Controlling Joe-Pye Weeds: How To Remove Joe-Pye Weed
Joe-pye weeds are not really weeds at all. They are actually a type of perennial grass called Stemmera.
These plants have been used for centuries in various parts of the world as livestock fodder or even as ornamental garden plants. However, they were never truly accepted into the modern agricultural system until recently when they became popularly known as “weed” due to their ability to grow rapidly and outcompete other types of vegetation.
The term “weed” was first applied to these plants in the early 1900’s because they were considered invasive species that had invaded our native ecosystems. However, it wasn’t until the 1960’s that many farmers began using them as a cheap source of animal feed.
Since then, they have become one of the most widely grown crops in North America.
In fact, there are so many varieties of joe pye weed that it is difficult to keep track of which ones belong to what family. Some are small shrubs with slender leaves; others grow up to 6 feet tall and spread wide over large areas.
All are extremely drought tolerant and will survive almost any climate condition. They do best in full sun but tolerate partial shade better than some other annuals such as blueberries or blackberries.
Once established, there is very little that can cause serious damage to a joe pye weed plant. In fact, they are so sturdy that in the past farmers used them as “living fences” around their fields and gardens.
Some people even mixed their seeds with those of wheat and other cereal grains for food. Others still used their seeds as makeshift grinding stones in place of actual stones!
One of the reasons that farmers use joe pye weeds so much is due to their high nutritional value. In fact, in some parts of the world these plants are considered a delicacy and there are people who make their living collecting them from the wild.
For example, the Native Americans were known to consume vast quantities of joe-pye weed seeds in the fall and even dried them for later use. They also used the plants to make tea and for a variety of other uses.
Today, you can still buy joe-pye weed seeds online or at many local farm and ranch supply stores. It is best to purchase the seeds in the fall after they have already gone to seed.
They are easy to spot because they resemble little kernels of corn. In fact, early farmers used to dry these seeds out and grind them up in place of corn!
A joe pye weed plant can grow up to six feet in height and spread out over several feet wide. It is unwise to harvest joe-pye weed from the wild because it is an invasive species and could start taking over a large area.
It is best to purchase them from someone who is growing them or to start your own from seed.
The joe pye weed plant prefers full sun but will tolerate partial shade. It is fairly hardy and can grow in a variety of soil types although it does prefer rich loam.
It can also survive drought conditions much better than most other garden plants.
The plant is usually trimmed back by about two thirds of its height each year. This encourages it to put out more leaves and more nutrients for your livestock to consume.
It takes about three years before the plant is large enough to provide any significant amount of grazing. After that, you will only need to trim it back a little each year for it to thrive.
It is best to plant joe pye weed in the early fall so that it will have time to establish itself before the cold of winter arrives. The seeds are easy to sow but should be sprinkled over the soil and pressed in lightly.
It shouldn’t take more than a couple of ounces of seeds to plant an acre!
Once they are planted, you should keep the area moist but not soaked and well-weeded until spring. In the spring you can let the weeds grow or cultivate lightly throughout the growing season.
The plants are ready to be harvested after the first frost. You can let them dry out and then store them for winter feed or cut them down and bale them right away.
One acre of joe pye weed can produce up to three tons of dried forage per year! This is enough to feed a cow or ten sheep or goats for the entire winter.
With this much nutritious feed, you probably won’t need to supplement their diet with any other food.
If you do decide to grow joe pye weeds on your farm or ranch, be sure to save some for yourself! Pick the flowers before they go to seed since the seeds are very hard and not edible.
The young leaves can also be eaten and have a sweet taste similar to lettuce.
The next time you go to buy hay, don’t forget about all the free options that are available to you. Instead of feeding your livestock store-bought hay, you can grow your own for free using what nature provides!
Want to learn more about growing your own feed?
Then download my brand new book titled “Homesteading Basics: Feeding Your Family” for free!
The post Free Farm Feed: How to Grow Your Own Hay appeared first on Backdoor Survival.
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