Khaki Weed, Alternanthera pungens

One weed which I would constantly be asked about for control was Khaki Weed. Unfortunately, it has a name which some people synonymously give to other weeds because they too have prickles in the seed head. For some unknown reason some also call it bindy, probably mixing it up with bindii.
Khaki Weed, Alternanthera pungens, belongs to the amaranth family and is native of South America. It is easy to see from the Latin word pungo meaning to prick, little hole, puncture or stab why this weed is so nasty in lawns injuring someone with bare feet or the soft paws of animals.
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It appears that its name could be associated with the colour of the army uniforms when it became a major problem in the Transvaal during the Boer War. Unfortunately the Australian armed forces brought it home with them from South Africa.
Khaki Weed is a prostrate perennial plant spreading out to a metre sized patch with dark green to yellow oval to roundish leaves, spreading out with stolon like stems from a central carrot like tap root. At the nodes along each stolon, roots may be set down to grow into another perennial taproot. href=”https://sustainablegardeningwithjim.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/4.jpg”&gt;4563<a
This plant is spread by seed, especially when it becomes attached to soft materials such as rubber tyres of vehicles and our footwear. It can also be spread by root fragments and broken pieces of stem which can reset roots from the node when the plants are cultivated during moist weather.
There are some herbicides which control the seedling plants but the concentrations or the stronger herbicides needed to destroy mature plants, especially the taproot, damage is done to the surrounding beneficial plants. Cultivation will destroy the plants but root fragments or buried stolons will reshoot after rain so further cultivation is required. In smaller manageable areas, hand digging with a sharpened knife or chisel cutting the taproot about 2-3cm below the soil surface is enough to kill the rest of the root. If flowering is or has occurred then dispose of the plant to reduce future contamination from seed.