Eradicating nettles

Another section by popular demand. If you want to talk about anything else that grows that is not livestock, herbs, fruit or vegetables here it goes.
MonsieurBOZ
margo - newbie
margo - newbie
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Jul 12, 2009 1:51 pm

Eradicating nettles

Post: #289824 MonsieurBOZ
Mon Aug 07, 2017 1:29 pm

Hi there, I searched for killing nettles and only got 1 hit, and the killing did not relate to the nettles...
The reason for the post is that I have a little orchard, which has been neglected for years, and is completely rammed with the said stingy pests, and I wish to kill them off. Does anybody know any way (other than Percy Throwers oft-quoted advice: to move house) that I can get rid of these things?
I'd rather not use poison (paraquat, glyphosate etc.) and would therefore prefer something a bit more ethical/sustainable.
Thanks
BOZ

User avatar
Flo
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 1551
Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2008 10:12 am
Location: Northumberland

Re: Eradicating nettles

Post: #289825 Flo
Mon Aug 07, 2017 1:54 pm

The Royal Horticultural Society is quite descriptive about the problem and a cure or two here though they do go down the spraying route. You won't be able to use Paraquat if you live in the UK as it's a banned chemical now.

If you have a hefty strimmer you could probably keep the nettles down with regular strimming. Won't kill them but will allow you to get into the orchard without damage to yourself.

User avatar
Odsox
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 4895
Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 2:21 pm
Location: West Cork, Ireland

Re: Eradicating nettles

Post: #289826 Odsox
Mon Aug 07, 2017 3:50 pm

I agree with Flo, but will go one step further. If you strim them off and after that keep the area closely mown, they will eventually disappear.
They hate being constantly mown off and after a year or so you will end up with just grass.
Tony

Disclaimer: I almost certainly haven't a clue what I'm talking about.

MonsieurBOZ
margo - newbie
margo - newbie
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Jul 12, 2009 1:51 pm

Re: Eradicating nettles

Post: #289827 MonsieurBOZ
Mon Aug 07, 2017 5:11 pm

Thanks for the repetitive mowing advice; I'd have thought they'd become more not less persistent, anyway: I'll certainly give it a go! Just have to put it on my list of things to make and do, along with: renovate a house and make wooden stuff to sell to earn some cash. Not sure what I can get here in terms of poisons here in France so plan a it will have to be. Thanks again

User avatar
Brewtrog
Living the good life
Living the good life
Posts: 234
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2014 9:17 pm
Location: Warrington

Re: Eradicating nettles

Post: #289828 Brewtrog
Mon Aug 07, 2017 5:24 pm

If you have a bit more time, rather than just strimming them, you can use the leaves for herbal teas, and more importantly nettle brews brilliantly - both as an ale and a wine.

Skippy
Living the good life
Living the good life
Posts: 361
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2012 5:13 pm
Location: south staffordshire

Re: Eradicating nettles

Post: #289829 Skippy
Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:39 pm

They also make a decent meal too , a bit reminiscent of spinach. I've eaten them by boiling them but recently watch an episode of a Ray Meres programme where he wilted them directly over a fire which he said tasted better than boiling. If you don't fancy eating them all they also make a good liquid compost in the same way as one would prepare comfrey.
I'd agree with the advice about regular mowing , keeps most weeds in check eventually although if you strim them I'd recommend using a brush cutter blade rather than a line. Nettles I have found are really quite tough and abrasive and eat through the line.
If you have plenty of time and don't mind a bit , well a lot , of hard work then it is possible to dig out the largest of the roots.

Weedo
Living the good life
Living the good life
Posts: 210
Joined: Thu Jun 30, 2016 4:47 am
latitude: 35.0886S
longitude: 147.1289E
Location: Collingullie Australia

Re: Eradicating nettles

Post: #289830 Weedo
Mon Aug 07, 2017 10:55 pm

Hi
Overall I agree with the previous comments, if you don't want to spray your options are limited to either physical removal or exclusion by competition. Physical removal can be by digging the plants out as they emerge or by continuous mowing / slashing. Digging is not as simple as digging out plants as they emerge. Digging, if not thorough, can help propagate nettles as thery spread happily from the root pieces and also the soil disturbance will stimulate seed germination. I don't have any real info on seed bank longevity but it would seem from what is available that 5 years is a minimum - individual pants may live up to 50 years.

Continous mowing / slashing is probably the most practicable. The process has two purposes, 1/ to exhaust the plant roots by not allowing it to replace lost food reserves and 2/ to prevent seed production. It must be frequent and consistent.

Mulching will help minimise new plant recruitment but will not stop regrowth from the stolons - the stem mechanics allow it to penetrate most mulchs including weed-mat.

As with all weeds, unless you replace them with something else either they, or another weed, will occupy the space.

If it was my patch I would use a broadleaf herbicide initially (not advocating, just being practical) to kill off the old plants with established root systems; this will leave only new seedlings with weaker roots systems that a are more susceptible to cultural control techniques

As has also been noted, the plant is most useful in many ways - even as a component in animal feeds (wilted or hay) as it contains 20 -25% crude protein and high levels of fats and amino acids. Great in the compost. I have looked at growing nettles as an alternative cattle feed to replace or suppliment Lucerne (more nutrious and have higher mineral content) but the overall yields are not viable economically at my scale.
There are not more than five primary colours, yet in combination they produce more hues than can ever be seen - (Sun Tzu 600BC)

Skippy
Living the good life
Living the good life
Posts: 361
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2012 5:13 pm
Location: south staffordshire

Re: Eradicating nettles

Post: #289832 Skippy
Tue Aug 08, 2017 8:38 am

Has anyone else noticed that horse muck seems to be very good at carrying nettle seeds? I work for one woman who keeps ponies and each year she mulches the gardens with it but it does encourage the nettles to grow. I often have to Strim the edges of the paddocks and the muck heaps for her to knock them down but she really doesn't get me doing it often enough and we are a long way off eradicating them. Once chopped down though the ponies are soon after the nettles.

Weedo
Living the good life
Living the good life
Posts: 210
Joined: Thu Jun 30, 2016 4:47 am
latitude: 35.0886S
longitude: 147.1289E
Location: Collingullie Australia

Re: Eradicating nettles

Post: #289838 Weedo
Wed Aug 09, 2017 1:32 am

Not just horse poo - same thing with cow and sheep poo. Obviously they do eat at least the seed heads at some stage
There are not more than five primary colours, yet in combination they produce more hues than can ever be seen - (Sun Tzu 600BC)

User avatar
Thomzo
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 4277
Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2007 1:42 pm
Location: Swindon, South West England

Re: Eradicating nettles

Post: #289917 Thomzo
Wed Aug 30, 2017 6:23 pm

Skippy wrote:Has anyone else noticed that horse muck seems to be very good at carrying nettle seeds?


Nettles thrive in heavily manured soils so it might just be the manure encouraging existing roots. That's why they make such good compost as they have very deep roots which soak up the nitrogen from the soil. I will second (or third or whatever) the mowing route. I have employed this technique on a large patch and it's worked, although it did take a few years.

If you can't beat them, eat them. You can dry nettle tops and add them to soups and stews. Young leaves taste of peas and drying/cooking destroys the sting. They are high in iron and used in organic iron supplements.

Good luck with your renovation project. Sounds fun.
Think globally, shop locally
Check out my blog at http://designedbyzoe.blogspot.com/
http://www.thomzo.co.uk

Weedo
Living the good life
Living the good life
Posts: 210
Joined: Thu Jun 30, 2016 4:47 am
latitude: 35.0886S
longitude: 147.1289E
Location: Collingullie Australia

Re: Eradicating nettles

Post: #289919 Weedo
Thu Aug 31, 2017 2:04 am

Thomzo
I must disagree, I have seen this happen too many times in too many places with too many species - the seed is most definitely ingested and passed through the animal.
There are not more than five primary colours, yet in combination they produce more hues than can ever be seen - (Sun Tzu 600BC)


Return to “Wildlife, Flowers and all other things that grow”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests