• Wandering jew weed Tradescantia

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Wandering Jew

Wandering Jew (aka Tradiscantia and Wandering willie) is a ground cover weed. It invades quickly and shades out and strangles other plants.

Identifying

Wandering Jew (also known as Tradiscantia and Wandering willie) is a trailing, soft, hairless, perennial groundcover weed. Succulent, soft, creeping stems root at nodes where they touch the soil. The leaves are dark green (sometimes black), shiny, smooth and are oval with pointed tips. White flowers are produced from December to January but no fruit or seed is produced in New Zealand. Wandering willie is originally from South America.

Wandering willie is one of the Dirty Dozen in New Zealand's War on Weeds .

Solving

Wandering Jew can be difficult to control because it usually takes 2-3 treatments to kill it fully and it readily sprouts from any live and dropped vegetative material. It does not set seed in NZ, but spreads readily.

Working towards the centre, rake and roll up small areas of weed. Best  done in a drought period. Dispose of at a refuse transfer station, burn or bury deep. Dropped fragments can spread infestation.

Spray with Kiwicare Weed Weapon Extra Strength, Rapid Action  or LawnPro Hyrocotyle combined with Dye & Stick. Follow up with a second treatment in 2-3 months. Take care not to drop fragments when removing the plant and dispose of at a transfer station. Do not use in compost or as mulch.

If the Wandering Jew is in deep shade use Weed Weapon Rapid Action or ensure Dye & Stick is used with concentrates for best results.

Alternatively cut the Wandering Jew down and immediately apply Invade Gel to all cut ends and remaining leaves.

All remaining stem fragments re-sprout so continue to treat as any new shoots appear.

Improve the light getting to the infested area if possible.

Did you know

Wandering jew prefers damp shaded places to grow, especially recently disturbed areas, near water or adjacent to existing infestations.

There are three species of wandering jew:

  • Shade-tolerant, easily regenerating invasive plant having small green leaves and white flowers, a South American native - Tradescantia fluminensis
  • Plant bearing purple leaves, with white, pink or purple flowers - Tradescantia pallida
  • Distinguished by leaves that feature a distinct lengthwise zebra-stripe pattern of white and green - Tradescantia zebrina

Tips

  • Use Weed Weapon Extra Strength with Dye & Stick (or Weed Weapon Rapid Action)
  • Ensure the whole colony is treated at the same time
  • Apply in warm and sunny conditions when the weed is growing (Weed Weapon contains saflufenacil which works best when the weed is photosynthesising)
  • Apply early in a day

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