Capeweed, also known as cape dandelion, cape daisy, or marigold, is an invasive weed to Australia that can be very difficult to control. While this plant is native to South Africa, it has become widespread throughout Australia and can be problematic for many farmers, pastoralists and gardeners.
The Capeweed is a low-growing, annual, herbaceous, semi upright plant which is easily recognisable due to its bright yellow flowers. It is commonly found in gardens, lawns, sports ovals, footpaths, median strips, farmlands and natural grasslands throughout Australia.
Flowering occurs mainly during late winter and spring, when these weeds produce thousands of tiny seeds which are easily dispersed by wind, animals, and on clothing and shoes. Capeweed seeds can stay dormant for several years until the right conditions to germinate.
Why is it important to control Capeweed?
Capeweed is commonly eaten by animals like cattle and horses, however it can be poisonous to animals, because it accumulates toxic levels of nitrate over time, particularly during rain after a long dry spell. High intake by dairy cattle can taint even their milk, making it especially important for dairy farmers to keep on top of Capeweed infestations.
Capeweed is also a particularly dominant weed and can crowd out valuable pastures and crops, causing a reduction in crop production and quality.
Capeweed is also considered to be a visual representation of a much larger issue with the pasture, including poor soil fertility, overstocking or understocking, poor grazing management or problems with introduced pest species.
What is the best method of Capeweed control?
For Capeweed control in lawns, farms, pastures and other areas, there are two main methods of control: manual and chemical. Which method you choose will depend on the size of the Capeweed infestation and the maturity of the plants themselves.
Manual Capeweed control method
If you have just a small or relatively young Capeweed infestation, they can simply be dug up. It is important to ensure that you remove plants before flowering to prevent them from dropping seeds, as Capeweed seeds can germinate the following year and for up to seven years after that. To prevent re-sprouting, make sure that you sever the fleshy taproot well below ground level.
Chemical Capeweed control method
Capeweed spraying with appropriate herbicides can be an effective control method for larger and more mature infestations. The best time of year for spraying Capeweed in pastures, sporting ovals or larger gardens is September to November when the weeds are actively growing.
Glyphosate can be effective to kill Capeweed, but as it is a non-selective herbicide it will poison everything it touches, including the lawn and surrounding plants. This type of herbicide is then best applied in areas like driveways, paths, bare soil and other areas where adjacent plants won’t be affected.
Selective herbicides or weed killers may require more treatments and non-selective options, however they are less dangerous to your lawn and existing plants.
No matter what type of herbicide you choose to tackle your Capeweed infestation, it is important to ensure that you always check product labels to make sure they’re suitable and follow all of the instructions and safety directions, and always wait a few days after herbicide application before watering or mowing.
Whichever control method you choose, it is important to realise that there can be significant levels of “hard seed” from Capeweed infestations. This means that some seed can remain viable in the soil, but not germinate, for more than two years after seed set. So, for efficient long term control, or eradication, total prevention of seed set is required for at least three to ensure that the infestation is gone for good.
Because a single capeweed plant can set over 4000 seeds, one missed control year can cause weed populations to quickly spread and take over again.
Make the right choice for Capeweed control
Weed control for a persistent weed like Capeweed can be complicated, time-consuming, and expensive. So if you are looking for additional help for your Capeweed control needs, get in touch with the weed spraying contractor experts at Rencon Air & Land.
Our state-of-the-art equipment and know-how means we know how to effectively remove your Capeweed infestation and can reduce the chances of reinfestation through smart and effective weed control methods.
You can call us directly on 1300 RENCON (736 266) or get in touch with us here to learn more about how we can help with your weed control plans.