Now is the time to plan tussock control

Now is the optimal time to check your property for the noxious weed serrated tussock (Nassella trichotoma) and prepare a management plan prior to seeding in spring. The autumn recent rains and mild summer in some parts of Victoria have 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.

The optimal time for using a registered herbicide for controlling serrated tussock is autumn, allowing sufficient time to kill the invasive grass before it sets seed in late spring and early summer. 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 Chair Lance Jennison said.

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The VSTWP has developed an online video and information sheets to help landowners identify unwanted grass, which can be found on our website under videos, click here.

“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 Jennison 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.”

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 Jennison noted.

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 and result in reduced stock rates and land valuations. The Victorian Serrated Tussock Working Party (VSTWP) began in 1995 in response to the community’s deep concern with the spread of serrated tussock and can provide tailored advice for landowners impacted by serrated tussock.

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For further information, please visit www.serratedtussock.com, or contact the VSTWP on:

info@serratedtussock.com