Weeds in any farming situation, are the NUMBER ONE consideration. In broadacre agriculture the research and funding placed into developing new chemicals and methods is substantial, so progress is fast, however with growing Everlastings, these recommendations are not available.. so it is a little bit of trial and error!
Everlastings are in the family ‘Asteraceae’, which is the same family as Capeweed. Capeweed is the nemesis to the Everlastings, because it produces the same fluffy white seed, and as different to the Everlastings’ upright nature, it smothers and forms a large taproot to obtain all the available ground and nutrition. It is used in some countries for its ability to dominate, and cover bare soil.
Capeweed cannot be controlled by chemical methods within an everlasting crop. The only method of removal is mechanical, using a shovel, or hand pulling the weeds. Of course, the other method, is to control capeweed and other weeds, BEFORE the everlasting crop is even attempted. To do this, after the opening rains (or using irrigation), you can either fallow the site, keeping the the site bare and removing the germinating weeds until weeds are in small numbers… or chemically spray the site. If your weed burden is still large, it may be worth waiting a little longer for further germinating weeds, and repeating this control method, ensuring the most success, then plant!
Remember: Weed control is number one!!
There is hope for controlling grass weeds in Everlastings. Most chemicals kill Everlastings, except fusillade, a grass selective herbicide. So if your Everlasting site has predominantly ryegrass, or other grass weeds, there is hope! Use label recommendations to spray evenly over the crop. The sooner you spray the weedy crop the better, as there may be some implications to the Everlastings with any chemical spray. As mentioned, it is important to prepare your Everlasting site in the years prior. Monitor the weed burden and look to control the weeds so when you plant, there is not an overwhelming weed burden. Any weed that is allowed to grow, will not seem like much at the time, but one plant leads to 100s of plants, and soon the site will be exhausted by numbers. There is also the chance of a weed-seed bank in the soil. Weeds will come up in future years, even though you thought you had controlled them. Everlastings are not a strong vigorous plant, so weeds soon become dominant. This is why the plant is not an environmental weed. It is often a method to ‘tickle-up’ the soil, to aid with the germination of these weeds, having an even better chance of control. Do this by watering, gently raking and waiting 10 days, then removing the germinated weeds. Repeat if necessary.
Another method is to plant a legume as a break crop before seeding the Everlastings. This will add plenty of nutrition and nitrogen, and provide a different option for chemical control of weeds for the year, then plant the Everlastings. Perfect!