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One of fotpin's target weeds for many years has been Verbascum, both V. thapsus (great mullein) and V. virgatum (twiggy mullein). Both are captured in the first photograph below taken by Rosemary Blemings in 2007. V. thapsus are the paler plants with thicker flower stalks, while V. virgatum are the darker, thinner plants. Both have the ability to invade an area and proliferate, dominating the vegetation, as the photograph shows.

After several years of lopping and bagging of seed heads, and grubbing and spraying rosettes, the images below taken in December 2013 and April 2013 (both times when stalking plants, if present, would be evident) show that these control measures have been effective. It should be noted that the area was not 'cleaned up' prior to the 2013 photos being taken; no more than a handful of stalks have been observed in the area for two years, since an intensive spraying campaign was started. All photographs were taken from roughly the same spot, shown in the map below. The December 2013 photo is shown first, for a direct comparison, but the barley grass obscures the soil surface; the April photo permits more of the soil surface to be seen. Both 2013 photos show an improvement of the degree of ground cover.

These photos demonstrate the first stage of weed removal in a Nature Reserve. There is still quite a lot of Verbascum present (Verbascum is a prolific producer of seeds which retain their viability in the soil for a very long time), but regular spraying of rosettes prevents stalking and provides an immediate visual improvement. Control of the rosettes also improves the competitiveness of other plants leading to a recovery of other ground cover species.

Complete eradication stakes much longer. A discussion of this, and evidence that fotpin is on the path to eradication, may be found at Measuring success in controlling Verbascum. This evidence is based in part on observations made in the area where these photos were taken.

dec 2007

apr 2013




The photos above were all taken at the junction of the Central and Dowling (Boundary) tracks as shown by the yellow dot in the adjacent map.

The arrow shows the approximate direction in which the photographers were looking.






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