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Comfrey as forage — The Grow Network Community
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Comfrey as forage

LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning ModeratorManitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 2,053 admin

I have a question. We have a bunch of poisonous, invasive leafy spurge. It has mainly been growing where the ground is more damp and hasn't spread to drier areas yet. I know that it can, but it hasn't here over the 5 or so years that it has been noticable. It was probably brought here by mallard ducks one wet summer.

It can kill livestock eventually as they graze on it. Ours have grazed it as our pasture is small. I think that there is a lot of it in our small pasture, but any amount of it is bad IMO. The municipality would want to spray it if they knew, but I know spray doesn't kill it. A neighbor said mowing does. We have noticed that constant grazing hasn't, and I would consider that as a natural mowing job.

I hear so much about comfrey. It is considered invasive, but excellent forage for pretty much all animals, and I have read that they enjoy it. Now, most of the area affected is partially shaded, but getting sunnier as trees die off (for various reasons). I would like opinions...

1. Could this compete with & choke out the leafy spurge?

2. Would it spread beyond even if regularly grazed?

2. Is this a good idea? Am I just asking for other problems if I do this?

Comments

  • nksunshine27nksunshine27 IdahoPosts: 259 ✭✭✭

    i think that we need to know what species it is, cause i read that goats and sheep are a good was to control it. it supposedly has medicinal properties depending on species. i'm not sure comfrey would choke it out or that youd want that to be grazed on. id do more research

  • toreytorey Posts: 1,314 admin

    @Laurie Leafy spurge is on the BC Invasive Species Council's hit list as well. Following is a link to their Leafy Spurge handout with suggestions on different types of control. I remember you saying something about having a problem with flea beetles and this PDF mentions flea beetles as a biological control for spurge. https://bcinvasives.ca/documents/Leafy_Spurge_TIPS_2017_WEB.pdf

    I'm not sure how comfrey would compete with the spurge, if it would choke it out or not. I think the biggest problem with comfrey spread is when you dig and break up the roots. So as long as your livestock is just grazing on it, it shouldn't spread that fast. They would be eating it down before it could flower. I know it makes excellent forage.

  • JensJens Posts: 359 ✭✭✭

    @Laurie I do not know about the leafy surge. But I know even if you get the cultivar of comfrey slthat still spread by seed you can easily contain it by chopping it prior to setting seed. So grazing would do this job.


    I totally agree with @torey that cutting the root is the best way of spreading. My parents had a patch rototilled that contained two plants. Afterwards they hat 50 to 80 plants 😁😉

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