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 Post subject: how to get rid of nightshade?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 8:42 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 26, 2007 3:36 pm
Posts: 15
Location: Campbell,TEXAS
Hi, we've got a ton of a type of nightshade - it's everywhere, in our pastures, in the lawn, etc. Not sure of the exact name but it doesn't grow real tall, less than 12", has a center stalk with leaves branching off and light purple flowers. The horses won't touch it - which is fortunate, since I hear it's toxic. Have tried the vinegar on a select few plants and it hasn't done much - is there something else I can use?


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 Post subject: Re: how to get rid of nightshade?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 15, 2009 2:22 pm 
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Location: Fort Worth,TEXAS
There is nightshade itself and there is the large nightshade family. My garden is filled with family members--tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and it also includes potatoes and tobacco. Huge family.

Nightshade (linked from a King Co, WA gov health site)

Image

Nightshade itself is beautiful, with dark green pointed leaves and dark purple flowers. I've come across it as an understory plant and along moist road edges. I'm not sure where you are, but here in Texas (and around much of the southern or dry parts of U.S.) there is a plant like you describe with the classic solanacea flower, in light blue or purple, called horse nettle.

Horse nettle (from a Appalachian hiking web site)

Image

Here is an article about it from the Georgetown University web site about medicinal plants (this is one they say is not used due to adverse effects): http://www8.georgetown.edu/departments/physiology/cam/urbanherbs/horse_nettle.htm It includes a photo. This leads to a Google image search with lots of photos: http://tinyurl.com/nt59na This link is to a beautiful large photo: http://www.lyon.edu/webdata/users/mpeek/japanwebpages/Horse_Nettle.JPG

This is the fruit, later in the season, from a Rutgers U Ag Experiment station answer site:

Image

Do you use an organic program? What have you done to the land so far (in addition to trying vinegar)? I think this is one of those plants that moves into an area with poor soil. It's my guess that Howard would tell you to apply dry molasses and do the soil amendments (lava sand, greensand, compost, etc.) broadcast over the area to improve the soil, so other things will grow and either crowd out these horse nettles or the they will fail to thrive in the better soil.

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 Post subject: Re: how to get rid of nightshade?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 2:11 pm 
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Posts: 10
Hi ... We are gearing up to eradicate our nightshade. I grow organic coastal bermuda on sandy loam East of Austin Tx. With the drought the nightshade has really spread. So. Let us communicate about getting rid of this stuff. They say disturbing the ground will increase its spread. I have found that lots of compost makes it easier to pull up but that is difficult to spread on the amount of acreage we have.. I have tried ag. vinegar with similar poor results but have found it does weaken the plant. My current plan, now that it is fruiting, is to start cutting it to the ground and removing it (the fruits will ripen if left on the ground). Cutting is not the best answer since it may cause it to spread by the roots but may help in August. I too, wish, to find a good answer. Let's hope someone has found something (pH, some organic thing that works). We are also going to try a biodynamic remedy (something like homeopathic agriculture) which we have already started to get rid of Bahia grass. I will post any successes on this forum.


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 Post subject: Re: how to get rid of nightshade?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 4:09 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 26, 2007 3:36 pm
Posts: 15
Location: Campbell,TEXAS
Thank you, northwesterner, for the very astute identification from my not so great description! Yes that's it, the horse nettle, I'd just never heard it called that. Also I'd never connected the fruit with that plant, when I arrived here (west of Ft Worth) last fall they were in the fruit stage but I didn't realize that's what it stemmed from.

So far, only a small portion of the acreage is organic - although I am attempting to grow that into a larger area. The other problem with the vinegar is that the horse nettle is broadcast throughout the horse pastures, making it impractical to spray the whole pasture. In the past, some sort of broadleaf herbicide has been used on the pastures - I'm not sure what though. It does kill the thistles but apparently doesn't kill the nettle, since we had a lot of that last fall and I'm fairly certain that they treated the pastures with the herbicide last spring ('08). I'm trying to keep the weeds down by mowing before they go to seed. We haven't used any soil amendments as of yet, although after cleaning stalls each morning the manure is spread over the pastures - most of the pastures though are not exactly pastoral, more like large dry lots with a little grass growing here and there, plus an abundance of weeds. Thorndale, I think you're right that the drought has made the spread worse, the nettle doesn't grow nearly as well in the thick grass, it's mostly where grass is sparse that it's thick.

I'll make an estimate of how many acres of pasture we've got to treat and then do a cost estimate on molasses, etc as amendments, will try to sell the ranch owner on the organic program and will post any successes - or failures - here.

Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: how to get rid of nightshade?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 7:29 pm 
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Location: Fort Worth,TEXAS
lkb,

You'll find quite a few threads where people discuss reclaiming pastures, pieces of abused prairie, etc. Poke around in this site with some key words. There are so many threads because people start new ones instead of looking back to older ones, but I would recommend picking a likely category and then doing a keyword search or simply take time and read back through the pages and pages of subject headings.

Thistle, horse nettle, bull nettle, there are a lot of plants that are key indicators of the poor quality of the soil. I'd bet that if you do a test--pick a spot you can keep track of and start there with broadcasting the dry molasses and soil amendments over a few hundred square feet, and watch it next spring. I bet you'll see a difference already. You don't need to wait till spring, in fact, starting now lets a lot of the magic of the nutrients work over the fall and winter and it'll show up in the spring.

It has just occurred to me--if you listen to the radio program, or poke around for the posts by Tropical John, he has been restoring some land. (Rabbit Hill Farm? Is that right?). He updates Howard on the radio program about his progress every few weeks. He has posted photos. That'd be a good place to start, but also, read old threads and see how excited people get when they start the organic program and see a big difference.

Good luck!

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 Post subject: Re: how to get rid of nightshade?
PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 9:15 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 21, 2010 5:05 pm
Posts: 55
Location: Hill Country
Nightshade is a tought critter. IT's difficult to erradicate with Strong chemistry, and certianly by organic means. There are herbecides that effectively and permanently kill nightshade, but I won't go into that, since we are talking organics here.

The root system is very tough and resilient, ask any farmer, and they'll be happy to tell you that you can't "plow" it out.

There are the two most common types here in Texas, either actual Silverleaf nightshade, or the one as previously mentioned, carolina horsenettle.

To date, the best observed non-chemical methods for removal of most perennial noxious weeds/brush, is constant disturbance of its photosynthetic process.

Methods include: Mechanical (Gubbbing/hand pulling), burning (flame), mowing/shredding, or treatment with some form of liquid spray. Mowing is a practical application in a lawn, but not so much in a pasture setting. Luckily, if raising hay, your hay cutting opertation actually does some of this work (i.e. severing the stem ) and removal of leaves. Unfortunately your still not likely to kill the plant, just control it.

To me torching, or liquid applications are probably the best methods. I have successfully grubbed some using a tool for brush removal, but complete removal is still not a reasonable option. This grubbing method is very disruptive to the soil, and really only suitable in areas that are to be maintained by tillage, irregardless.

You can use a shovel/hoe for top-removal and that will set the plant back more than simply mowing/shredding. But still, don't expect actual root-kill. At least not for yrs, and only with constant maintenance.

Personally, I would utilize diesel as a spray... and keep repeat treatment on plants. Diesel will harm any adjacent forage as well, so be prepared. Some may not approve, but I have heard several Organic Professionals mention that it was an acceptable method for control of re-sprouting brush species.

As for getting rid of weeds by improving soil health, Good Luck guys and gals... these statements aren't with merit. Weeds don't just thrive on poor soils, they thrive on healthy soils as well. It's all about the mgmt of the base vegetation/forage. Ground that has good grass cover, will have less weeds, and vice a versa. Soil disturbance, and inadequate grass cover, are your reasons for existence of weeds.

And incidentally, you can't have healthy soil, without the existence of a good stand of desirable vegetation.

Well composted/organic soils, make pulling weeds easier, but strongly perennial broadleaves, such as nightshade, are too deeply rooted to realize such a benefit.


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 Post subject: Re: how to get rid of nightshade?
PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 9:39 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 21, 2010 5:05 pm
Posts: 55
Location: Hill Country
Nightshade is a tought critter. It's difficult to erradicate with strong chemistry, and certianly by organic means. There are herbicides that effectively and permanently kill nightshade, but I won't go into that, since we are talking organics here.

The root system is very tough and resilient, ask any farmer, and they'll be happy to tell you that you can't "plow" it out.

There are the two most common types here in Texas, either actual silverleaf nightshade, or the one as previously mentioned, carolina horsenettle.

To date, the best observed non-chemical methods for removal of most perennial noxious weeds/brush, is constant disturbance of its photosynthetic process.

Methods include: Mechanical (gubbbing/hand pulling), burning (flame), mowing/shredding, or treatment with some form of liquid spray. Mowing is a practical application in a lawn, but not so much in a pasture setting. Luckily, if raising hay, your hay cutting opertation actually does some of this work (i.e. severing the stem ) and removal of leaves. Unfortunately you're still not likely to kill the plant, just control it.

To me torching, or liquid applications are probably the best methods. I have successfully grubbed some using a tool for brush removal, but complete removal is still not a reasonable option. This grubbing method is very disruptive to the soil, and really only suitable in areas that are to be maintained by tillage, anyways.

You can use a shovel/hoe for top-removal and that will set the plant back more than simply mowing/shredding. But still, don't expect actual root-kill. At least not for yrs, and only with constant maintenance.

Personally, I would utilize diesel as a spray... and keep repeat treatment on plants. Diesel will harm any adjacent forage as well, so be prepared. Some may not approve, but I have heard several Organic Professionals mention that it was an acceptable method for control of re-sprouting brush species.

As for getting rid of weeds by improving soil health, Good Luck guys and gals... these statements aren't with merit. Weeds don't just thrive on poor soils, they thrive on healthy soils as well. It's all about the mgmt of the base vegetation/forage. Ground that has good grass cover, will have less weeds, and vice a versa. Soil disturbance, and inadequate grass/ground cover, are your reasons for existence of weeds.

Healthy Soil = Healthy Weeds, unless you simultaneouly improve your mgmt of your base vegetation. In this case, the pasture grass.

And incidentally, you can't have healthy soil, without the existence of a good stand of desirable vegetation.

Well composted/organic soils, make pulling weeds easier, but strongly perennial broadleaves, such as nightshade, are too deeply rooted to realize such a benefit.


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 Post subject: Re: how to get rid of nightshade?
PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 8:58 am 
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Quote:
Personally, I would utilize diesel as a spray... and keep repeat treatment on plants. Diesel will harm any adjacent forage as well, so be prepared. Some may not approve, but I have heard several Organic Professionals mention that it was an acceptable method for control of re-sprouting brush species.


I think you'll have to tell us who some of those "organic professionals" are before we accept this as etched in stone. I would hazard a guess that Ortho and MiracleGro folks have "organic professional" to give the hint of green to their toxic products.

You offer a grim prospect; I think people need to keep looking for a suitable method or simply go out after a good rainfall and pull the weed and discard it. You won't catch me spraying diesel in my weed patch! Might as well use roundup as a petroleum product. Despite your scepticism, crowding out weeds really does work much of the time.

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 Post subject: Re: how to get rid of nightshade?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 04, 2011 6:25 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 21, 2010 5:05 pm
Posts: 55
Location: Hill Country
NorthWest:

The organic professional being the radio host of the Organic Gardener, KTSA, San Antonio, TX. Many should know who that is, I'm not much for calling out people by name.

And to clarify, I'm not telling anyone that Diesel should be added to any OMRI lists, particularly, because it can equally be damaging to adjacent vegetation/forage.

I agree with you, that "crowding out" is a method of controlling weeds, However that works in particular situations, with particular plants.

I see too much "optimism" offered with organic solutions sometimes. And it's not that I have any problem with "optimism" or with "organics" ... I just don't approve of blanket recommendations, especially when they are not yet proven, or can't be.

This crowding out is mostly a mechanism of "shading". Grow a taller , lusher plant, and the one underneath can't get enough sunlight to proliferate. This unfortuantely doesn't work as well on our heavily rooted perennial broadleaf weeds. You may not see the nightshade through the thick grass, but it is still there. Then introduce the grazing livestock or the hay baler back into the pasture, and now... all of the shading and crowding benefit is diminished.

There is just no two ways about it, nightshade is a tough cookie. Hand pulling would be a very painful proposition. The top will pop off, but most of the root system will stay intact, below the soil surface. A grubbing hoe would be a much more effective method, but then you have to worry about the disturbed/exposed soil, and all the new weed seeds you have disrupted. Possibly causing a worse situation.

If I find a more effective, good organic solution for control of nightshade, I'll be sure to report back. : )


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 Post subject: Re: how to get rid of nightshade?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 04, 2011 7:50 pm 
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As Howard says, "You're in charge of that research!"

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 Post subject: Re: how to get rid of nightshade?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 8:13 am 
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The term, organic, means different things to different people. It is like the word, vegetarian. Some of them don't eat red meat, some don't eat chicken and fish, others don't eat eggs and milk or cheese. The word has a rainbow of meanings.

If you are certified organic by the USDA and must maintain that for your marketing policy, then you must follow the government's rules and have the proper paperwork when the come to visit you. You are not allowed to use disapproved chemical sprays for any reason. Some people go beyond the government's allowance of certain chemicals and refuse to use anything that is not a natural or renewable product. Another approach to being organic is to use organic materials because they are safer for your people and animals. If you are not certified by the government, then you are allowed to do anything you want within your good conscience. This is where black and white turns into the rainbow of colors. My suggestion would be to use all the organic methods you can find first. Then, if you are not satisfied with the results, visit a forum where chemical means are popularly used and discussed. You will get a much better group of opinions from people who are familiar with the chemicals, how to use them, and their effectiveness.

One more organic approach would be dust the weed with baking soda. Spray it first with a dilute mix of sugar (molasses or table sugar) and baby shampoo (or other gentile soap). Then dust the baking soda out of a sock onto the moist plant. If it is going to work, it will show results in a short time ranging from 20 minutes to 6 hours. While this is allowed under the USDA, in my opinion it is a harsh approach because the baking soda is antifungal and will mess with your soil biology. Any time I suggest using baking soda I always add that you should follow up in 2 weeks with an app of compost.

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 Post subject: Re: how to get rid of nightshade?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 25, 2013 3:25 am 
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I don't have any 'high falutin' academic credentials, but I do have about half a century of 'practical experience' as a Texas cotton farmer. I have walked uncountable miles with a hoe, and driven uncountable miles on a tractor. I farm both irrigated and dryland fields. My irrigated land has virtually no silverleaf nightshade. The reason for this is that when hand hoeing, you do not chop them, you pull them. This is possible only in the lush, soft, deep topsoil of irrigated land. You can pull up not only the tap root, but also the rhizome roots. In this era of herbicides, hand hoeing is a thing of the past. When I am running a cultivator, I stop and pull up the ocassional nightshade. In the dryland fields this is not possible. The infected areas are too widespread and the soil is too tight (we actually call it "the tightland"). The tap root just breaks off and spawns an even tougher weed. This is the case wether you are hoeing, pulling, or even plowing. Herbicides have little value because, while they may kill the plant, they do not harm the rhizome. The same is true for torching. In the end, we just live with them. In my crops of cotton, maize, wheat, and guar, their only negative aspect is the water they consume.

My farm is in southeast Knox county, an ancient flood plain of the Brazos River. For your land in south central Texas, I think your only hope is for a reinstatement of the "Bracero program" from the late '50's and early 60's. Several years of intensive hand working of the land, followed by meticulous yearly hand eradication should work. The nature of your land and the forage crop you desire will make even this very difficult. Good Luck.


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