Grass Weeds: Twitch/Couch | PGG Wrightson Tech Tips

Well here we are in another kale crop,
and this time we’re gonna be looking at weeds. A grass weed in fact. In New
Zealand’s South Island we tend to call it “twitch”, but in the North Island we tend to
call it “couch”, but both are the same plant. It’s a perennial grass weed. Gives us a
lot of grief in our pastoral systems, and we have opportunities to get rid of it
in crops like this. It is very similar to rye grass in a lot of respects. It
has the same grass color of the leaf. It has oracles, it has a short ligule.
So it’s not the easiest grass to differentiate from some of our more
productive grasses. Being a perennial grass weed, productivity is really not
its game. This is more about persistence the weed. Very tricky to kill. It has a
huge rhizomatous root system that allows it to bounce back from a
lot of the things we throw at it. First thing is: Identify that you’ve got
the problem. Next one: Come up with a strategy to control it, and I would
highly suggest getting someone in with a bit of experience on how to control a
weed like this before you figure out what you’re going to do. First thing we
have to do is identify this weed, and one of the key ways to do that is to dig a
hole. With a spade. So let’s go and have a look and see if we can find some. So
we found a spot here that looks very much like twitch. And what’s
making me think it’s twitch: It’s a large area. The leaves are darker than a rye
grass. They don’t have that glossy look, and a big patch of grass like this in a
kale paddock is, um, yeah… very distinctive. So I’ll get the
spade. Dig a hole. So we’ve pulled out our clump of
twitch out of the ground, and we see these distinctive white root systems. And
these rhizomes that go sideways under the ground, and then pop up with more
leafy parts above the ground. What we’re really looking for is a rhizome like
that. So it’s got roots all the way along the rhizome, and this one here you can
even see how the tip of the rhizome it’s got a point and that will pop up through
the ground, and will turn green once it gets above the ground with the first
leaf. You can keep an eye out for this sort of thing when you’re working your
paddock. If you see these distinctive rhizomes while you’re working your
paddock, you can be sure that these will all germinate and strike after
cultivation. So keep an eye out for some new green growth coming through the
ground that looks like grass, because it may be twitch, and you might
have to do something to control it.

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