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Utilizing Weeds – Making Wealth out of Waste

Updated on October 28, 2019
hmkrishna profile image

The author is postgraduate in Botany and experienced in IPR handling as well as agribusiness management with an MBA, lives in a farmhouse.

Plant biomass

The soil in which plants can grow is very fertile. Plant biomass is very important. It is mainly because it is a carbon sink. Plants take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen. Highest carbon dioxide conversion capacity is called carbon sequestration which is considered as one of the positive requirements in containing air pollution due to carbon dioxide.

When there is sufficient availability of water and good soil airborne seeds and the dispersal seeds germinate and grow. We call the unwanted plants as weeds. Once upon a time, the rice we eat was also a weed. Crops are domesticated weeds for economic use. Because of this, every plant is ecologically important.

Because of this, we have various conservation measures of plants through restriction from destruction. By identifying the richness of the diversity of plants the areas are marked as biodiversity e conservation units. These are are the reserved forest conserved forest national parks and ecologically important regions. Some of the areas in the world are identified as biodiversity hotspots. These areas contain such an enormous amount of diversity of plants which cannot be found elsewhere and it is the requirement to conserve those areas without which the plants may be endangered.

Ferns in the plantation
Ferns in the plantation


The plants do not have any economic value, which gives trouble for the normal life of human beings and crops are called weeds. These are among all the three types of plants that may be herbs, shrubs or small trees. Encroachment of inhabiting areas, cause of allergies and problem for free movement, etc. are some of the problems caused by these plants.

Naturalists say that ignorance of human beings in realizing the value of plants such as safeguarding the environment, supply of medicinal principles, continuity nexus of food web, etc. are making them labelled as weeds.

Weed control

As far as the hazards and problems are concerned the control of the weeds is very important. The weeds harbour wildlife like rats, insects, snakes and dangerous creatures. Plantations they create a lot of problem for the movement of individuals for the collection of the crops and other cultivation practices. In such situation control of the weeds becomes very much essential.

Weed control is done:

  • Manually,
  • Mechanically,
  • Chemically or
  • Biologically.

Manual weeding

Since time immemorial the weeds have been blocked by men and women and were controlled. After plucking these sweets were either used as manure, as fodder or sometimes for fuel.

Mechanical weeding

Sickles were used for cutting the weeds in the plantations some of the long hand signals also words were used to trash weeds. Since last few years, motorized weed cutting has become popular in the plantations. Small petrol engine with cutting rope decreases weeds from the ground level. Fast operation and avoiding contact with weeds advantages.

Chemical control

A few decades back chemical control was very much popular. Some of the growth regulators respiratory inhibitors and poisons were used to eradicate the weeds. These were deadly and quickly effective and where economic. Soon people have started realizing that these chemicals are not only harmful to the weeds but also harmful to the environment. Weedicides like hormones had a residual effect in the soil and caused mutations in the plants and animals. Weedicides have also caused a reduction in yield and some acute cases total unfavourable conditions for crop growth. In some other places, weedicides have polluted water bodies and contaminated with toxins and made water not drinkable. Realising these factors weedicides are now banned in many countries.

Composite weed biomass in tropical South India
Composite weed biomass in tropical South India


The easiest method of control of the weeds is to grow the plants in a high-density manner. Once there is low availability of sunlight and covering of the small weeds with litter causes non-emergence of weeds in high-density plantations.

To eradicate some of the noxious weeds weed-eating insects have been used. A large number of particular weed-eating insects where released they went on eating all these weeds and destroyed them. but later on, it is found that after a particular weed is a finish this is treating some other plants and also caused problems to animals. therefore scientific management of biological control agents is very important as far as the control methods are used.

Weeds utilization

As we have seen earlier wheels are the best for feeding the cows. Most of the herbs are eaten away by the cows and the fodder use is economic.

Wealth from waste

Traditionally, the sholas and most of the barren hills were all covered with grasses. These grasses were eaten by the dwelling animals especially the cows and goats. When these grasses are available in enormous quantity they can be converted into silage and stored for future use.

The grass is also used for making cardboard and low-quality paper.

In cropping areas like sugarcane rhizome crops like ginger and turmeric, grasses are thrashed and used as mulch.

When there is a fire in the grassland a lot of grass is lost. The fire not only burns grasses but also whatever is coming underneath it.


To avoid wildfire the grass has to be cut when it starts drying and has to be utilised properly making use of the biomass for useful purposes. To this effect, the biomass is converted into highly useful manure. biomass along with other biological waste as well as the cow dung is composted and used as organic manure.

Use of earthworms for converting decompose into vermicompost makes it more valuable. Vermicompost contains a balanced amount of nutrients as well as growth-promoting substances. it is because it comes out of the earthworm gut after the biochemical process. It is in the form of granule and it can be easily applied in the fields.

Rain covered composting tank
Rain covered composting tank

Last words

When you come across the weeds, don't be upset, but formulate strategies to effectively use the biomass for converting it into wealth. Availability of biomass is a boon and a wise utilisation of this biomass adds value to your efforts.


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