Now is the time to search for tussock following summer rains

Now is the right time to check your property for the noxious weed serrated tussock (Nassella trichotoma). The recent rains and mild summer in some parts of Victoria has been good for pastures and crops, but unfortunately, also good for the growth of serrated tussock. Controlling serrated tussock 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.

“Before flowering serrated tussock has a lime green appearance. When flowering the flowerheads have a distinctive purple colour developing as the seeds ripen in late spring and sometime late summer. These features help serrated tussock stand out from the native tussock grasses,” Victorian Serrated Tussock Working Party Community Engagement Officer Ivan Carter said.

The VSTWP has developed an online video and information sheet to help landowners identify the unwanted grass, at http://www.serratedtussock.com/how-identify-serrated-tussock

“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, blowing up to 20 kilometres from the parent plant.”

tussock-in-paddock

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

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.

For further information, contact the VSTWP on

info@serratedtussock.com

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