Summer rain spawns serrated tussock

The recent rains and mild summer in some parts of Victoria have been good for pastures and crops, but unfortunately, also good for the germination and growth of serrated tussock. Now is the time to check your property for this noxious weed.

Controlling serrated tussock (Nassella trichotoma) before the plant goes to seed is critical to prevent further spread, lost productivity and increased control requirements.

Summer rains can cause a second seeding event for serrated tussock, which can lead to germination of more seedlings in autumn. Now is the time to inspect your paddocks and ensure any plants are treated prior to seeding and further spread across the landscape.

Victorian Serrated Tussock Working Party Community Engagement Officer Ivan Carter said before flowering serrated tussock has a lime green appearance.

“When flowering, the flowerheads have a distinctive purple colour as the seeds ripen in late spring and sometimes in late summer. These features help serrated tussock stand out from the native tussock grasses,” Mr Carter said.

The VSTWP has developed an online video and information sheet to help landowners identify the weed at

“Serrated tussock has a fine leaf and will roll smoothly between the index finger and thumb, while native tussocks feel as though they have flat edges,” Mr Carter said.

“The leaves also feel rough when you run your fingers downwards due to fine serrations,” he said.

“A mature serrated tussock plant can produce thousands of seeds in a season, which can be blown kilometres from the parent plant.”

Controlling mature serrated tussock plants before they flower and seed can be done with registered herbicide, manual removal or cultivation.

Mr Carter said having a healthy pasture and competitive ground cover is one of the most important aspects to weed management.

Serrated tussock is a prime example of a weed that does not like competition and well-established pastures.

It’s believed serrated tussock now covers more than 250,000 hectares of land in Victoria. Large infestations require ongoing management and the integration of a number of control techniques.

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