successful in out-competing the Kikuyu to the limit of their drip-line.

However! I am in a big hurry. I don't have/want to spend 10 years at this - I need to clear the area to get my self-sufficiency level up and back on track.

I also notice that Cape Gooseberry (Phaseolus something) has been extremely effective at shading-out the Kikuyu in an area where they were allowed to go rampant - they freely self-seed, helped along by the otherwise-bloody-nuisance Mousebirds. So: as soon as the rains stops, and with Spring on our doorsteps soon, I shall be planting a couple of seed-trays of Cape Gooseberry. Along with all the volunteers that usually get weeded out of the veggie garden I'll pop them into the (very long, rank, unmowed and ungrazed for over 10 years) Kikuyu. Once they've killed off the grass they are relatively easy to clear.

Should be rid of the grass in about 18 months to 2 years... Yay!

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