Pigweed (Ralstonia pseudoacacia) is one of the most common invasive weeds in pastures. It grows rapidly and it’s very difficult to eradicate even with expensive herbicides.
If you are not careful, you may end up killing other plants or livestock. The best way to eliminate pigweeds from your pasture is through proper management practices.
What Is Pigweed?
Pigweeds are annual grasses that have adapted to survive in areas where they were once common. They grow slowly and spread quickly when conditions allow them to do so. When pigs eat these perennial grasses, the plant dies back and new plants take its place. This causes a cycle of growth and death which is what makes pigweeds so troublesome. These perennials need time to recover after being eaten by animals before they can start growing again.
How Can You Get Rid Of Pigweed?
The first step to getting rid of pigweed is understanding that it exists at all. Pigs love eating perennial grasses like pigweed, but they don’t really like them enough to stay away from them. Once you understand this fact, then you can begin to manage your pasture effectively without having to resort to using chemicals.
The best way to eradicate pigweed is by grazing sheep. Sheep are natural herbivores and prefer eating grass and other plants.
They tend to avoid pigweeds, but if there is no other food available then they will eat it. The sheep’s digestive system allows them to process the pigweed without any ill effects, but it kills the plant after consumption. This is a great method for eliminating pigweed from your pasture without resorting to using chemicals.
What About Humans Eating Pigweed?
Some people may find pigweed to be an acquired taste or not tasty at all, but there are many people who can safely eat it without any ill effects. For those people wanting to get rid of pigweed, this is a great way to do so. The plant will kill the plant through starvation if you eat enough of it. However, this method does have some downsides and should only be considered as a last resort.
A Word Of Caution
Pigweeds contain a toxin known as microcystin, which is a liver toxin. If you have a weak liver, then eating pigweed could lead to health issues or even death.
Only eat pigweed if you are absolutely sure that it does not contain this toxin. When in doubt, throw it out!
Sources & references used in this article:
Herbicidal effects of vinegar and a clove oil product on redroot pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus) and velvetleaf (Abutilon theophrasti) by GJ Evans, RR Bellinder, MC Goffinet – Weed Technology, 2009 – BioOne
Weed interference with cotton (Gossypium hirsutum). II. Tumble pigweed (Amaranthus albus) by DW Rushing, DS Murray, LM Verhalen – Weed Science, 1985 – JSTOR
Differential gas exchange responses of two biotypes of redroot pigweed to atrazine by LD West, TJ Muzik, RE Witters – Weed Science, 1976 – JSTOR
Brassica cover cropping: II. Effects on growth and interference of green bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) and redroot pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus) by ER Haramoto, ER Gallandt – Weed science, 2005 – BioOne
Light limitation of reproduction and variation in the allometric relationship between reproductive and vegetative biomass in Amaranthus retroflexus (redroot pigweed) by SM McLachlan, SD Murphy, M Tollenaar… – Journal of Applied …, 1995 – JSTOR
Glufosinate efficacy, absorption, and translocation in amaranth as affected by relative humidity and temperature by E Coetzer, K Al-Khatib, TM Loughin – Weed Science, 2001 – BioOne
UHF electromagnetic energy for weed control in vegetables by RM Menges, JR Wayland – Weed Science, 1974 – JSTOR
The effects of reduced doses and application timing of metribuzin on redroot pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus L.) and wild mustard (Sinapis arvensis L.) by İ Kahramanoğlu, FN Uygur – Turkish Journal of Agriculture …, 2010 – journals.tubitak.gov.tr