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Parthenium to be eradicated

Staff Reporter
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Awareness programme launched in Dharmapuri

An awareness programme was launched here on Tuesday on the eradication of parthenium. District Collector R. Lilly flagged off a rally of the students at the Government Boys Higher Secondary School at Ilakkiyampatti in Dharmapuri town.

She explained the importance of controlling the weed growth and emphasised the need for collective approach to achieve it. Parthenium hysterophorus also known as star weed, carrot weed, white cap, white top, etc. has been found growing naturally.

She said that till 1977, the weed was not much known in the globe.

But, within last three decades it has become one of the seven most dreaded weeds around the world.

It could be eradicated completely from the district only with effective cooperation of the public. So everyone in the district should come forward to join the movement to eradicate it which is now spread over 396 hectares.

K. Rajan, Joint Director, Agriculture, explained in details about the measures to be adopted to eradicate the weed.

‘Contact Dermatitis' spreads via air. Almost every part of the plant except root is reactive in nature, he adds.

Though cattle do not eat Parthenium, its effects were observed on them when they walk by or graze through patches of this weed. Such cattle had inflamed udder and subsequently suffered from fever and rashes. It is reported that feeding the weed to buffalo and bull calves at different levels causes both acute and chronic forms of toxicity.

Ulcerations were caused both in the mouth and digestive tract. Autopsy on dead animals showed punched cut ulcers on the oesophageus and the obosomal folds. Histopathology of the kidney and liver revealed degenerative changes and necrosis. Consumption of milk from the livestock grazing around Parthenium invaded grazing land could be hazardous to human beings.

Integrated Parthenium Weed Management involving various methods is expected to control Parthenium. Sowing of Cassia sericea, Cassia tora, Abutilon indicum, Gynandropsis pentaphylla, and Tagetus sp at the start of rainy season is the first step. The growth of such plants can insulate opened up soils against invasion by Parthenium. In already infested areas, planting of botanical agents may be taken up at the start of rainy season and there will be no need to plant botanical agents again as it will perpetuate on its own.

To watch for the commencement of rain and build up of Mexican beetles (Zygogramma) and when the beetles become available in large numbers, they have to be collected and released in parthenium-invaded areas.

In case of gardens, flowers beds, lawns intensively cultivated agricultural fields; manual removal has to be taken up before flowering. In the manual method, it should be noted that the persons chosen for uprooting the weed should not be allergic to Parthenium.

In vast stretches of already parthenium invaded areas, herbicides such as Atrazine (pre emergence), 2,4-D, Glyphosate and Metribuzin can be used, Mr. Rajan adds.

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