We continue our series on weeds, which started in the spring, by focusing on rumex today.
Autumn is indeed a good season to remove this “undesirable” plant (on cultivated land) after it has been able to carry out its tillage work.
But before we see how to overcome it, let’s look at the causes of its spread.
The rumex, a bio-indicator plant
Like most spontaneous plants, the rumex gives us valuable information about the condition of the soil.
It tells us first of all that a soil is packed, compacted.
This condition is usually the result of:
- either by trampling (by the gardener, especially on the paths of the vegetable garden, or by livestock)
- either from cultivated land that has been left abandoned (the soil will then settle over time)
This soil compaction itself has the following consequences:
- flooding (which can no longer infiltrate properly)
- saturation with organic matter (lack of adequate ventilation, they cannot decompose well)
These 2 phenomena can lead to significant suffocation of the soil…
A useful plant
The first utility of the rumex is precisely to correct this phenomenon of decompacting.
Indeed, with its long tap roots, the dock decompacts and naturally provides aeration of the soil.
It will also absorb excess mineral elements.
Besides these effects of compacting and rebalancing the soil, this cannabis plant has other uses:
- it strongly attracts aphids in early spring (which are less likely to colonize your crops)…
- these aphids will attract ladybugs to your garden
Add to that the fact that the petioles and leaves of rumex, a plant of the same family as sorrel, are edible. However, due to its oxalic acid content, its use is not recommended for people with kidney problems.
Also, do not hesitate to let the rumex develop in the paths, on the edge of the vegetable garden or just on vacant lots.
Do not bring undigested organic matter into fields where rumex dominates
We have seen above that the compaction of the soil, as shown by the rumex, leads to a saturation of the organic matter.
Saturation that can lead to total suffocation of the soil…
Even if you add undigested organic material to a soil that is already saturated, you amplify this phenomenon.
However, you can bring well-matured compost, in reasonable quantities.
But above all, your goal should be to compact this soil.
Let’s see how…
Loosen the ground
We saw that the rumex would naturally compact the soil.
Also, instead of struggling to pull it out, let it develop, at least the entire season… Even if it disrupts some crops… You may lose in terms of yield for the current year, but it will all be profit for the next few years. Because then the earth will be better aerated.
A crop of green manures, in the fall, will be welcome to further loosen the soil of your vegetable garden.
Pull the rumex from the fields in the fall
Did you let the rumex do its job during the summer season?
Before you start growing a green manure, you can pull it out, at least on the fields.
Do this when the soil is wet (the long roots will come easier), using a rumex extractor (the only really effective tool for removing whole roots, for example here).
This is what I show you in this (very short) video: