Thursday, February 10, 2011

Space Invaders

If only its as easy as shooting alien invaders with a laser cannon.

It's just a constant battle for dominance between our caretaker and the Cogon grass or Cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica) weed infesting the garden spaces in the farm. A few days of lull and this grass quietly gears up for a complete invasion.

Our gardener whacking mostly Cogon weed to expose the garden plants. Scars of last year's severe storm are still visible around.

I've been searching the internet for a "green" way to eradicate the Cogon grass but so far I have not found any effective method aside from using chemical herbicides. These herbicides are out of the question since they are non-selective, which could kill or damage other plants growing nearby. Also, the chemicals might leach into the ground and contaminate the watering holes which we use to water the plants.

Islands of garden plants in a sea of fallen Cogon grass.

The Cogon grass has no commercial value other than roofing material for traditional huts and in some rural houses. The ruminants only eat the young and tender leaves. Once they mature no animal would eat them because they're rough, tough and develop sharp, serrated edges.

A part of dirt road, now carpeted with Cogon grass. Young palms trees and other plants lining the perimeter of the sheep's pen. Piles of cut grass drying on the right.

The weather has been cooperative for the most part of the past several weeks. Taking advantage of this opportunity they have been aggressively clearing the area of  this invasive weed to level the playing field and allow the garden plants a space to breathe and grow. This is just a temporary solution though since this weed is a fast grower.

Another part of the dirt road temporarily cleared of Cogon. In just a few weeks it will be overgrown with the weed again.

Nuisance as they are the Cogon grass had an unexpected benefit during the October 2010 storm. Because they've been unintentionally neglected, they grew to several feet tall, taller than the tallest garden plants growing there. They acted as buffer against the strong wind and thereby sparing the ornamental plants from severe wind damage.

The fight to keep the Cogon grass invasion at bay is never ending. At times I feel like we're just playing catch up. By the time the back area has been cleared, its time to return to the front and begin a new cycle.