Creeping Gorchak (Pink) is a perennial plant of the Astrov family that has the reputation of an extremely dangerous weed. Gradually capturing the territory in which he settled, the bitter leaves out their cultural neighbors, significantly reducing their productivity and the quality of the soil. This is a real thunderstorm of agricultural land and gardens, with the appearance of which they are struggling in many countries. In Russia, gorchak belongs to the group of quarantine objects, for the distribution of which special control is established.
In English-speaking sources, this weed is quite often found under the name “Russian knapweed”. And indeed, outwardly the creeping bitter bitter, the photo of which can be seen below, is very similar to certain types of cornflowers. Typically, the plant reaches a height of 75 cm. Its branched stems with numerous oblong leaves crowned with dark pink flower baskets, blooming in July and blooming until August.
Gorchak creeping – the plant is quite unpretentious. It loves heat and light, very resistant to drought. Its roots can sprout to a depth of more than 10 meters and feed on moisture that is not available to other plants. In addition, this weed perfectly tolerates soil compaction and the accumulation of harmful salts in it: carbonates, chlorides, sulfates. The only thing that bitchak does not like is the gulf of soil, therefore it does not grow in the rice fields.
Distribution and reproduction
Homeland bitter is Central Asia. From there, he came to the North American continent, gradually spreading across Canada and the United States of America. The plant was also brought to Europe – there are pockets of its growth in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Poland, Germany and other countries. The treacherous weed got even to Australia! The only continent where the bitter is not found today is Africa. In Russia, it is found mainly in the southern and southeastern regions, most often in the steppe belt. It grows on cultivated and on uncultivated land, in meadows, in gardens, on pastures and in settlements.
Weed has a strong root, which is a vertical rhizomes, from which grow horizontal shoots. It multiplies both seeds and vegetatively – through the development of rhizomes and root shoots. During the year one plant can spread to an area of up to six square meters. The creeping creeper grows a bitterness, that is, dense thickets – from several tens to hundreds of stems per 1 square meter.
Biological features and harm
Due to its root system, gorchak tends to absorb several (from two to five) times more nutrients from the soil than other plants. Many cultures find it hard to resist the onslaught of the voracious neighbor – the soil dries out and becomes unsuitable for growth. Therefore, developing, the gorchak occupies from 50 to 80% of the territory, displacing other species.
In addition, the plant is poisonous! Its roots secrete derivatives of phenol, which accumulate in the soil and contribute to the deterioration of crop growth. The above-ground parts of the bitter produce organic substances that suppress the development of neighboring plants. Even if the crops manage to bear fruit next to this weed, the quality of the resulting products deteriorates dramatically. For example, if in the grain harvest there are seeds of bitter in the amount of 0.01% by weight, then the flour produced from such raw materials will turn out to be of poor quality due to bitterness.
The toxins in the weed make it unsuitable and dangerous for the animals to feed. Milk of cows, in the food of which bitter got, acquires a bitter taste. And for the life of horses, a creeping bitter can be a threat at all!
What caused the difficulty of the fight?
Gorchak is deservedly considered one of the most difficult to eradicate weeds, because it has the ability to wait out a period of unfavorable conditions at rest. When the soil dries up, or the territory where the gorchak grows has been plowed, its ground parts, as well as the roots located directly underground, die. However, deeper roots retain the ability to live for several years, and when normal conditions return, the plant begins to actively revive.
The farmers are sounding the alarm and believe that the bitchak can pose a threat not only to food, but also to environmental safety. It is very difficult to fight with him, so the task number 1 is to prevent its appearance and distribution. One of the methods of soil clogging with a bitter herb is to hit its seeds together with the seeds of cultivated plants, therefore it is important to sow the soil with pure material. To this end, specialists from the Rosselkhoznadzor, as part of the phytosanitary inspection, are conducting inspections of the grain and seeds transported and imported into Russia for the presence of a seed of Gorchak.
However, preventive actions are not always enough, therefore, new territories periodically appear that are littered with this plant. The detected lesion must be localized, and subsequently completely destroy the creeping bitter within it. Measures to combat it, there are different: agrotechnical, biological and chemical. These include plowing the soil and pruning the root system, as well as growing certain crops in the littered area. Often it is necessary to resort to the use of chemicals that are sprayed on the littered area. However, the key to success – a comprehensive application of the above methods!
How to fight on your own?
From the above it is clear that it is extremely difficult to resist this weed alone. What can a man do if he finds this unfortunate plant in his garden? Fighting a creeping bitter at the dacha includes a number of activities that should be carried out in the complex. Single copies must be removed manually, including underground parts. If bitter thickets are found, they must be completely mowed before flowering begins. Before preparing the soil for sowing, it must be plowed carefully, cutting the plant roots as deep as possible. The same is recommended in late autumn. If the site is not yet developed, it is better to do the procedure several times. Cropped areas of the roots must be selected and destroyed. However, it is quite possible that these measures will not be enough and soon the bitchak will again begin to attack the plot.
It is all about the above-mentioned root system, which allows the weed to regenerate even after 3-4 years. In order to completely defeat the creeping bitter, it is additionally recommended to use chemicals – herbicides "Roundup" and "Hurricane". They are best treated in a warm and dry, but overcast autumn evening, when the entire harvest is already gathered. The method of application is quite simple and comes down to spraying the stems with a solution of the drug. It is described in more detail in the instructions for a specific herbicide. Probably, for the complete destruction of a harmful plant, the treatment with chemicals will have to be repeated several times.
In conclusion, we recall that the gorchak is a quarantine weed, and if it is detected, it is necessary to inform the local branch of the Rosselkhoznadzor! For non-compliance with this requirement established by law, you can get a penalty – this applies to both legal entities and ordinary citizens!