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Weeding Blueberries With Geese, a Way to Grow Organically Without Using Herbicides
Many growers all over the country benefit from the unusual characteristic of geese to eat grass and certain plants with delight while showing no attention the blueberry or strawberry plants you are growing. Geese will eat grass and weeds next to plants that you would not be able to remove by hoeing or cultivation without causing damage to the plants roots.
Correct use of geese for weeding can almost do away with the need for hoeing hoe and the pulling of grass and weeds. This can go a long way toward replacing costly hand labor.
It is away to control weeds organically without the using herbicides.
Replaces the pricey hand labor of hoeing and pulling weeds
Can be used to control troublesome grasses and some weeds
Will not eat your plants
Geese will clean the irrigation ditches and fence rows.
Requires fencing them into the area and moving them to a new area as needed
Requires training them what plants to eat while they are little and growing up
They are very messy
They are vegetarians. They will not eat bugs. That may be a difficulty in the blueberry patch particularly for caterpillars which will eat the leaves of you plants…
Tendency of the geese to pack down the soil and mulch
How to use geese for weeding
Geese for weeding (weeder geese) ought to be put in the fields early in the year when grass and weeds are just starting to grow. Under average circumstances, two to four geese per acre are sufficient in row plantings. The favorite geese to use for weeding purposes are White Chinese geese.Nylon woven wire electric fence is rather successful and is moved without difficulty. Fencing should be three to four feet tall.
Weeder geese are inclined to eating ripe berries. They may also injure some of the newly emerging blueberry canes, so the timing of their use needs to be adjusted accordingly.
Uses of geese for weeding
Strawberry growers have used weeder geese for several years. Weeder geese can also be use in blueberry fields. Growers of flowers use geese in chrysanthemums, roses, peonies, iris, dahlias, gladiolus, and others. Geese also have been used by producers of mint and asparagus, onions, potatoes, tobacco, sugar beets, grapes, raspberries, other small fruits.
Young goslings up to 8 weeks old if put in the field must be given with a shelter. They also need to be enclosed into a shelter in the case of rain and over night. Goslings can be put out on grass within a few days. Some feeding of grain is required. The amount of grain required generally will be from about 0.05 to 0.2 pounds a day per bird. The correct amount will be determined by experience. You do not want to over feed the geese as you need to keep them with a good appetite to graze on the weeds and grasses. You need to make be sure they stay strong and healthy.
Water containers should be place at the ends of the row to encourage the birds to graze over the entire field. In areas where extra grazing is needed you can place the water containers near those locations. You also need to provide some means of structure for shading.
It is wise to bring the geese into an enclosed area at night to protect them from foxes, wild dogs or other predators.
Some insecticides are toxic to geese, so do not use insecticides while geese are in the field and do not put them back in the field for several days after spraying with an insecticide. Fortunately blueberries have few pest and diseases with which to contend. The main problem can be Caterpillars. On blueberries Caterpillars can be a problem but can be controlled. Use 1 tablespoon Basic H in Ortho-type sprayer. Or use 1 tablespoon in 16-ounce pump spray bottle. Spray caterpillars and watch them die in seconds. It is also good for the blueberry bushes.
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