Weeding out Congress Grass (Parthenium hysterophorus L) from Imphal City through compositing

Prof N Irabanta Singh *

Introduction : Congress Grass (Parthenium hysterophorus L.) is a menace to human beings, animals, environments and biodiversity. It has infested road sides of National and State highways including inter Assembly Constituency segment roads in Imphal city causing complete replacement of biodiversity. We need to take up certain measures for weeding out congress grass through composting in selected areas of Imphal city so that this harmful plant can be removed from the soil of Imphal areas.

Compost from Congress Grass due to continuous and large scale use of chemical fertilizers, fertility of land is decreasing gradually. Therefore, compost and bi-fertilizers is a boon for soil health. We can make compost from abundantly available biomass of congress grass. By making use of this weed, we can increase the productivity of our crop land whereas by weeding out of this harmful plant we can even earn money through composting from these waste materials.

Procedure for making compost from Congress Grass

Congress Grass biomass should be collected as far as possible before flowering for making compost by open pit method. The following steps are to be followed:

(i) A pit of 3 x 6 x 10 feet (depth x width x length) is required at a place where water does not stagnate. Pit size can be increased or decreased but depth cannot be compromised,
(ii) The surface and side walls of the pit need to be covered. It will protect loss of essential nutrients of compost by the soil surface,
(iii) If stone chips are not available, make soil surface compact,
(iv) 100kg of cowdung; 10 kg urea or rock phosphate, soil (1-2 qtl.) and one drum of water near the pit are to be arranged,
(v) Huge collections of all Congress Grass plants from nearby areas are required,
(vi) Spread about 50 kg of Parthenium biomass on the surface of the pit,
(vii) Sprinkle 500g area or 3 kg rock phosphate,
(viii) If possible add Trichoderma viridi or Trichoderma harzianum (cultured powder fungi) 50g per layer,
(ix) All above noted constituents will make one layer,
(x) Like first layer, make several layers till the pit is filled up to 1 foot height from the ground surface,
(xi) Fill the pit in dome shape,
(xii) While making layers, apply pressure by feet to make weed biomass compact,
(xiii) If there is no soil with Parthenium roots then add (10-12) kg of loam soil on each layer,
(ix) When pit is full with above layers, then cover it with mixture of cowdung, soil and husk,
(x) After 4-5 months, we can get well decomposed compost and (xvi) We can get 37-45 kg of compost from 100 kg of green congress grass (Parthenuium) biomass.

Parthenium plant Compost from uprooted Parthenium Plants (Pit Method) Sieving of Congress Grass Compost : After removal of compost from pit, we may find some stems which give impression that Parthenium plants have not decomposed yet, then spread that compost in the shady place to dry it, soon the wet compost becomes dry and crumpled, make a heap of this dry compost.

It still thick - pieces of Parthenium stems are seen in the compost beat them with the sticks sieve that compost with 2 x 2 cm size mesh. We can make packets of 1, 2, 3 and 5 kg for kitchen garden and 25-50 kg for crops and horticulture crops.

Nutrient Composition in Congress Grass Compost : The nutrient of Parthenium compost include N (1.05%), P (0.84%), K( 1.11%), Ca (0.90%) and Mg (0.55%) which were twice more than ordinary compost.

Precaution for Congress Grass Compost:


(i) Pit should be in open and shady upland,
(ii) Mixture of soil, Cowdung and husk should cover the pit,
(iii) Moisture range in the compost should be checked if there is dryness in the pot, a few holes should be made and water can be poured to the pit and the holes be closed,
(iv) During the process, temperature rises up to 60-70C due to which seeds are killed and
(v) Composed preparation may take 4 to 5 months in warm climate while it can take more time in cold regions.

Benefit of Congress Grass Compost

(i) No harmful effects on crops, human beings and environment,
(ii) Parthenium is fully degraded during the formation of compost,
(iii) Parthenium compost contain more N.P. and K. than farm yard manure and
(iv) Parthenium compost is eco-friendly manure.

Discussion : Congress grasses are found growing luxuriantly in all selected National and State highways of NE India. Parthenium growth can be effectively controlled by employing competitive plants viz, Cassia tora and Xanthium strumarium which inhibit upto 70% Parthenium seed germination and hence can be used for the management of P. hesterophorus L. (N.I. Singh, 2012; Technology Developing and demonstration for eradication of Parthenium hystrophorus L. growing near railway tracts and road sides of National and State highways in North-East India for sustainable health care).

The spread and infestations level of Parthenium is high in Assam and Manipur, medium in Nagaland, Tripura and lower in Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Sikkim but not noticed in Mizoram. During 2015-18, altogether 2.3 lakh Mexican beetles (Zygogramma bicolorata) were released as bio-agent for control of Parthenium but were not successful for NE India.

Field experiences indicate that the growth of sickle pod (Cassia tora 1.) was successful by inhibiting the growth and development of P. hysterophorus L. This bio-agent can be used for controlling congress grass (P. hesterophorus L.) (N.I. Singh, 2019: Biological control based integrated Parthenium management for saving Environment, Health and Biodiversity in North East India).

However, large scale eradication is time consuming. Hence, Compost making from the biomasses of congress grass is recommended for immediate result (eradication of congress from Imphal City).

Conclusion : Compost making from Congress Grass (Parthenium hystrophorus L.) is the only solution for weeding out of this harmful plant from the Imphal city.

* Prof N Irabanta Singh wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is Retired Professor (Higher Academic Grade)/ Life Sciences, Manipur University, Canchipur
This article was webcasted on July 21 2022 .

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