The dreaded Oxalis
I have just taken over a new bit of ground for the wildlife plot which is quite empty apart from some fruit trees and the dreaded oxalis. Thisis one of those weeds that is invasive and vigorous and can be found all over the site. There are three types – Oxalis latifolia, Oxalis debilis and Oxalis corniculata – and I think I have all three on the plot. They are recognisable by their three-lobed leaves that look a bit like clover.
The first one is Oxalis corniculata or what I call creeping oxalis. Any part of its stem that touches the soil will root and so it moves its way along the bed slowly but surely. Just to make it even harder there is a purple-leaved version which doesn’t really stand out from the soil so it is easy to miss. The only good thing about this plant is that it does originally have a small tap root and if you can get this out, you are on your way to winning the war against them. It is the one on the right in the picture.
The second oxalis is too difficult for me to identify as oxalis debilis or latifolia – who cares. Just look at that root. Every single bit snaps off as you try to pull the plant out of the ground. Sometimes the little white bulbils snap off, sometimes the almost translucent tap root snaps off. And of course, the plant can grow from any of these parts. It is very difficult to get rid of and will need persistent digging up and trying to remove it. I wouldn’t recommend using a fork or spade to remove this though because as you shake the soil free, you also sprinkle the ‘bits’ everywhere. Soil disturbance spreads them. I would use a small handfork and remove the minimum amount of soil possible.
This is the only weed that I do not compost.
These are persistent weeds and you need to be persistent in order to reduce their number on your plot.