3 weeds to watch for in winter

Keep an eye out for these pesky plants.

Words: Nadene Hall


A dock plant has a thick crown that extends to about 5cm or so under the soil surface – remove the crown and the plant dies. You can use a ‘dock fork,’ which looks like an oversized, two-pronged dinner fork. It’s designed to neatly cut the crown at around the 5cm mark, so you can pull it out – you have to do this or the crown regrows. The only problem – you’d need to get one made.

Another option is to kneel and use a tool like the Bloom Garden Multi-Tool which has sharp edges and two fork-like prongs.


You can control buttercup using grazing methods. Sheep will eat young plants, and cattle will eat it too if you mow it – once mown, it also loses its toxic component (which doesn’t affect sheep).

Buttercups infest areas where soil is wet and its structure is damaged (eg, pugging). Repairing soil, and improving its pH and fertility gives grass and other nutritional pasture plants a chance to compete with it.


This hardy plant grows even in cold weather. One way to stop it in its tracks over a few seasons is to mow the young, growing foliage when it’s wet.

Mow it off in winter, preferably on a warm day. Mow again during the warmer months, once in December and again in February. It will cause a rapid decline in the thistle population, particularly if you can mow during rainfall in summer. It’s believed mowing in wet conditions spreads helpful diseases like vascular wilt and Californian thistle rust.

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NZ Lifestyle Block This article first appeared in NZ Lifestyle Block Magazine.
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