What do we do with weed seeds on our clothes?

Chilean Needle Grass Flower HeadAfter a day out in the field, what do you do with the weed seeds you find on your clothing?

Do you simply brush them off and leave them where you found them? Perhaps you put them in the bin? Or do you just send them through the wash!?!

Scientists at the Environmental Futures Research Institute at Griffith University interviewed national park visitors to discover their attitudes and approaches to weed hygiene at the personal level. In their paper “Weed hygiene: what do we do with seeds we find on our clothing?”, Ansong and Pickering (2014) found that 75% of respondents could identify a weed (as plants growing where they were not wanted).

As many as 63% of respondents had found seeds attached to their clothing after visiting the park. Respondents tended to address weed seeds in a number of ways:

  • Indiscriminately brush the seeds off
  • Remove the seeds and place them in bins
  • Wash the clothes or brush them down over a sink
  • Remove seeds at home and leave them in the garden.

With such a wide range of personal approaches to weed hygiene, the risk of unintentially spreading weed seeds is potentially very high. Read more about this research at the 19th Australasian Weeds Conference (Hobart, 2014) website.

What weed hygiene measures do you use? Could you save time and money by improving the awareness of personal weed hygiene measures within your operations?