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Chilean weed threat

An exotic weed which will compete with pastures has already established itself along the Midland Highway.

December 12, 2012 4:06am

Chilean Needle Grass


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Landcare groups are turning up the heat on Chilean needle grass, a highly invasive restricted weed that is spreading quickly through the region.

Nearly 200 people went to information sessions run by Broken Catchment Landcare Network groups about the potentially devastating weed, and identification and integrated management practices were discussed.

Goomalibee Landcare Group president Murray Chapman said Chilean needle grass had the potential to dramatically reduce pasture quality and quantity, damage stock, and would make contaminated hay and wool unsaleable because of the weed’s restricted status.

‘‘The plant is prolific in seed set with up to 12000 seeds/sqm/year. It is an unusual plant that seeds from the base, the middle of the stem and the head,’’ Mr Chapman said.

‘‘We have a number of very large infestations along the Midland Hwy, and caution needs to be taken when slashing to prevent further spread of seeds and new infestations developing.’’

He said co-operation between public and private land managers was needed to control the weed.

Chilean needle grass is a vigorous competitor in native grasslands and pastures and is difficult to eradicate once established. It is commonly mistaken for native spear grasses and stipa species. The seeds attach and are readily transported by vehicles, machinery and animals.

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